Thwarted by Congress for the funds he demanded to build his vanity wall along the southern border, President Trump is ripping off some $7.2 billion from the Pentagon's budget this year to build 900 miles of wall before the November presidential election.
Trump had a choice. Purchase fighter jets and other aircraft and military hardware requested by the military to help protect our nation, or pay for his wall (wasn't Mexico is supposed to do that?). His decision, reports The Washington Post, was to divert the funds from the Defense Department (DoD), enabling him to brag to his voter base that he kept his promise to build his hateful wall.
The Post reports that Pentagon documents reviewed by its reporters indicate that DoD is diverting billions to the wall project instead of purchasing two F-35 fighter jets and two Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for the Marine Corps; one P-8A reconnaissance aircraft for the Navy; and four C-130J transport planes and eight MQ-9 Reaper drones for the Air Force.
Funding also will be diverted from updating Humvees and trucks for the Army, buying $1.3 billion in "miscellaneous" new equipment for the National Guard and Reserves and developing new U.S. Navy vessels, according to The Post's report.
It's a patently illegal money grab instituted to satisfy Trump's outsized ego and continue to feed red meat to his immigrant hating base. The move bypasses Congress, in another Trump nose thumb of the Constitution, which grants sole appropriations authority to the Congress -- not the president.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the administration's action demonstrates “once again that the President is obsessed with fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of our national security.”
Expect public interest organizations like the ACLU to challenge this illegal act in court. Although lower courts have temporarily halted the use of military funds for the wall's construction, the Supreme Court and a federal appeals court have allowed the construction to go forward until the litigation is settled. Does Trump's stacking the courts with right wingers have anything to do with that?
Then, there is Trump's typical double talk.
“This Administration has already stolen billions from the Department of Defense in order to begin building the President’s vanity wall and today they are doubling down on bad policy,” Congressman Smith said in a statement. “The President loves to take credit for ‘rebuilding’ the military, but today’s reprogramming decision does the exact opposite.”
Last year Trump snubbed his nose at Congress and transferred $6.1 billion from the Pentagon budget for his wall without approval, using a counternarcotics law as justification, along with another law that allows DoD to divert military construction funds to pay for infrastructure needs of armed forces deployed to cope with a national emergency.
That was a scam, too. He declared that illegal immigrants constituted that national emergency, enabling the deployment of 5,000 troops to the southern border. And they, of course, need that wall.
This continues Trump's onslaught against Congress and is yet another example of his continuing claim of dictatorial power.
There is no end of this abuse in sight.