As President Trump’s self-inflicted government shutdown is poised to become the longest in American history, his staffers are scrambling to find any and all possible ways Trump could potentially sidestep Congress and get his personal monument to ethnonationalism constructed in the desert.
While declaring a state of emergency and ordering the military to just build the wall is the Plan B that the President has publicly latched on to, Trump officials are actively exploring a far more malicious option that would not only get his wall built but actively hurt people of color in the process, making it a far more attractive prospect for the vicious racists in the White House.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to find a hefty chunk of their $13.9 billion funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the border. The problem is, that money is supposed to be spent on at least 50 natural disaster prevention and relief projects across the country, including Puerto Rico.
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NBC News reports that “Trump could dip into the $2.4 billion allocated to projects in California, including flood prevention and protection projects along the Yuba River Basin and the Folsom Dam, as well as the $2.5 billion set aside for reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.”
The move would be yet another painful blow to the island of Puerto Rico, whose people were allowed to suffer and die by the thousands as the administration dragged its feet in responding to the ecological cataclysm — but it would be very on-brand for a President who has seemingly delighted in inflicting cruelty on people of color, no matter where they might be from.
Of course, such a move would be met with fierce opposition from Congressional Democrats, who would likely try to pass legislation preventing the money from being diverted.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York vowed to NBC News that Democrats would fight “with every ounce of energy we have” to stop Trump. “It would be beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump’s foolish, offensive and hateful wall. Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won’t fall for it” said Velázquez.
President Trump has made it very clear that he will stop at nothing to get his wall, no matter how many people and how much damage is left in his wake — but as TSA workers begin staging protests and FBI agents threaten to walk off the job, it’s clear that the situation is on the verge of dramatically escalating.
One shudders to think of what a cornered and truly desperate Trump might try to do to save himself and save face.