President Donald Trump reportedly has a message for the troops: I want you on that wall. I need you on that wall.
Multiple inside sources tell the Washington Post that Trump, frustrated that the new bipartisan budget bill he signed didn't fund his proposed border wall with Mexico, has recently fixated on the idea that the Department of Defense could spare some cash to build the futuristic fence. In fact, he's discussed it on multiple occasions, the sources say.
Here's one occasion:
After floating the notion to several advisers last week, he told Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the military should pay for the wall in a meeting last Wednesday in the White House residence, according to three people familiar with the meeting. Ryan offered little reaction to the notion, these people said, but senior Capitol Hill officials later said it was an unlikely prospect.
Here's another occasion:
In another such interaction with senior aides last week, Trump noted that the Department of Defense was getting so much money as part of the $1.3 trillion spending package that the Pentagon could surely afford the border wall, two White House officials said.
And then there's tweet, because there's always a tweet:
Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2018
“Two advisers,” the Post reports, “said that 'M' stood for military.”
Needless to say, the idea hasn't picked up any momentum. And with good reason: Even if the slightly busy military establishment was willing to part with a couple (or hundred) billion dollars for the cause, a new allocation would require action from Congress. And if Paul Ryan shrugging off the plan wasn't ominous enough, here's what Senate Minority Leader (and old Trump phone-chat buddy) Chuck Schumer told the Post:
“First Mexico was supposed to pay for it, then U.S. taxpayers, and now our men and women in uniform? This would be a blatant misuse of military funds and tied up in court for years. Secretary Mattis ought not bother and instead use the money to help our troops, rather than advance the president’s political fantasies.”
On the other hand, a dreamer can dream! And if there's anything Defense Secretary James Mattis has taught us, it's that the commander-in-chief he has a soft spot for certain dreamers in his midst.