In an interview published Friday, President Donald Trump revealed he is mulling plans to use the military to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Traveling from Billings, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota aboard Air Force One, President Trump told the Daily Mail he possesses “two options,” when it comes to building the border wall: “We have military, we have homeland security,” he said.
Of the two, the president said he prefers Congress approve the approximately $25 billion in spending that he’s seeking for the wall and have Department of Homeland Security undertake the project. “Politically speaking, I’d rather get it through Congress. If we don’t, I’m looking at that option very seriously,” he said.
“The possibility of diverting Pentagon funding and assets to build a border wall is a hole card the president is holding but has never directly acknowledged before. Two Defense Department officials told DailyMail.com in August that the Army Corps of Engineers could take on the task,” writes reporter David Martosko.
Asked if Army Corps of Engineers were equipped to build the wall, one source told the paper, “They build levees that hold back massive walls of water,’ one said of the agency. ‘They can build one to hold back drugs and human traffickers.”
As part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed in March, Congress earmarked only $1.6 billion for border security. In what many perceived to have been a broken promise, a paltry $38 million is allowed to be used for “border barrier planning and design.”
At the time, President Trump touted $1.6 billion in spending as a down payment to build the wall. “Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming,” the president tweeted. “Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military, $716 Billion next year…most ever. Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”
Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border, rest will be forthcoming. Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military, $716 Billion next year…most ever. Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
President Trump also signaled he’s prepared to shut down the federal government on September 30 if Congress fails to fund his most central infrastructure project. “If it were up – I don’t want to say ‘up to me,’ because it is up to me – I would do it,’ he said aboard Air Force One, ‘because I think it’s a great political issue,” he said.
As Breitbart News’s John Binder and Neil Munro reported, the Republican-controlled House passed nine spending bills this week — none of which include funds for a border wall. Headed up by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), the House Legislative Branch Subcommittee on Appropriations has drafted a spending bill for 2019 that would provide only $5 billion to construct nearly 200 miles of border wall for the year — 3.4 billion more than the $1.6 billion proposed by Republicans in the Senate.
According to pollsters, GOP midterm voters have stated for the previous six months that the issue of immigration weighs heaviest on their mind. While the president has said he will wait until after the midterm election to push the issue of border wall funding, members of the House Freedom Caucus may be gearing up for a fight now. Appearing on the Fox News Channel this week, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) urged his fellow Republicans to draw up plans to fund the wall before November.
“What was probably the single biggest promise Republicans made to the voters in 2016?,” Jordan began. “It was the border security wall, so let’s get that done here before the end of the fiscal year.”
“We increase our chances of keeping the majority if we do a simple thing: do what we promised the voters what we were going to do, he added. “And again, this was probably the central thing that the people elected Republicans to do is secure our border, build the border security wall, so let’s get it done on this spending bill.”