Trump's wall was a gimmick cooked up by advisers so he would remember to bash immigrants in speeches: report
Donald Trump, photo by Michael Vadon.

President Donald Trump's promised border wall -- that Mexico would pay for -- was the signature policy issue of his 2016 campaign.

The idea for the wall actually dates back to 2014 and started as a trick by his campaign advisors to keep Trump from forgetting to bash immigrants in speeches, The New York Times reported Saturday.

"As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure their candidate — who hated reading from a script but loved boasting about himself and his talents as a builder — would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue in his nascent campaign," The Times reported.

Advisors Sam Nunberg and Roger Stone created the idea of the wall as a memory trick used to manage the candidate.

“How do we get him to continue to talk about immigration?” Nunberg said he told Stone. “We’re going to get him to talk about he’s going to build a wall.”

It worked, Trump remembered to talk about immigration during the campaign.

The executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which argues for less immigration, said Trump's wall strategy backfired after he was elected.

“As a messaging strategy, it was pretty successful,” Mark Krikorian said. “The problem is, you got elected; now what do you do? Having made it his signature issue, Trump handed the Democrats a weapon against him.”

One of Trump's close personal friends also told The Times he thinks Trump made a mistake.

“Listening to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter on this is a mistake,” said Newsmax chief executive Chris Ruddy.

"I don’t think the president’s base moves even one inch from him even if he doesn’t get a wall," Ruddy predicted.