Still feeling spurned by the paltry $1.6 billion allotted for his border wall in last week's funding bill, President Donald Trump is now urging the military to pay for the project, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Trump on Friday threatened to veto the spending bill due to the lack of border wall funding and a fix for recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gloated on Sunday that the budget Trump signed last week did not include money for a new wall: "I remind the president, he did campaign on the wall, and guess who he said would pay for it?" Experts say those ideas would ultimately raise prices for USA consumers, however, and would not result in the excess funding that would pay for the wall. The president has suggested to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that the department could fund the construction instead of the Department of Homeland Security, two Trump advisers said.
Trump told reporters on Air Force One: "As frightful as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them -they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of the stuff?" But last week's budget included $1.6 billion of American taxpayer money for what the president called a down payment on the wall.
Re-allocating Pentagon funds requires votes in Congress, and taking money away from the 2018 budget for the wall would also require an act of Congress, according to a senior Pentagon official. Not only will Democrats take a hard pass military spending paying for his fence, but Pentagon officials, per White House advisers, "may also blanch at the possibility".
Earlier this year, President Trump had agreed to trade protection for the Dreamers for funding for his precious border wall, but then he backed away from that agreement; as a result, there is no wall funding.
When asked about his role in the border-wall issue, Mattis said the U.S. military had no role in enforcing the border.
Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made Democrats' opposition abundantly clear: "First Mexico was supposed to pay for it, then USA taxpayers, and now our men and women in uniform?"
Prior to signing the omnibus spending bill last week, Trump bellyached on Twitter and during a signing event, stating that he would never sign another bill like that again.