During a border wall meeting at the White House last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, the president told senior adviser Jared Kushner and aides to move forward with the paint job and to seek out cost estimates, according to four administration officials with knowledge of the meeting,” the Post reports.
“POTUS has changed his mind and now wants the fence painted. We are modifying contracts to add,” said one official involved in the construction effort who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired.
Trump, during that meeting, directed aides to seek input from North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel, a company the president favors. Fisher has a $400 million contract to build a section of new barrier in Arizona, an award that is under review by the Department of Defense inspector general.
The Post obtained a copy of painting estimates that federal contracting officials produced, and it shows costs ranging from $500 million for two coats of acrylic paint to more than $3 billion for a premium “powder coating” on the structure’s 30-foot steel bollards, the high end of the options the officials have identified.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent sits near the Calexico Port of Entry, where the section of the border fence that is painted black is to the right and the unpainted border fence is to the left. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)
The White House has not yet chosen a grade of paint, but Trump has insisted for years that the barrier should be black to discourage climbers. He has favored a shade known as “flat black” or “matte black” because of its heat-absorbent properties.