Friday, January 11, 2019


On Wednesday morning, President Trump tweeted this:

Many people assumed that Trump was just trying to change the subject the morning after his poorly received prime-time speech about the wall. But now it appears that he wasn't trying to change the subject at all. NBC reports:
President Donald Trump has been briefed on a plan that would use the Army Corps of Engineers and a portion of $13.9 billion of Army Corps funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the briefing.

The money was set aside to fund projects all over the country including storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico through fiscal year 2020, but the checks have not been written yet and, under an emergency declaration, the president could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall....

Under the proposal, the officials said, 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....

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., said the Democrats would fight "with every ounce of energy we have" to stop the president from using Army Corps funds to build a southern border wall.

"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," Velázquez said.
The NBC story stresses Puerto Rico rather than California, but clearly California was on Trump's mind Wednesday morning. That's for a lot of reasons: California is Nancy Pelosi's state; it's a state that defiantly resists Trumpism, particularly on immigration -- and, of course, it's a state where Trump believes Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes in 2016, without which he thinks he wouldn't have suffered the humiliation of losing the popular vote.

The Trump tweet refers to FEMA rather than the Army Corps of Engineers, but I'm sure Trump doesn't know the difference, or knows the difference and wants all aid cut off. (My guess is the former.)

I'm sure Trump also resents Puerto Rico, but that's mostly because, to New York bigots of his generation, "Puerto Ricans" is a catchall synonym for "Hispanics," and all Hispanics are deemed to be criminal-minded. (Vintage Jackie Mason joke: “I love the Puerto Rican people. I go to Puerto Rico every year just to visit my hubcaps.” The octogenarian Mason is, of course, a huge Trump fan.)

Other news reports say that Trump could tap into funds intended for flood control in Texas, but I'm sure he'll want to spare the Lone Star State, and any other state whose electoral votes he might win in 2020 (assuming it's even possible to target his theft of funds that precisely).

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