BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Tommy Fisher’s ambitious plan to win a border wall contract included what could be the next best thing to making a pitch directly to President Donald Trump himself — talking to him through his favorite cable TV channel, Fox News.
And it just may have worked.
Fisher’s North Dakota-based firm was awarded a $400 million contract this week to build 31 miles of wall in Arizona after he made numerous appearances on Fox, repeating a Trumpian boast that he could build the wall, faster, better and cheaper than anyone else. It didn’t seem to matter that Fisher’s firm had little experience with such construction, a checkered environmental record and a previous proposal rejected
“Hopefully the president will see this,” Fisher said in April on a Fox News morning show, among a slew of appearances on the channel that also included spots with Maria Bartiromo and Laura Ingraham. “He’s a guy who says he can cut through bureaucracy, and this is an emergency and that’s what needs to be done.”
Two administration officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press earlier this year that Trump aggressively pushed the Fisher firm’s bid with the heads of Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages wall contracts. The interference in federal contracting by a president concerned some overseeing the process but, the officials said, Trump insisted Fisher could get the wall up faster and cheaper than other bidders.
In his own appearance on Fox’s Sean Hannity show in April, Trump confirmed he was looking closely at Fisher’s company after it was recommended to him by North Dakota’s Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer.
Cramer, who received a $10,000 campaign donation from Fisher and invited him to Trump’s State of the Union address last year, said Tuesday that his constituent’s frequent appearances on conservative TV and radio may not have helped him with the Army Corps but they “certainly helped him with the president.”