Trump privately pressing military to pay for border wall, sources say

Clay Curtis
March 28, 2018

Still feeling spurned by the paltry $1.6 billion allotted for his border wall in last week's funding bill, President Donald Trump is now urging the military to pay for the project, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

And he's tweeted that building "a great Border Wall" is "all about National Defense" and called to "Build WALL through M!", meaning the military.

The Washington Post reports that Trump has been "privately pushing" the Pentagon to have the military cough up the cash.

According to the report, Trump floated the idea to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Wednesday, receiving little reaction, though unnamed senior officials later dismissed the viability of the proposal. The administration's last-minute negotiations with lawmakers to secure billions more for the wall failed, and Trump grudgingly signed the spending bill Friday after a short-lived veto threat.

4 of 9 The president has warned there would be "bedlam" without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico.

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"I can't get get into the specifics of that at this point, but I can tell you the continuation of building the wall is ongoing and we're going to continue to move forward in that process", Sanders said.

To find the money in the 2019 defense budget, Trump would have to submit a budget amendment that would require 60 votes in the Senate, the official said. The spending measure allocates $1.6 billion for a border wall, out of the $25 billion that the president said is needed.

Some people close to the president have also suggested creating a GoFundMe campaign that Trump could use to raise money from the public to fund construction. Now the president is floating a new idea: Have the Pentagon pay for it.

Ryan, who recently denied rumors that he'd resign (and be replaced by Majority Whip Steve Scalise), undoubtedly realizes that Trump didn't realize that he can't simply push the military (even if they're willing) to reprogram how they'd spend their funding. The Senate Appropriations Committee was not aware of any authority that would allow the Defense Department to fund the wall without congressional approval, said a GOP aide. That means the prototype designs the Trump administration is exploring can not be built, except along a stretch of the border near San Diego where a barrier is already in place.

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