Who will actually pay for Trump's border wall?
The official version is the Department of Defense will divert Pentagon funds to build the wall. But what is behind the selection process for projects that will run out of funds?
The presidential venture of Donald Trump seems like a failure if we take into account the results of his proposals.
A tax reform that hit the pocket of voters, a trade war with China that has had disastrous results with financial stability, and anti-immigrant policies that can only be classified as inhuman, are only a few examples of how his ideas have panned out.
But the one promise he focused on in his presidential campaign seems to be the only one Donald Trump can keep, no matter the price.
Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper agreed to divert $ 3.6 billion from the Pentagon budget to build the president’s long-awaited border wall, taking away funds from 127 military projects through the emergency declaration launched a few months ago.
According to the Washington Post, Esper argued the measure by ensuring that "the use of military construction funds was necessary to support U.S. forces deployed on the southern border."
Thanks to the presidential powers obtained through the national emergency declaration and the bypassing of Congress, the Pentagon will use the funds to launch 11 construction projects that will cover 175 miles of construction and repair of the wall at the border.
However, little was known about the projects that would be defunded to fulfill the presidential dream.
Just two days later, VICE published the list of programs that will lose funding at the expense of the wall, and it could not be more Trumpian: schools for children of military personnel in bases in Japan and Germany, grants for military schools, a child development center in Maryland, funds to improve defense roads in Texas, equipment storage buildings, and even treatment facilities for working dogs in Guantanamo.
However, the blow against two particular programs is a symbol of everything that this administration stands for.
An analysis by the Washington Post explained how around $ 400 million to build the wall will come from recovery projects following the devastating passage of Hurricane Maria in military facilities in Puerto Rico.
As reported by El Nuevo Día, of those $400 million, Congress originally assigned about $341 million, Brigadier General José Reyes of the National Guard explained to the publication, and were destined for “initiatives that are usually developed by Puerto Rico contractors.”
That is, the funds would also boost the local companies that contribute to the island’s recovery.
Another of the projects that will lose funds is the so-called European Defense Initiative, a military program that "supports the activities of the United States Army and its allies in Europe," and that was launched after the irregular annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
One of the main functions of this program is to "deter a possible Russian cyberattack," of the kind Russia carried out during the 2016 presidential elections and which helped Donald Trump win the presidency.
“This is the bulwark of the European Deterrence Initiative, which was created after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine,” explains James Hohmann in his analysis for the WaPo. "Along with Trump’s push to get Russia back in the G-7, this is the latest illustration of the president projecting weakness in the face of Kremlin bellicosity."
And "bellicosity" is a very noble way of putting it.