White House admits it may hold flood relief hostage for racist border wall


The Trump administration is refusing to separate their demand for funding for the border wall, and a possible government shut down, from requests for money to fund disaster relief after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.

The Trump administration won't walk away from their threat to shut down the government unless they get funding for a border wall, even with the need to pass legislation providing for relief to Hurricane Harvey victims.

At his campaign rally event in Arizona in late August, Donald Trump threatened, "If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall."

But even with the dire need for immediate relief in Texas for those affected by the storm, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was not willing to take the shutdown threat off the table.


Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Mnuchin if the threat to shut down the government go "out the window," since Trump had described flood relief as a "top priority."

Mnuchin merely responded that he couldn't comment on it, and described the wall as "a huge priority to the president, and we want to make sure that we get money for that."

WALLACE: I want to ask you about another part of the immediate agenda. President Trump threatened recently that he would be willing to shut down the government if he didn't get money as part of a government funding bill to build the wall, or begin building the wall. The government runs out of funding on September 30. With Harvey, with the disaster relief, with all this top priority to help the people in Texas — at least for now, is that threat to shut down the government over the border wall, is that out the window?

MNUCHIN: Chris, I can't really comment on if it's out the window or it's not out the window. And again, I know the wall is a huge priority to the president, and we want to make sure that we get money for that.

The wall on the Mexican border was the centerpiece of Trump's presidential campaigns, even while experts and people with common sense have pointed out that it is unworkable and a bad expenditure if the goal is reduced immigration.

Yet Trump has continued to bang the drums for the wall, including invoking it in elaborate White House signing ceremonies for executive orders that have had very little practical outcomes.

He has been unable to get funding for the wall through Congress, as Democrats have opposed it and his own party has thus far been unwilling to shut down things to satisfy Trump's petty bigotry.

And now, even with the horror of extreme flooding and its aftermath confronting millions in the South, Trump and his team continue to push for the wall — no matter the havoc and suffering doing so may inflict on victims of a massive natural disaster.