Tommy Fisher, chief executive of Dickinson, N.D.-based Fisher Industries knows the in to Donald Trump: go on Fox News and talk about the border wall. Trump has swallowed the bait, and has "personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract," according to four administration officials who spoke to The Washington Post.
The officials told the Post that Trump has "aggressively pushed" Fisher in phone calls, White House meetings, and aboard Air Force One for several months with Department of Homeland Security leaders and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, which has "alarmed military commanders and DHS officials." Because the president is not supposed to personally intervene in the awarding of contracts business. Trump summoned Semonite to the Oval Office again on Thursday and "immediately brought up Fisher, a company that sued the U.S. government last month after the Army Corps did not accept its bid to install barriers along the southern border, a contract potentially worth billions of dollars." (Fisher, incidentally, has a bit of a checkered federal history. It's former co-owner, Michael Fisher went to prison for "conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the IRS, four counts of aiding in the filing of false federal tax returns for FSG and four counts of filing false individual tax returns.")
This is despite the fact of being told, repeatedly, that the company's design for the border fencing won't work."The system he is proposing does not meet the operational requirements of U.S. Customs and Border Protection," one official said. Fisher had already done work on a barrier project in San Diego, in the prototype competition in 2017, but its work there "came in late and over budget." Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has also been keen on pushing Fisher, even though Army Corps and DHS official have met with him several times to "explain why Fisher wasn't the best deal." They, including then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have also explained to Trump that the proposal was not cheaper and better because it was cheap and ineffective, but the company could submit another proposal. "Nielsen and Semonite separately explained that the president could not just pick a company." No wonder she's gone now.
To put the cap on the outrageousness of Trump's fixation on the wall and on Fisher, there's this. "Most recently, the president has insisted the structure be painted black and topped with spikes, while grumbling to aides that the Army Corps contracting process is holding back his ambitions." On Thursday he complained about the wall's current design again, specifically the hydraulic sliding gate design. "Why not French doors?" the president asked.