President Trump is so eager to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise of a border wall that he’s told officials he will pardon them if they have to break the law in order to get it constructed by Election Day, The Washington Post reported.
Trump has promised supporters his administration would construct at least 500 miles of border wall fencing before the 2020 election, but so far the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has only fixed about 60 miles worth of barriers that were already there to begin with.
According to people involved in discussions who spoke to the Post, Trump has been aggressively pushing for completion of the 500 miles before November 2020 and has regularly held meetings at the White House to discuss the progress. During meetings, Trump has told aides not to worry about breaking the law in order to finalize contracts or using eminent domain to seize property for the structure.
“Take the land,” he’s reportedly told officials, promising to pardon anyone who has to skirt the law in order to speed things up. A White House official told the Post that Trump was joking about the pardons.
Trump has also harped on the color and appearance of the barriers being built during meetings — he wants them painted black with pointy spikes on top — and bragged in one meeting about how loud people cheer for the wall at his rallies.
Later on Wednesday, Trump responded to the Post’s report, rattling on about “FAKE NEWS” and saying the story was made up to “demean and disparage.”
Another totally Fake story in the Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist) which states that if my Aides broke the law to build the Wall (which is going up rapidly), I would give them a Pardon. This was made up by the Washington Post only in order to demean and disparage – FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
NBC News reported Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to divert at least $155 million from the FEMA disaster relief fund to help pay for the wall. Trump’s also using a large chunk of the Pentagon’s budget to complete the project, after Congress refused to give him $5 billion for wall construction.