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Back in March, Donald Trump wanted SOMETHING! DONE! at the US-Mexico border. Like maybe a 2,000-mile moat, with sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads. In a story that still manages to be astonishing even after all we know about the man, the New York Times reported yesterday evening that President Psychopath thinks about border security with all the subtlety and low cunning of a ten-year-old boy devising cool tortures for bad guys. Compared to his murder fantasies, Trump's demand at one meeting to seal the border by noon the next day, regardless of how many Americans might be trapped in Mexico, seems rational and diplomatic.

Just look at this creep:

Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate.

Whoever manages to publish a copy of THAT document deserves the Pulitzer. Which Trump will demand the reporter collect by climbing a pole covered in broken glass and biting flies. Naked.

And of course the fantasy moat wasn't Trump's only cool idea to inflict pain on the evil border crossers:


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, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed either, they told him.

Everything Donald Trump knows about the world comes from TV and movies, where torture always works and you can always shoot the gun out of the bad guy's hand. Just order the troops to shoot 'em in the legs! No soldiers would miss and hit a child in the face, nobody would bleed out, and if they did, so what? It would go over so great at a rally!

Nobody ever lets him have any fun.

The Times story is an excerpt from the upcoming book Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration, by NYT reporters Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. The story covers a week in March that ultimately led to the April purges at the Department of Homeland Security, engineered by Trump's immigration Sturmbannführer Stephen Miller. The meeting where Trump demanded the border be closed immediately was scheduled to last just 30 minutes, but because President Grampa was in a snit about the brown people invading our country, it lasted over two hours to accommodate his top-priority ranting:

"You are making me look like an idiot!" Mr. Trump shouted, adding in a profanity, as multiple officials in the room described it. "I ran on this. It's my issue."

No surprise that Trump snapped at then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when she suggested closing the border wouldn't accomplish anything, since asylum would remain legal; but Trump also lost his shit at Golden Boy Jared Kushner, who had been cultivating Mexican officials to try to get them to crack down on their side.

"All you care about is your friends in Mexico," the president snapped, according to people in the room. "I've had it. I want it done at noon tomorrow."

Following that meeting, Team Trump swung into action, by which we mean infighting. Mostly, Stephen Miller treated it as a chance to convince the Great Man it was time to clean out any remaining DHS staff who were overly concerned with what's laughingly called the "rule of law," because the only law that matters is DO NOT CROSS THE BORDER, YOU MEXICANS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA. Miller's rationale was simple:

Although many were the president's handpicked aides, Mr. Miller told him they had become part of the problem by constantly citing legal hurdles.

Stupid laws! We don't need 'em. Especially Nielsen, who had briefly pleased Trump in November when the Border Patrol teargassed brown people -- all of them eight-foot-tall murderrapists, never mind the photos of women and children fleeing the gas. But Nielsen hadn't followed up with enough brutality for Trump or Miller's taste. As the Washington Post had previously reported, Nielsen even objected to Trump's beloved plan to make WALL blistering hot, pointing out that black paint would cost a million extra dollars a mile. She also kept pointing out stupid details like the need to get permission from landowners for WALL construction, leading Trump to demand,

When Ms. Nielsen tried to get him to focus on something other than the border, the president grew impatient. During a briefing on the need for new legal authority to take down drones, Mr. Trump cut her off midsentence.

"Kirstjen, you didn't hear me the first time, honey," Mr. Trump said, according to two people familiar with the conversation. "Shoot 'em down. Sweetheart, just shoot 'em out of the sky, O.K.?"

Now that's leadership we can believe in. Even on the day Trump fired her, the big asshole told Nielsen he really wanted a solid concrete WALL. He really didn't like that she pointed out the contracts for steel bollard fencing were already going forward.

It was also around this time Trump came up with his brilliant plan to just pardon anyone who committed crimes while stopping people from requesting asylum. CNN reported at the time that Trump told (acting) DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to stop all migrants at the border, just turn away people legally requesting asylum -- and if McAleenan got in any trouble, Trump would pardon him. Shear and Davis offer no word on whether Trump called McAleenan "sweetheart," but they do clarify that when Trump told border agents during a visit to California that they should simply tell migrants "We're full" and turn them away -- and he'd pardon them, too! -- it was McAleenan himself who told the agents, after Trump went on to his next photo op,

to ignore the president. You absolutely do not have the authority to stop processing migrants altogether, he warned.

You know, as Chris Hayes points out, ordering people to break the law might make a pretty good article of impeachment.

Now that Stephen Miller has gutted the top tiers of DHS and Trump has brought in a bunch of likeminded racists like (acting) US Citizenship and Immigration Services chief Ken Cuccinelli, Trump is a little happier with the border, where fewer people are requesting asylum. Trump is happy to take credit, and you should please ignore the fact that migration usually drops off in the summer, because it's hot. But there's no reason to think that, now that the weather is cooling and migration is likely to tick up, Trump won't decide it's time to start shopping for alligators, and maybe big catapults to drop acid on border crossers. OOH, and how about we make WALL out of razor blades? Yeah, that'd be cool.

Update: On the Twitters, Media Matters Director of Media Intelligence Lis Power reminds us this was all foreseen by the Prophet Barack.

Talk about advanced -- Donald Trump is doing the tragedy and the farce all at the same time!

[NYT / Border Wars (available October 8) / Kurt Vonnegut's "Torture and Blubber," 1971]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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