The barrier that President Trump wants to build along the Mexico border will be a steel bollard fence, not a concrete wall as he long promised, and the president is fine with that. He has a few other things he would like to change, the Washington Post reports. The bollards, or “slats,” as he calls them, should be painted “flat black,” a dark hue that would absorb heat in the summer, making the metal too hot for climbers to scale, Trump told White House aides, Homeland Security officials and military engineers. The tips of the bollards should be pointed, not round, the president insists, describing in graphic terms the potential injuries that border crossers might receive. Trump says the wall’s current blueprints include too many gates — placed at periodic intervals to allow vehicles and people through — and he wants the openings to be smaller. As the White House is diverting billions of dollars in military funds to fast-track construction, the president is micromanaging the project down to the smallest design details.
Trump’s frequently shifting instructions and suggestions have left engineers and aides confused, say current and former officials. Trump has demanded Department of Homeland Security officials come to meetings on short notice to discuss wall construction and on several occasions woke ex-secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to discuss the project in the early morning. Trump wanted a concrete wall — until he didn’t. Trump has summoned the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, to give his views on the barrier’s properties, demanding that the structure be physically imposing but also aesthetically pleasing. The president sees himself as “a builder,” said David Lapan, a former Homeland Security official. “But building high-rises in New York City is not the same as putting up a barrier at the border.”