President Trump repeatedly promised both in his campaign and in office that Mexico would pay for the wall, but after a year in office he seems resigned to billing the multi-billion dollar wall to the e U.S. military.
Trump reportedly suggested the idea to White House officials, advisers, and even House Speaker Paul Ryan, reasoning that the military should pay for the wall considering the roughly $700 billion spending package it was allocated, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
He floated the idea while reviewing the omnibus spending bill, CNN reported, which includes about $1.6 billion for border security, such as levee fencing, which in sum is a mere sliver of the $25 billion sought by the president for the construction of the barrier.
Trump appeared to start publicly pushing for the border wall to fall under defense spending as early as Sunday. “Build WALL through M!” Trump tweeted, apparently referring to the military. Two sources told the Washington Post that “M” stood for “military. “
When asked about the reports at the press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to give details, but said “the continuation of building the wall is ongoing and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process.”
With both Congress and the Mexican government so far declining to foot the bill, the president appears intent on finding alternative funding for his “big, beautiful wall.”
The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment on the proposal, though Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee tried to stop this very thing from happening with an amendment to the annual defense bill. The amendment would have ban Pentagon funds being used “to plan, develop, or construct any barriers, including walls or fences along the international border of the United States,” but the provision was stripped from the bill in July.
Several policymakers have already come out against the use of Pentagon funds to construct the barrier, included Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona who sits on the House Armed Services Committee.
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, however, told Lou Dobbs on Fox Business that it was a matter of national security and the military could fund the wall and keep its missions in place.
"Trust me, you can find $25 billion in the balance of [military spending] to make sure we put that wall up because it is national security,” Biggs said.
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Trump traveled to opposition territory -- California -- to fire up support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a project that has encountered resistance in Congress. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images