FILE - In this March 13, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump is floating the idea of using the military’s budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico. Trump raised the idea to House Speaker Paul Ryan at a meeting last week, according to a person familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Trump suggests paying for US border wall with Pentagon funds

President Trump is floating the idea of using the military’s budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico.

Still angry about the budget deal he signed last week, President Donald Trump has floated the idea of using the Pentagon budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico, despite the fact that such spending would likely require approval from Congress.

Trump raised the funding plan with House Speaker Paul Ryan at a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the discussion who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

And he has tweeted that building “a great Border Wall” is “all about National Defence” and has called to “Build WALL through M!” — the military.

Departments, however, have limited authority to reprogram funds without congressional approval. Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood referred all questions on the wall to the White House, where spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders deflected them, saying she was “not going to get into the specifics of that.”

Related: Trump inspects border wall prototypes, denounces California

Trump threw Washington into a tizzy on Friday when he threatened to veto the omnibus spending bill, in part because it didn’t include the $25 billion he’d tried to secure for the wall in a last-minute bargaining spree.

The $1.3 trillion funding package did include $1.6 billion in border wall spending. But much of that money can only be used to repair existing segments, not build new sections. Congress also put restrictions on the types of barriers that can be built.

Trump has tried to justify signing the deal by pointing to the boost in funding it provides for the military. But he nonetheless remains frustrated, according to people familiar with his thinking who weren’t authorized to discuss private conversations and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Related: Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe Haiti, African countries

Trump first publicly floated the idea of having the Pentagon pay for the rest of construction in an obscure tweet that left many confused.

“Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defence,” he wrote Sunday. “Build WALL through M!”

He retweeted his message again Monday night.

Some people close to the president have also suggested creating a GoFundMe campaign that Trump could use to raise money from the public to fund construction. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the idea, and it’s unclear whether it has gained any serious traction.

Congress, under the Constitution, has the power to determine federal appropriations, and the administration has little authority to shift funding without congressional approval. The Senate Appropriations Committee was not aware of any authority that would allow the Defence Department to fund the wall without congressional approval, said a GOP aide.

Sanders said Tuesday that Trump would work with the White House counsel to make sure any action taken was within his executive authority. And she insisted the “continuation of building the wall is ongoing and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process.”

Building the wall was one of Trump’s top campaign promises, and the idea that drew the loudest cheers from supporters at his rallies. Trump also insisted he’d make Mexico pay for the construction. But Mexico has made clear it has no intention of doing so.

Trump has also proposed making Mexico pay for the wall indirectly through measures such as increasing visa fees, imposing new tariffs and targeting remittances.

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read