Amid the coronavirus pandemic, when President Trump is being attacked from all the corners for his mismanagement in handling the crisis, Defense Secretary Mark Esper dropped another bomb. In a memo obtained on Monday by several media outlets, Esper informed that more than half a billion dollars which were meant for military construction projects were put on hold to divert the funds to President Donald Trump’s border wall project. Some of the funds are also diverted from overseas projects. Democrats were irked by the news, who claimed that President Trump’s administration is “trampling” the funds released by the Congress.
A total of $545.5 million is withheld for all the projects in the US with completion dates in 2020. “To enable the execution of certain scheduled projects which are for completion in 2020, I direct you to release funds related to 22 deferred projects within the US totalling $545.526 million,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper wrote in the memo to Elaine McCusker, who is the acting Pentagon Comptroller. In his note, Esper already removed 22 border-related projects which also have their completion dates in 2020. Of these, $62.6 million is for a middle school project in Kentucky, the reelection centre for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Another $160 million is for two projects at West Point, where President Trump is expected to deliver a speech at commencement ceremonies.
Till date, Trump administration spent over $3.6 billion on the US - Mexico border with no significant results. On multiple occasions, Democrats tried to halt Trump’s dream project, but they weren’t successful. Military Construction Subcommittee Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida criticized Trump for ignoring the national security and going against the decisions of Congress. “Trump is diverting the funds by cancelling the funds of critical European Deterrence Initiative projects that were meant to strengthen the real national security needs,” Wasserman Schultz said. Democrats also targeted Trump for his decision. They added - “Trump administration is once again risking the national security for his domestic political gains. His administration is trampling on Congress’s power and using the funds elsewhere. The people of America deserve much better. However, it can only be possible when congressional Republicans join the fight to defeat President Trump and make him a one-time President.”
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