Trump promised not to raid military funds for his border wall in 2016 — then did it anyway


The U.S. Air Force reportedly believes Trump's actions will imperil national security.

Having already abandoned his promise to force Mexico to fully fund his massive border wall along the U.S. southern border, Trump is now planning to pay for the project by taking the money from appropriated military projects.

But it turns out this, too, is a broken campaign promise.

In 2016, before he assumed the presidency, then-candidate Trump pledged not to siphon funds from the military to pay for infrastructure projects like his long-promised border wall.

In a little-noticed interview with Newsday's editorial board in April 2016, Trump pledged a massive investment in America's crumbling infrastructure -- an idea he placed on hold in May to punish congressional Democrats for conducting oversight of his administration. Pressed as to how he would pay for this, Trump initially suggested that the nation could save money by extricating itself from the Middle East.

Rita Ciolli, editor of the newspaper's editorial pages, explicitly asked him whether this meant he would raid defense funds to pay to build infrastructure.

"We have to stop. No," Trump responded. "The military is going to be stronger and bigger and more modernized than ever before. The military is so important."

Ciolli: So you’re going to redirect funds from the military to the infrastructure?


Trump: We have to stop. No. The military is going to be stronger and bigger and more modernized than ever before. The military is so important. That’s number one, two and three on my list. We have to, we need security in this country, especially now with what’s going on. And if you look at what Russia is doing with their nuclear, you know, they’re really re-doing their nuclear and we have missiles, we don’t even know if they work. We have telephone systems that are 40 years old with wires that are rotted, in our nuclear bins.

But with Mexico refusing to bankroll his pet infrastructure project and a Congress that has repeatedly declined to do so, Trump is now attempting to do exactly what he said he would not do.

And his move could put the nation at risk. A report from NBC News on Friday revealed that the U.S. Air Force has determined that the president's "plan to pay for his proposed border wall by taking funds from more than four dozen Air Force military construction projects poses various national security risks for the U.S. armed forces."

Trump promised in 2016 that the wall would be complete by now, but contrary to his repeated false claims, almost no new construction has begun.

Under his latest plan, $3.6 billion would be taken from defense projects to pay for construction of an estimated 175 miles worth of wall -- a fraction of the length of the border.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.