It’s the monument that he prophesied building along the entire campaign trail, for the (right) people and paid for by Mexico. Trump’s wall has led to standstills in Congress, money making u-turns throughout the government, and Americans asking for the focus to be put on just about anything else. Despite all this clamor, no new ground has been broken on Trump’s wall. As Salon notes, all his administration has done is replace the barriers that already exist with new fencing. Lou Dobbs, host of Lou Dobbs Tonight, shockingly couldn’t have put it better: “November 2020 is nearing at an alarming rate!”
In the meantime, voters are answering polls, not ballots, and a majority of them do not support Trump’s efforts to build a border wall:
A solid majority of polled Americans still do not support the president’s effort to build a border wall, even as support for allowing refugees from Central America — a group Trump has repeatedly demonized as violent criminals — has ticked up among all voter groups, even Republicans and independents. Additionally, the number of people supporting more immigration has grown from 21% to a record-high of 30% since Trump took office. Again, this includes Republican voters, who have gone from 11% in favor of increasing immigration in 2016 to 16% in favor in 2019.
Trump has ignored the loss of voter support for the wall and has been focused on filling the void of monetary support. We all remember the record-breaking, 35-day government shutdown earlier this year in which Trump demanded funding for his wall. He didn’t get it, but the wealthy sectors of the government were fine, per usual, while others, such as the 800,000 federal workers waiting for suspended paychecks, were hurt. Now Trump is calling for different kinds of shutdowns in order to finance the wall:
It appears that 127 military projects in 23 states, including potential 2020 battlegrounds like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, have essentially been scrapped to pay for Trump’s pet project, to the tune of $3.6 billion. The defunded projects include schools for the children of military personnel and projects aimed at deterring Russian aggression in Europe.
Not only is Trump defunding military projects, he’s also claiming $400 million meant to aid Puerto Rico after the catastrophic Hurricane Maria. It’s diabolical, but no one has ever accused Trump of being a humanitarian.
Republicans are speaking out against Trump in light of these actions. Senator Mitt Romney who has criticized Trump (to an extent) in the past, stated:
In April, Senator [Mike] Lee and I expressed our significant concerns to the Secretary of Defense regarding the potential diversion of funds for critical military construction projects in Utah … I’m disappointed that despite those concerns, two key military construction projects totaling $54 million will be delayed as a result of the February 2019 emergency declaration.
In his own statement, Lee said:
Congress has been ceding far too much powers to the executive branch for decades and it is far past time for Congress to restore the proper balance of power between the three branches.
As always, Trump seems to find followers to support him within the Republican party. Senators Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina all voted in support of Trump’s raid of military funding. It will be intriguing if they manage to hold onto their seats in Congress in the upcoming election after this unfavorable act.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about protecting projects in Kentucky. Even if some projects can be saved, some of Trump’s previously most fervent supporters can’t take their words against him back.
“The president never should have said Mexico is going to pay for the wall,” Trump sycophant Brian Kilmeade said Thursday on Fox & Friends.
Co-host Steve Doocy added:
I think he did think initially he would find a way for Mexico to pay for it, but as we know, that did not work.
The wall is proving to be Trump’s biggest empty promise to his supporters, and it’s leaving people in need with empty pockets.