With his demand that Congress pony up $5 billion for “the wall” riding off into the sunset, President Trump on Wednesday repeated his pledge that the U.S. military will build the southern border barrier.
Trump’s vow comes amid reports that he was forced to withdraw his demand for wall funding as lawmakers once again are gridlocked on a budget to keep the government up and running. With few cards to play, the president has turned to the military, a strategy he first laid out earlier this month.
In addition, Trump said Mexico will be paying for the new wall “indirectly,” as he claims a new North America trade agreement with America’s two neighbors will generate enough revenue for construction.
“Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA!” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. “Far more money coming to the U.S. Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!”
Trump also vowed that “one way or another, we will win on the Wall!”
“In our Country, so much money has been poured down the drain, for so many years, but when it comes to Border Security and the Military, the Democrats fight to the death. We won on the Military, which is being completely rebuilt. One way or the other, we will win on the Wall!” he wrote.
On December 11, Trump vowed that if Congress wouldn’t fund the wall, he’d turn to the U.S. military.
“People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built,” he wrote. “If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!”
After his December 11 statement, though, Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said, “to date, there is no plan to build sections of the wall.”
“However, Congress has provided options under Title 10 U.S. Code that could permit the Defense Department to fund border barrier projects, such as in support of counter drug operations or national emergencies,” Davis said.
For their part, soon-to-be House Speaker Rep. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer remained divisive, preemptively blaming Republicans for a government shutdown.
“Republicans still control the House, the Senate and the White House, and they have the power to keep government open,” they said in a joint statement. “Our country cannot afford a Trump Shutdown,” the Democrats said, adding that Trump “knows full well that his wall proposal does not have the votes to pass the House and Senate and should not be an obstacle to a bipartisan agreement.”