Donald Trump has no intention of using defense funds for actual defense programs — he wants them for his wall.
If Congress agrees to backfill funding for the military projects Donald Trump raided to build a border wall, the administration plans to raid them all over again next year, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
"The plan is to sell it as replenishment money to the Defense Department for the $3.6 billion they took this year," an administration official told the Post. "Then once they got it from Congress, they [the administration] would take it again" for the border wall.
The blunt admission comes as Congress is debating a spending package for next year, since government funding runs out on Sept. 30. At the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, Trump forced a partial government shutdown for 35 days as he demanded billions of dollars for a border wall.
In the end, Trump caved and agreed to reopen the government with the funding, only to then declare a "national emergency" at the border and claiming the ability to take money from military projects to build a border wall. (During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised over and over that Mexico would pay for the wall, not American taxpayers.)
Many in Congress voted to deny Trump the ability to take money from military families in order to build a wall, but the effort failed when Republicans like Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) sided with Trump over the well-being of American troops.
In the late summer, the Pentagon announced funding for 51 military projects around the country and around the world that would be diverted to building a border wall. Among the projects the Trump administration will not be funding:
- A child care center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, since the current one has regular sewage backups;
- Updates to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, since the current working conditions are "unsafe" for troops, who will continue to face safety and security risks; and
- Half a billion dollars on schools on military bases.
On Tuesday, Republicans in the House tried to backfill the $3.6 billion in funding Trump took from these projects during a debate on the latest spending bill, but the motion was rejected along a largely party-line vote.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) argued that he wanted the funding to "ensure that, as we continue to argue about border security and a whole variety of other issues, that our troops do not suffer as a result of that argument."
However, it appears that the Trump administration is already planning on forcing the troops to suffer once again next year.
The idea of backfilling the funding for those projects appears to be a ruse so the Trump administration can continue taking the money and putting it toward a border wall — rather than the safety and security of American troops and their families.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.