Trump has repeatedly pushed for Fisher to get a wall-building contract, urging officials with the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the firm — only to be told that Fisher’s bids did not meet standards. Trump’s entreaties on behalf of the company have concerned some officials who are unaccustomed to a president getting personally involved in the intricacies of government contracting.
Trump has been enamored with Tommy Fisher, the company’s chief executive, who has made multiple appearances on Fox News to promote his firm and insists that it would do a better job than those the government had already chosen. The company’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a Fisher booster who has taken the case to the Oval Office, has argued that the company could build the wall faster than any of the current Army Corps contractors. Trump has grown upset in recent months that so few miles have been built given his campaign promises to construct hundreds of miles of wall to keep migrants from crossing into the country via the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a statement, Cramer said the company plans to build 31 miles of new barrier.
“I am glad to see more progress being made to secure the southern border, and I am grateful to see a good North Dakota company like Fisher Industries getting some of the work,” Cramer said. “I know they will do very well, performing high quality work at a good bargain, all for the security of the people of the United States.”
Fisher has worked with some Trump allies — including former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach and ex-White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon — to build border fencing on private land using private donations. After the activist group We Build the Wall hired Fisher to construct a span of barrier outside El Paso, the company purchased riverfront property in South Texas where it said it plans to erect a 3.5-mile segment of fencing on the banks of the Rio Grande.
The company’s construction plan has not been approved by the International Boundary and Water Commission, which regulates construction in the Rio Grande flood plain, but Fisher and We Build the Wall have won praise from senior U.S. Border Patrol officials.
Trump has pledged to complete 450 to 500 miles of new border barriers by the end of next year. So far his administration has built about 85 miles of fencing, almost all of it in areas where tall steel bollards are replacing smaller, older structures that were there before he took office.
Aaron Gregg contributed to this report.