Trump to loot the Pentagon

Herb Boyd | 9/5/2019, 2:32 p.m.
The promise, or should we say threat that Trump made months ago about declaring a national emergency to divest funds ...
President Donald Trump CNN/Pool photo

The promise, or should we say threat that Trump made months ago about declaring a national emergency to divest funds from the Pentagon to build a wall along the southern border appears to be closer to a reality.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper began notifying various lawmakers and agencies that projects will be canceled in their districts in order to siphon funds for Trump’s mandate.

Immediately, Democrats responded to the plan, none more troubled than Sen. Chuck Schumer, who in pointed language said Trump was trying to “usurp Congress’s exclusive power of the purse and loot vital funds from our military.”

“It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build,” the Senate minority leader continued.

According to Esper’s announcement, $3.6 billion will be earmarked for the wall which, like the ongoing trade war, will have a direct impact on districts where military infrastructure was in the works.

The funds will be drawn and transferred from the Pentagon’s fiscal year budget and a portion of the $8 billion requested to build a wall of some 175 miles.

Along with Schumer, other Democratic leaders have promised to block the measure, including Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. “Today, he [Trump] made it clear he is willing to take funds from our troops and disaster victims and divert them to try to protect his political right flank. And ultimately that could put Americans at risk.”

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the East Coast, there is certain to be funds to assist those potentially devastated by the storm. And that raises another question about Trump’s administration and how it will deal with restoration in Dorian’s wake.

A full list of the districts that will be impacted by the shift of funds will be released Wednesday, according to the Pentagon. If Congress fails to stop the “looting” several lawmakers have proposed that the move should be challenged in the courts, which may not bring favored results for Democrats.