With only days remaining before the automatic triggering of another government shutdown, only one thing remains clear: President Donald Trump will build a southern U.S. border wall.
“[I]t’s all going to happen where we’re going to build a beautiful, big, strong wall,” he reiterated during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday afternoon, adding that while he’s “not happy about” the spending deal struck by congressional Democrats and Republicans, he’s confident the wall will be built.
“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it. It’s not doing the trick, but I’m adding things to it. I will add whatever I have to add. … Am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is no. I’m not. I’m not happy. But am I happy with where we are going? I am thrilled.”
Listen to his full statement below:
Slated to be formally introduced Wednesday, the spending deal by congressional Democrats and Republicans includes $1.375 billion in barrier funding, a notable $4.33 billion less than the $5.7 billion the president had sought. The $1.375 billion would reportedly only fund 55 miles of barriers.
The deal also calls for limiting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s enforcement activities by funding only 40,520 detention beds versus the current 49,057, though GOP lawmakers have claimed it’s a soft cap that could be effectively overridden via “reprogramming.”
While the deal falls significantly short of what Trump needs to truly secure the southern U.S. border, GOP leaders have insisted that he sign it anyway.
“I think he’s got a pretty good deal here. … I hope he’ll find this agreement acceptable and he’ll sign the bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
Will the president sign it, though? That remains unclear. He and his top officials have pointed out that they could accept the deal as a down payment on the southern U.S. border wall and then use other strategies such as “reprogramming” to acquire the rest of the needed funds.
The problem is that “reprogramming” may require him to declare a national emergency.
“There are certain funds of money he can get to without declaring a national emergency and other funds he can only get to after declaring a national emergency,” Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend.
Listen to that discussion below:
Some of the president’s supporters among the media have suggested that it would be OK for him to accept the deal, so long as he then turns around and declares a national emergency.
This strategy would specifically entail three steps, according to Fox News host Sean Hannity.
“Step one: if president decides he wants to sign the compromise, which would guarantee the $1.375 billion down payment for the wall, okay, that money can be used immediately,” he said on “Hannity.”
“Now, if he takes step two, which is the president utilizing money he has identified, some $900 million, for additional construction, that is already available for the administration administration’s discretion. That would be about $2.3 billion.”
“But the important third step needs to happen simultaneously. That would be the president would need to declare a national emergency. This is the time. That is a necessity.”
No matter what happens, one thing remains clear, as noted up top: The border wall will be built.
“Was just presented the concept and parameters of the Border Security Deal by hard-working Senator Richard Shelby,” the president tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Looking over all aspects knowing that this will be hooked up with lots of money from other sources…. Will be getting almost $23 BILLION for Border Security. Regardless of Wall money, it is being built as we speak!”
Was just presented the concept and parameters of the Border Security Deal by hard working Senator Richard Shelby. Looking over all aspects knowing that this will be hooked up with lots of money from other sources….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2019
….Will be getting almost $23 BILLION for Border Security. Regardless of Wall money, it is being built as we speak!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2019
He wasn’t wrong about the wall “being built as we speak.” Last year the Congress approved roughly $600 million in funding for an additional 33 miles of barriers in the Rio Grande Valley.
Yet every time the president rightly notes that the wall “is [already] being built,” the media accuse him of lying: “Jimmy Kimmel Destroys Trump’s ‘Finish The Wall’ Nonsense,” reads a headline at The Daily Beast, radically far-left yet mainstream blog known for targeting the children of its political opponents.
Never mind the facts …
“I checked in with agents at the Rio Grande Valley border sector to see if they knew what new ‘wall’ Trump was talking about,” the Washington Examiner, a conservative outlet, has confirmed.
“They sent me information on construction for new border barrier announced last year. The project funds six miles-worth of concrete and steel barrier of the sort that agents told me in January is immensely successful in deterring illegal border crossings.”
So it’s not an issue of starting construction of the wall but rather simply finishing it, as noted by social media users, some of whom preferred that Trump not accept the spending deal:
— RL (@Pastor_RogerL) February 12, 2019
— Tony McBride (@rocko611) February 12, 2019
Thank you, Mr. President, for holding the line on our rights as a sovereign nation!
— Linda Suhler, PhD (@LindaSuhler) February 12, 2019
— Madpreacher (@Madpreacher2) February 12, 2019
We have to protect the American people. The Dems will always put their radical open border agenda above the safety & security of American citizens. We need to stand with @realDonaldTrump to #FinishTheWall & keep drug smugglers, human traffickers, & criminals out of our country.
— Bradley Byrne (@BradleyByrne) February 12, 2019
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