“Build the wall!” may have been the mantra for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, but “Finish the wall!” may not work so well for his re-election. After running out of ways to pay for his pipe dream of a border wall, the Trump administration decided to seize funds from the military that would go towards the wall – even if it meant soldiers would suffer as a result. This week they earned a rare bipartisan rebuke from Congress against taking any more money from the national defense budget.
As a result, Congress is seeking greater restrictions on what money the Pentagon can allocate without their approval – a proposal supported by Republicans as well, like Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas. You might say that this is almost entirely related to House Republicans worried about their own fears about re-election and you would probably be right, as we’ve seen a few troubled Senate Republicans talk about pushing back against Trump’s self-declared national emergency. While the outright racism and xenophobia of the Trump campaign may have sailed Republicans to victory four years ago, they may have no choice but to back away from some of their more insane promises now.
While the GOP has always liked to paint itself as the party of national security and defense, the trouble is that the defense department never listed the U.S.-Mexico border as a priority in the national defense strategy, much less one that’s somehow more critical than dealing with Russia and China. We can anticipate another possible feud between Trump and the defense department soon, one that couldn’t happen at a worse possible time, as Trump faces a very real potential crisis with the coronavirus pandemic.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making