President Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down once they cross the southern border, according to a new book. The president reportedly made the suggestion in March during a meeting where he also called for the entire border with Mexico to be closed. The New York Times printed an excerpt of the book, called "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration," Wednesday morning.
The Times reporters say this happened during a week when the president was growing increasingly frustrated. The president, intent on keeping campaign promises of building a wall and stopping illegal immigration, was fed up with no results and throwing out a range of ideas.
In late March, President Trump publicly threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border. But according to the Times reporters, in a March meeting, the president's advisers tried to turn him away from such a drastic move. He allegedly said, "You are making me look like an idiot!" and shouted "I ran on this. It's my issue."
Michael Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis are the reporters and authors of the book.
"Administration officials were constantly trying to walk him back from the precipice, walk back from the edge of what could be a crisis," Shear said.
The article also details the president's other suggestions to stem migration.
Last November, Mr. Trump said, "They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We're going to consider it, and I told them consider it a rifle." And while he said he didn't mean to shoot migrants if they threw rocks at border patrol agents, the New York Times reports that the president later suggested "they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down."
They write he also privately "talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators" and "he wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh."
The White House responded to the report stating in part, "President Trump has clearly and publicly stated many times that he wants to make American communities safer by building a wall, closing dangerous loopholes that incentive child smugglers and drug cartels, and implement a merit based immigration system."
As of August, 57 miles of the border wall have been built but thousands of miles remain and costs are mounting. The Pentagon has diverted $6.1 billion to the project. The president has also faced multiple legal challenges against his immigration policies.