After initially telling voters that Mexico would pay for a wall on the southern border, President Donald Trump is now considering calling on the military to provide the funding.
Trump floated the idea to advisers last week, before telling House speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday that funding for the wall should come out of the $700 billion provided for the military in the omnibus bill passed last week, according to the Washington Post.
The spending bill provides $1.6 billion for roughly 30 miles of additional border fencing — far short of the $25 billion Trump hoped to secure to build the “big, beautiful” wall he repeatedly promised voters — and places stringent limits on how the money can be spent.
Pentagon and White House officials told the Post that Trump’s idea is unlikely to come to fruition, as it would require approval from an unsympathetic Congress.
Democratic leadership denigrated Trump’s efforts to keep the wall alive in response to the Post‘s report.
“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,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in a statement.
Trump, who reluctantly signed the spending bill after calling it a “ridiculous situation,” has reportedly grown more frustrated as reliable defenders of his administration have taken to cable news to accuse him of abandoning his base.
Trump hinted at funding the wall with Pentagon money in a Sunday tweet, writing “building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.