Steve Bannon, Kris Kobach plot to privatize construction of Trump's border wall

Bannon, Kobach, Erik Prince, Curt Schilling and others hatch dubious scheme during "MAGA field trip" to border

Published February 7, 2019 7:55AM (EST)

 (Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)
(Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

What brings together the likes of the president's former chief strategist Steve Bannon; voter disenfranchiser Kris Kobach; notorious Blackwater founder Erik Prince; controversial former sheriff David Clarke; immigration hardliner and former congressman Tom Tancredo; and offensive meme-spewer and former baseball great Curt Schilling?

A move to supplement President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with a privatized wall.

According to new reporting by Politico, the right-wing crew got together — though Prince just phoned in — for the first time last week at the border town of McAllen, Texas, for "a kind of #MAGA field trip."

The New York Times reported on the privatized wall effort late last month, but Politico is the first to report on Bannon's involvement.

"Do we have a billion dollars right now? No. But can we raise one or two hundred million dollars? No doubt about it," Bannon told the news outlet. As of this writing, the new GoFundMe page has raised a little over $20 million of its $1 billion goal.

Trump has given the effort his "blessing," Kobach asserted to the Times.

The project reportedly got its start in Iraq war veteran Brian Kolfage's GoFundMe page for wall funding. That evolved into a new fundraising effort and the formation of a nonprofit called We Build the Wall.

An FAQ page for the new group asserts that it is "presently working with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol experts and other U.S. border security service professionals" to target areas for a wall, which would rely on the consent of landowners. "The company will build the wall mile-by-mile in strategic locations based on a variety of factors. We will build as much wall as we can based on feasibility, land use, and funding," it continues.

That company is reportedly the Israeli firm Magal Security Systems, which has constructed barriers between Jewish and Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

The crew is getting ready to tout its project as soon as Friday at a town hall in Tucson, Arizona, and again later this month at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Kolfage, who's listed as a key part of the We Build the Wall team, told Politico, "We're going to give it our all."

By Andrea Germanos

Andrea Germanos is a senior editor and staff writer at Common Dreams.

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