President Donald Trump is so impatient to stop immigration in the United States that he suggested the border wall be electrified with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh, and proposed that it should be fortified with a "water-filled trench" with "snakes or alligators", during a March meeting with the White House advisors in the Oval Office, The New York Times reported.
He also asked his advisors to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico by noon the next day. Trump also advised that migrants be shot in their legs.
The New York Times report is based on interviews with more than a dozen White House administration officials involved in the events during the week of the meeting. The article published Tuesday was adapted from "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration," a book to be published on October 8 by the publication's reporters Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis.
The 30-minute meeting was extended to two hours as "Trump team tried desperately to placate him. "
The meeting was attended by Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary at the time; Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State; Kevin K. McAleenan, the Customs and Border Protection chief at the time; and Stephen Miller, the White House aide who, more than anyone, had orchestrated Trump's immigration agenda. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff was also there, along with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and other senior staff.
Trump was furious with Nielsen and Pompeo over their soft approach over the immigration issue. He had routinely chided Nielsen as ineffective and, not tough-looking enough. The President was angry with Pompeo for having cut a deal with Mexico to allow the United States to reject some asylum seekers.
Trump believed that the complete shutdown of the border was the only solution. Nielson tried to make the president understand that building a wall will not solve the problem as people will still be permitted to claim asylum. However, according to the NYT, Trump was unmoved. Even his son in law Kushner has supported Nielson, the report stated.
All you care about is your friends in Mexico," the president snapped, according to people in the room. "I've had it. I want it done at noon tomorrow."
"The president was frustrated and I think he took that moment to hit the reset button," said Thomas D. Homan, who had served as Trump's acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recalling that week in March. "The president wanted it to be fixed quickly."
"You are making me look like an idiot!" Trump shouted, according to the NYT, citing multiple officials in the room. "I ran on this. It's my issue."
Trump, in an interview to the publication, said that he is seriously considered sealing the border during March, but acknowledged that doing so would have been "very severe."
"The problem you have with the laws the way they are, we can have 100,000 of our soldiers standing up there -- they can't do a thing," Trump said ruefully.
He has faced a lot of resistance and outrage about his immigration agenda.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)