Donald Trump, as is well known, is incapable of empathy. He prioritizes himself, his finances, and his name at the expense of other individuals and even the nation he swore to serve at his inauguration. While this personality defect is disturbing enough, it is not the darkest aspect of Trump’s character. Even more alarming than Trump’s lack of empathy is his inhumane cruelty. Thanks to a Washington Post report on Thursday, we now have an even clearer understanding that the man who occupies the Oval Office appears to be enthusiastic about the idea of inflicting pain on other people.
The Post’s report highlights the unhealthy extent of Trump’s obsession with a border wall. Acting like a child who is delighted over the promise of a new toy, Trump has insisted on discussing his construction ideas without notice and at odd times. For example, he reportedly woke up former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “on several occasions” to chat about his latest design fantasies. But more disturbing than Trump’s annoying behavior is his wish list, which reveals a dangerously dark soul.
Trump reportedly told aides, Homeland Security officials, and military engineers that he wants the slats painted what he calls “flat black.” Engineers explained that painting the slats would require a significant addition to the construction and maintenance budget over the years. Trump does not care about the cost, which once upon a time was promised to be Mexico’s responsibility. Instead, Trump made clear that he wants the slats painted a “dark hue that would absorb heat in the summer, making the metal too hot for climbers to scale.” Trump also demanded that the tops of the metal slats be pointed, “describing in graphic terms the potential injuries that border crossers might receive.” He explained that the metal points “would cut the hands of climbers” and send them away. When engineers presented Trump with a design that had rounded tops and more humane anti-climbing, Trump said no because “sharp spikes would appear more intimidating.”
Yesterday, CNN reported that a court-ordered review of additional child separations at the southern border has so far found more than 1,700 additional possible cases. Knowing Trump, this news probably brings a tear to his eye. Trump probably wishes the number were much higher.