Acting CBP Chief Tries To Explain Why Trump's Border Wall Needs To Be Painted Black: 'It's Common Sense'

President Donald Trump knows why he wants his border wall painted black—but on Monday, it seemed like that information had yet to trickle down to the rest of his administration as U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan appeared to struggle to explain why he supports the U.S. leader's decision.

Asked during a White House press conference whether he has any objections to Trump's dictum to paint the roughly 450 miles of border wall black, even if it means having to forgo a few miles of wall to cover the cost, Morgan made clear that he did not.

The acting CBP chief said he thinks it is "common sense" that a number of factors could affect how many miles of the wall end up getting built—including the need to paint it.

"There are a lot of factors that go into that, to include anti-climbing features to the wall as well. Painting is one of those," he said. "And sure, there will be a cost associated to that and that may impact a number of miles. But again, the operational impact that we'll get through painting..."

Before Morgan could continue, a reporter interjected: "So you support painting the wall [even though] that would shorten the number of miles?"

"I think we need to strike a balance between making sure that the miles we build is the most effective wall system we build with respect to also the number of miles," Morgan said. "I think it's a balance we need to strike and that's exactly what we're doing."

While Morgan made his support for painting the wall clear, what was less clear was why he believed the initiative was worth carrying out.

According to The Washington Post, which first broke the story of Trump's designs to paint the border wall black, the president's logic was that a darkly painted wall would better absorb heat in the summer, making the metal too hot for would-be climbers to scale.

The president also insisted that the tips of the bollards be pointed, rather than round, so that anyone who tried to scale the bollards would risk injury.

According to the Post, the U.S. leader went into graphic detail about the potential injuries that border crossers might sustain as he laid out his plans to White House aides, Homeland Security officials and military engineers.

Trump also reportedly felt that the blueprints for the wall that he had seen included too many gates, providing too many potential opportunities for border crossers to get through. He wanted such crossing points to not only be fewer and further between, but also for entry points to be made smaller, with less space between bollards.

Mark Morgan
Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan speaks during a briefing at the White House September 9, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Morgan has defended President Donald Trump's decision to paint his long-promised border wall black, even if it means sacrificing several miles of the structure to cover the costs. Win McNamee/Getty