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Trump sends troops to improve 'aesthetic appearances' at the border

Donald Trump wants border barriers to be "aesthetically pleasing." Is that why he deployed troops to paint steel border slats?
The U.S.-Mexico border fence stands on Dec. 8, 2015 near McAllen, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty)
The U.S.-Mexico border fence stands on Dec. 8, 2015 near McAllen, Texas.

The Washington Post reported last month on Donald Trump micro-managing construction of barriers along the U.S./Mexico border -- including the color of the steel slats.

The article added that the president has shared his views "on the barrier's properties, demanding that the structure be physically imposing but also aesthetically pleasing." An administration official was quoted saying, "He thinks it's ugly."

It's against this backdrop that CBS News reported yesterday that some U.S. military personnel have been deployed to paint a mile-long stretch of barriers.

Lawmakers were notified of the action on Wednesday in an email message from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has asked the Pentagon multiple times in recent months to deploy troops near the southern border to support the agency as it faces an unprecedented surge of Central American families and unaccompanied children heading to or in between ports of entry.According to the email, the text of which was provided to CBS News by a congressional aide, an unspecified number of service members were set to paint barriers in the California border town of Calexico.

The painting project, in a part of California the president recently visited, will reportedly last 30 days.

According to the email, the "primary purpose" of the project is "to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall."

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was among the many congressional Democrats who weren't pleased with the news, calling it a "disgraceful misuse" of resources. The Illinois Dem added that the military "has more important work to do."

Highlighting the broader conditions at the border, New York's Matt Stieb added, "It appears as if the Trump administration has found a metaphor for its crisis management strategies: slap a thin coat of paint over a small piece of the problem and let other hemorrhaging crises go unchecked."