This whole idea of building a border wall with Mexico has been complete chaos ever since it was proposed. Alright, alright, that's my opinion, but you've gotta admit that it's a never-ending story: First, the president tried to get Mexico to pay for the wall, even though the Mexican government made it abundantly clear that it wouldn't. And now, President Donald Trump wants the military to fund his border wall. You can't make this stuff up.
In a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan on March 21, Trump presented the idea of having the military finance the border wall, citing a "national security risk" as justification, The Washington Post reported on March 27. According to two White House officials, Trump said that with the new $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, it could surely finance the border wall. Especially since the Pentagon reportedly received more than $700 billion in the package alone. However, senior Capitol Hill officials said Trump's suggestion was unlikely to come to fruition.
But Trump isn't letting up. On March 25, he posted a message to his Twitter that seemingly called on the Pentagon to spread the wealth and help him build his border wall. He wrote,
Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!
According to the Post, two advisers said the "M" stood for "military."
There's a lot of problems with this, though: For starters, that's totally not how it works: If the military was open to paying for the border wall, it would still have to go through Congress for approval, according to the Post. And I'm sure the military has other plans for their funding, like, say, helping its troops out instead of fulfilling the president's dreams. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer shared similar thoughts through a statement to the Post. He said,
First Mexico was supposed to pay for it, then U.S. taxpayers, and now our men and women in uniform? This would be a blatant misuse of military funds and tied up in court for years. Secretary Mattis ought not bother and instead use the money to help our troops, rather than advance the president’s political fantasies.
But perhaps Trump is just a bit salty that Congress only allocated $1.6 billion for his wall in its spending bill, which is way less than the $25 billion he asked for. After Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2017, the White House entered negotiations with Democrats, offering to extend the program for another two and a half years in exchange for $25 billion for wall funding. According to CNN, Democrats were open to the wall funding in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for DACA participants, but the White House ultimately passed on the deal.
The Mexican government was also "supposed" to finance the wall.
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised that his proposed wall would be financed by Mexico. And back in August 2017, Trump unleashed a tweet that again claimed that Mexico should be responsible for paying for the wall since it's "one of the highest crime Nations in the world." He added that the country would finance it through reimbursements or other options.
But Mexico's foreign ministry shot down Trump's comments. In a statement on August 27, it said,
As the Mexican government has always stated, our country will not pay, under any circumstances, for a wall or physical barrier built on US territory along the Mexican border. This statement is not part of a Mexican negotiating strategy, but rather a principle of national sovereignty and dignity.
There's really no telling who Trump will ask to fund his wall next. But I'm betting he'll never give up trying.