The White House is replacing its fence with one nearly twice as tall after several attempts to storm the presidential residence – one wall President Donald Trump will finally get without fighting Congress tooth and nail.
At over 13 feet, the new fence will stand about twice as tall as the current one, and cost $64 million, the Secret Service told the AP. Aside from “wider and stronger pickets,” the agency didn’t share the details of the “state-of-the-art security features” that would be incorporated into the barrier, adding that construction will begin this summer and continue into 2021.
After the White House itself is secured, the fences around the Treasury Department and Executive Office Building will be beefed up.
White House security realized the need for a taller fence after multiple breaches during Barack Obama’s presidency, including a 2014 incident in which a Texas man scaled the fence with a knife, crossed the north lawn, and made it inside the building before he was caught. Despite a spiky “anti-climb” barrier added after that incident, a man from California climbed it in 2017 anyway. Armed with a can of Mace, he prowled the residence grounds for a full 17 minutes before he was apprehended.
In addition to intruders, the White House has seen a spike in public suicides, with a man from Maryland setting himself on fire across the street from the building last month and an Alabama man shooting himself in the middle of a crowd near the north fence last year.