Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to Twitter Saturday and accused President Trump of “stealing money” from military families as part of his administration’s effort to secure the U.S. southern border.
The Pentagon announced this week that it would divert $3.6 billion to fund the construction of 175 miles of border wall. The move will affect various projects in 23 states, including a $30 million project at Arizona’s Fort Huachuca, which Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) said was expected to be delayed anyway.
According to the Associated Press, $1.1 billion cuts will “strike the continental U.S.” and “$700 million would come from projects in U.S. territories, with another $1.8 billion coming from projects on overseas bases.”
Schumer accused Trump of “stealing from our military families,” adding, “It’s a slap in the face to the members of our armed forces”:
President @realDonaldTrump promised over and over that Mexico would pay for his expensive, ineffective border wall.
So why is he now stealing from our military families and communities across the country?
It’s a slap in the face to the members of our armed forces. pic.twitter.com/tYPEJg7KgQ
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 7, 2019
Schumer is not the only Democrat to express disgust. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) also accused Trump of “stealing.”
“To pay for his xenophobic border wall boondoggle, President Trump is about to weaken our national security by stealing billions of dollars from our military,” she said. “The House of Representatives will not backfill any projects he steals from today.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) – another significant Trump critic – said Trump’s desire to build his “little wall” is rooted in nothing but ego:
Trump is taking away middle schools from military families, robbing disaster relief from hardest-hit communities,& chopping up people’s property via eminent domain for his little wall.
This is a project driven by ego – not a desire to serve and improve the lives of human beings. https://t.co/Rgp0ICOYk4
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 6, 2019
As Breitbart News reported, “The funds being used are from deferred military construction projects that are not scheduled for award until fiscal year 2020 or later and do not include any family housing, barracks, or dormitory projects.”
Pentagon officials confirmed that the projects would not be done away with altogether:
Pentagon officials said during a press conference Tuesday that funding for 127 military construction projects would be delayed to build 175 miles of the border wall. The 11 projects include the replacement and new construction of border wall across El Paso and Laredo, Texas; Yuma, Arizona; and San Diego and El Centro, California.
Many support the Trump administration’s efforts. CNN spoke to a rancher who lives on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, who said he does not mind the Trump administration diverting funds, as many of the projects are “pork barrel money.”
“Most of the money going to these projects is pork barrel money — it just isn’t necessary. I am good with diverting that money,” John Ladd said, according to CNN.
“There is lots of waste in the military, especially on the bases. Fort Huachuca, they’ve got everything they need. So divert the money to the border,” he added.
“This part of Arizona has long needed border security. That has never changed. This is the job of Congress,” another rancher, Peggy Davis, said. “Once again they are playing politics and not doing their job. From what I can determine the Fort Huachuca project is needed but not in the sense of life and death or housing.”