President Donald Trump has pressured the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a Republican donor and frequent Fox News guest.
Four administration officials and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said the president has aggressively pushed Fisher Industries in meetings with Department of Homeland Security officials and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, who heads the Army Corps, reported the Washington Post.
“He always brings them up,” said Cramer, who has also pushed for the company, along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Cramer said the president had seen the company’s chief executive, Tommy Fisher, appear on Fox News and other conservative media outlets to boast he could build more than 200 miles of barrier in less than a year.
“He’s been very aggressive on TV,” said Cramer, who has received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Fisher and his family.
Trump is intrigued by the company’s claims that a new weathered steel design and unconventional construction method would speed up the project, the Post reported, and cost taxpayers far less.
The president is intensely interested in aesthetic aspects of the project, giving specific but shifting instructions to Semonite and DHS officials about his taste preferences and design specifications.
Trump has recently been demanding the wall be painted black and topped with spikes, and has complained the Army Corps contracting process is too slow and complicated.
He has dismissed concerns about maintenance costs associated with applying paint to the wall, and griped about the the hydraulic sliding gate design presently in place.
“Why not French doors?” the president asked.