Wikimedia Commons / U.S. White House
President Donald Trump reviews U.S. Customs and Border Protection's wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, California, last year.
President Trump is resuming a push to paint his pinche border wall black — to the tune of at least $500 million in additional cost to taxpayers, the Washington Post reports
, citing federal contracting estimates.
Trump has at various times insisted on painting the fence's steel bollards matte black, claiming the wall look more imposing and become too hot for climbers to touch. Military staffers and border officials, convinced the coating is too expensive and a potential maintenance problem, have tried to talk him back from the idea, the Post
As recently as last fall, it appeared they had won the battle. However, citing four administration officials, the paper reports that at a recent border wall meeting Trump told his son-in-law Jared Kushner and others to move ahead with the painting plan and get cost estimates.
“POTUS has changed his mind and now wants the fence painted. We are modifying contracts to add,” one official told the Post
. Like the others, he spoke anonymously for fear of being fired.
According to federal estimates supplied to the Post
, the cost would could run from $500 million for two coats of acrylic paint to more than $3 billion for a premium “powder coating."
The additional expense comes as the U.S. grapples with massive bills to stabilize the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis. What's more, one expert interviewed by the Post
points out that while the pricy paint job would retain heat, the overall effect would be minor.
“It won’t make much of a difference,” said Rick Duncan, a materials engineer specializing in rooftop coatings. “There’s no technical reason to paint it to make it hotter.”
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.