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Trump floated the idea of digging a trench alongside the border wall: book authors

Nick Rose

New details of President Trump’s plan to build a wall at America’s southern border have been met with widespread criticism after a new book revealed one of his more bizarre solutions to the migrant crisis.

“He was constantly bugging them about how [the wall] would be built,” said Julie Hirschfeld Davis, co-author of “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration.” “He was constantly grasping for ideas to make it tougher and that’s the core context in which he would say, ‘What if we built a trench?’”

Based on interviews with several key players in the White House, the book claims Trump wanted to build the border wall alongside a trench, filled with snakes or alligators. According to an excerpt, “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.”

“He kept coming back to a trench so much so, they ended up getting a cost estimate of a trench, which apparently is 3 times more than a wall,” Davis and book co-author Michael Shear told Yahoo Finance.

Hirschfeld added, “He would get into these real angry stages, he would start to talk about how we need something dangerous and we need something scary. And that was the idea, to deter people. Not necessarily to throw them to the alligators, but to have something so formidable that no one would dare approach.”

The president has since denied these claims, posting his response on Twitter, "I may be tough on Border Security, but not that tough. The press has gone Crazy. Fake News!"

Trump ‘doesn’t have any real policy core of his own’

The book also dives into the origins of Trump’s border policy, bringing us inside the political battle between his closest advisors on immigration.

“The president doesn’t have any real policy core of his own and he gets pushed and pulled by various advisors. You have Stephen Miller on the right, pulling him toward the hard line policies. Then you have Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump in many cases... and some of these other people sort of push-pull in the other direction,” Davis said.

White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner react as U.S. President Donald Trump formally kicks off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A polarizing issue in today’s government, immigration promises to remain a hot-button topic in the 2020 presidential election. Most Democrats running for president agree the federal government should increase funding for security and screening equipment at the border, while also providing a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are already in the United States illegally. On the other side of the aisle, Trump is sure to bring immigration to the forefront of his re-election campaign as he did back in 2016.

“We saw in 2018 in the congressional elections, and we talk about this in the book. Republicans were begging him, please, just talk about the economy. Talk about the tax cuts. You know, we don't want to talk about an invasion by foreigners who don't look like us because that alienates a lot of voters, not just Republicans but Independents in the suburbs and people that they need to win to have a winning coalition to win the majority in Congress,” said Davis. “The question is whether President Trump can win re-election without those people and, because he'll be doubling down, the chances are that he will not get those people because this kind of rhetoric turns them off.”

Nick Rose is a producer for Yahoo Finance.

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