Right now Donald Trump is going back and forth on whether to risk finishing off what’s left of his illegitimate presidency by putting his few remaining chips down on a government shutdown over his border wall. Why is the wall the only thing he still cares about? Sure, it’s important to his racist base. But the more Trump rambles about the specifics of the wall lately, the more he gives away that there’s also something else at play – and it looks like another criminal scandal.
On Tuesday, as his pipe dream of building a border wall was fading, Donald Trump tweeted that the wall wouldn’t be made of concrete. Instead it would be consist of “artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it.” Okay, that was pretty stupid. At the time it sounded like Trump was simply trying to up the ante by making the wall sound more sophisticated or pretty. But then he did it again today.
This morning Donald Trump tweeted “The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country.” There it is again: steel slats. Trump isn’t simply trying to build a wall. He’s decided on a weirdly specific plan for what the wall will be made out of and what it’ll look like. This isn’t the kind of thing he’d come up with himself.
Trump is, rather obviously, repeating some kind of detailed sales pitch he’s received. This is all about him closing a deal with a specific vendor. Based on his history, Trump only ever cuts deals like this if he’s personally receiving some kind of kickback or payoff in return. It’s crucial that we track down this vendor, and then figure out how Trump is being bribed.
If you’re not convinced of this, consider that just recently, Donald Trump’s response to the California wildfires was to keep insisting that we need “forest management” that involves “raking.” He clearly had no idea what he was even saying. Instead he was simply repeating (and mangling) a sales pitch he had received from a specific vendor looking for a government contract. Trump never makes a deal unless there’s a kickback for him.
Sure, Donald Trump has political reasons for pushing the wall. He’s convinced his racist base that it’s the only way to make America white again. But he’s managed to string these rubes along for two years by simply blaming the other side for not building his wall. He could easily keep stringing them along like this. Instead he’s finally decided that the wall funding must happen, right now, even though it will never be built before he’s removed from office, and it must involve whatever vendor is pushing these weird steel slats. Trump is trying to personally cash in on the wall scam before he’s ousted.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report