President Trump aired some disturbing ideas during a "frenzied" week in March when his frustration with border security reached a boiling point, reports the New York Times, which cites "more than a dozen White House and administration officials." According to the sources, during one meeting in March Trump ordered aides to shut down the entire border with Mexico by noon the next day. The sources say Trump "often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate," per the Times. They say the president wanted the wall to be electrified and covered in spikes—and when he was told shooting migrants who threw rocks was illegal, he asked about shooting them in the legs to slow them down and was told that would also be against the law.
The Times' sources say that during the meeting where Trump ordered the border shutdown, he shouted: "You are making me look like an idiot! I ran on this. It’s my issue." The insiders say aides managed to persuade the president to wait at least a week before shutting down the border—a reprieve that immigration hardliner Stephen Miller used as an opportunity to start pushing out Homeland Security officials he felt were blocking his agenda, including then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whom Trump already considered ineffective. At the end of the week, the president had changed his mind about closing the border, but Nielsen was still forced to resign. The Times' sources say the final straw for Trump was when she told him that contracts had already been signed and it was too late to use concrete instead of steel for the border wall. (Read more border wall stories.)