Trump Wanted Border Wall Stocked With Snakes or Alligators, and Proposed Shooting Migrants, Per Stunning New Report


Donald Trump at border wall

President Donald Trump proposed a series of highly bizarre and illegal solutions for shutting down illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border this past spring, including the idea that border agents “shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down.”

According to a stunning excerpt from a forthcoming book by two New York Times reporters, during a panicked week in March, Trump cursed at immigration officials who he deemed ineffective and, at one point, insisted that the border be shut down “by noon the next day.” The report offers a glimpse into an increasingly frazzled president, one who feared for his political future because he had made zero progress on his signature immigration policy — “build the wall” — after more than two years.

As a result, the Times story details Trump throwing out wild suggestions for hardening the border to his staff, with ideas ranging from the crude to medieval to highly violent.

Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.

During this reported week of rage, Trump also openly berated and belittled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a briefing on the new legal authority required to intercept drones, per the Times, saying: “Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey. …Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, OK?” Under siege, Nielsen staff’s even took the step of preparing a letter of resignation for her, but Trump then abruptly announced her departure on Twitter.

According to the Times, Trump eventually backed down on his panicked demands. Nevertheless, the story portrays a highly volatile president willing to repeatedly disregard human rights and the law to fulfill his nativist campaign promise.

Photo credit: Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: