Sept. 9, 2019 – In response to the public outrage that the Trump administration is raiding $3.6 billion from 127 military construction projects for the sake of a campaign promise, the administration is now proposing that Europe picks up the tab. No, not the Onion.
As the Washington Post reports, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said to reporters regarding European allies, “The message that I’ve been carrying, since when I was acting secretary to today, has been about the increase in burden sharing … So part of the message will be, ‘Look, if you’re really concerned, then maybe you should look to cover those projects for us,’ … Part of the message is burden sharing, ‘Maybe pick up the tab…’”
This is truly absurd. The buck for Trump’s wall is continually being passed. First it was Mexico. Now it’s Europe. Who’s next? Greenland? The truth is the American taxpayer is footing the bill, the military community is taking the hit in schools not constructed and daycare not provided, and our democracy is being undermined by Trump’s brazen defiance of Congress and its constitutionally protected ‘power of the purse.’ Even the U.S. Supreme Court, stacked with rubber-stamping conservatives, is not a reliable backstop for the Constitution and the rule of law. It’s now painfully clear that no law, constitutionally-granted power, or congressional vote can stop the Trump administration in its quest to undermine democratic norms, pursue cynical and symbolic xenophobic goals, and shut out immigrants, refugees or others seeking American safety and freedom.
The latest news only underscores the points raised in a must-read Boston Globe editorial from this weekend: “How a lawless president funds his wall,” which we excerpt below:
It’s not just that the Trump border wall proposed for the Mexican border is an offense to American values.
It’s not just that it’s a waste of time and money and effort.
What it has now become is a giant siphon of $3.6 billion in Defense Department construction funds that were destined for far more worthwhile projects that were truly aimed at keeping this nation safer, not simply keeping an ill-advised campaign promise.
Trump, you’ll recall, promised during the 2016 campaign that his vast negotiating skills would enable him not only to build the wall but also to charge Mexico for the costs. Once elected, though, it turned out that by “Mexico” he meant “American taxpayers.”
… The real issue, however, isn’t the $3.6 billion diversion from a Defense budget that annually runs in excess of $700 billion. The real issue is the lawlessness of a president who used an obscure Cold War-era law to ride roughshod over a coequal branch of government to get his way.”
Douglas Riven, Director of Communications, America’s Voice