The White House seems to be in damage-control mode as it shifts from claiming the President will shut down the government if he doesn’t get $5 billion in wall funding to now saying the President could find other ways to get the money for the border wall if DHS budget isn’t sufficient.
This is a clear departure from the bold words during last week’s public standoff between the President and his friends on the Democratic side, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi. At that point, the President was willing to “carry the mantle” of “Trump’s Shutdown” if he didn’t get a CR that included $5 billion for DHS.
Today, the White House is singing a different tune:
“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion” and will “work with Congress” to do so, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday morning. She added that the Trump administration could support $1.6 billion in border security funding proposed by Senate Democrats, as long as it can “couple that with other funding resources” to get to $5 billion.
The border wall should have been funded when the Republicans still had a year of control over the House of Representatives. They had just come off a major victory with tax cut. Sentiment was strong and businesses showed signs they were reacting to the cuts well. It was the perfect time to hit the ground running and start building the border wall in earnest.
Somewhere along the lines, both the President and Capitol Hill lost their appetite for a border wall fight. Perhaps someone thought it was prudent to avoid funding the wall before the midterm elections.
Or, maybe it was never a priority to begin with. Maybe it was just a sales pitch.
On the other hand, if the President really can use alternative funding sources, such as from the defense budget, to start building the wall, so be it. That would be very different from what we were originally promised; to go from “Mexico will pay for it” to pulling from our national defense budget is atrocious, but so be it. We need the wall.
In the next couple of days, we’ll find out if the President will stick to his guns or cave under pressure. One way or another, we need to get the wall going as soon as possible. Every day it doesn’t exist is another day of rampant border crossings.