Donald Trump is capping a three-day trip to the West with a visit to the border wall in San Diego, where he is showing reporters details of the ongoing construction.
Trump calls it “an amazing project.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered in Southern California to demonstrate against his visit, and to push back on the idea that any border crisis truly exists except one that Trump himself has created through a crackdown on asylum seekers and families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.
Nearly three years into his first term, Trump has pushed forward with construction on his border wall, in spite of pushback from congressional Democrats who have refused to fund much of the project.
Instead, Trump has largely relied on diverted funds from other parts of the government, including the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department.
While Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, instead some $3.6 billion in military infrastructure money has been raided, undercutting projects across the US from New York to Virginia and the Carolinas. All told, US Customs and Border Protection says it has received $6.2 billion since January 2017 to build the wall.
Trump did say that Mexico is paying for soldiers, and apparently that counts somehow:
Asked about his pledge that Mexico would pay for the wall, @POTUS says it’s “paying for 27,000 soldiers” along its borders to stop illegal crossings. Says a 5% tariff for 6 months would pay for the entire wall, “but I don’t want to do that.” He’s happy with Mexican cooperation. pic.twitter.com/FDbPYER9M7
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 18, 2019
Among those projects that have had funding taken away include an ambulatory centre in North Carolina; an engineering center at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York; a cyber-ops facility in Virginia; a fire station in South Carolina; a central heating facility on an Air Force base in Alaska; and a Kentucky middle school.
While speaking to reporters, Trump started to talk about the secret technology involved in border protection, and asked the general in charge to elaborate.
However, the general didn’t and instead said, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that.”
Oh my god. Trump starts to discuss apparently sensitive technology deployed at the border. Asks the General in charge to describe the technology.
The General’s response: “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that.” pic.twitter.com/FlSmiNTbLM
— Scott Stedman (@ScottMStedman) September 18, 2019
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