Trump just took hundreds of millions from the military retirement system to pay for his wall
Trump's plot to raid funds already doled out by Congress in order to build his racist and unnecessary border wall is coming into focus.
On Friday, the Pentagon announced that it will reallocate $1.5 billion — a large chunk of which was meant to support security forces in Afghanistan battling the Taliban — in order to pay for just 80 miles of Trump’s wall, the Associated Press reported.
"Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier,” Patrick Shanahan, the current acting defense secretary who Trump just nominated to fill the job permanently, said on Friday.
The funds, which Shanahan claimed would have a "minimal impact on force readiness," include $604 million from the Afghan Security Forces Fund, which supports the Afghan army and other security forces fighting the Taliban; $251 million from a project to destroy chemical weapons; $344 million from a group of Air Force programs; and $224 million from a military retirement system.
Back in March, the Pentagon announced it was also reallocating $1 billion that was appropriated for military pay and pensions to go toward border wall construction.
Combined, that gives Trump $2.5 billion for his wall that Congress never intended him to have.
The AP also reported that Trump might later pilfer another $3.6 billion intended for military construction projects to pay for the wall — though it's unclear what those projects are. Taking money from military projects could likely spark backlash from congressional lawmakers, who don't want to see money taken away from projects in their home states or districts.
Democrats are already crying foul at Trump's raid of the Defense Department budget to pay for his unpopular wall.
"Today, the Defense Department will divert another $1.5 billion from our military to the 'big & beautiful' border wall," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted. "The Pentagon has now reprogrammed 12 times more money to the wall than for repairs at Tyndall AFB [Air Force Base], destroyed by Hurricane Michael. We should put troops first!"
Ultimately, Trump is able to steal funds that Congress already appropriated for other things because of the fake national emergency he declared earlier this year.
Congress passed a resolution to repeal the fake emergency declaration. But Trump vetoedit, and not enough Republicans were willing to defy Trump to reach the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
Trump is defying the separation of powers to spend money on whatever he wants — and Republicans are letting him do it.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Emily Singer.