President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Trump clings to dubious claim: US will be ‘reimbursed’ for wall

The Rachel Maddow Show, 7/26/19, 9:35 PM ET

SCOTUS permits Trump to use $2.5 billion from Pentagon for wall

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, member of the House Oversight Committee, reacts to the news of the Supreme Court allowing Donald Trump to spend $2.5 billion dollars from the Pentagon’s budget on his border wall and whether Democrats can count on any votes from
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, member of the House Oversight Committee, reacts to the news of the Supreme Court allowing Donald Trump to spend $2.5 billion dollars from the Pentagon’s budget on his border wall and whether Democrats can count on any votes from
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court told the White House what it wanted to hear: Donald Trump can begin diverting $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s budget, applying those funds to border-barrier construction.

The high court’s decision – a 5-4 ruling – didn’t rule on the merits of the president’s gambit, but it did allow the administration to begin using the funds while the case is litigated through the judicial system. That’ll take a while.

In the meantime, Trump will very likely be able to add to his record of having built zero miles of border barriers since taking office two-and-a-half years ago.

After the Supreme Court’s conservative majority cleared the way for the president to take money from the Defense Department, the Republican celebrated with a curious tweet:

“Such a big victory of our Country! ‘Supreme Court approves Trump Administration plan to use Military Funds for the Wall.’ @FoxNews

“We will be fully reimbursed for this expenditure, over time, by other countries.”

Wait, are we still playing that game?

Look, I realize the president swore up and down that he’d get Mexico to pay for a giant border wall. As we’ve discussed before, the Trump campaign was fairly specific on this point, releasing a document – which is still online – which explained how our neighbors to the south would finance the project. It explicitly described a plan in which Mexico would “make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion,” which the Trump administration would “compel” the country to make.

All of that, of course, was nonsense – a promise that Trump didn’t (and couldn’t) keep.

More recently, the Republican tweaked his position, insisting that Mexico is already paying for non-existent construction by way of indirect revenue from a trade deal that hasn’t been implemented.

On Friday night, Trump switched gears again, assuring the public that some countries (he didn’t say which ones) will at some point (he didn’t say when) “reimburse” American taxpayers (he didn’t say how) for the money he’s taking from the military.

In reality, this will not happen. That’s our money; our elected representatives allocated it to the Pentagon; and now our president is diverting those funds because he feels like it.

To see this as “a big victory” of the country is bizarre. To think we’ll be paid back is ridiculous.