Democratic leaders are getting ahead of Donald Trump’s planned request for border wall funding, warning him that it will go just as bad as his first demand.
Reports emerged on Sunday that Trump planned to ask Congress for $8.6 billion in new funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. A senior Trump administration official told The Washington Post that the funding would allow Trump to build more than 700 miles of the border wall, completing a crucial campaign pledge ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign.
The demand would seem to spark a second conflict between Trump and Democrats in Congress just months after Trump triggered the longest shutdown in American history. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are already letting Trump know that Democrats still plan to oppose the wall, releasing a statement on Sunday saying it would be a mistake for Trump to push forward with the demand for funding.
“President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico,” the Democratic leaders said in a statement, via The Hill. “Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again.”
“We hope he learned his lesson.”
There are signs that Trump would not trigger another government shutdown over his planned new request for funding. By the end of the last government shutdown, Trump was even losing the support of many Republican allies, so a second shutdown would likely lead to even more conflict. Polls also showed that a majority of Americans blamed Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, with Trump’s approval ratings steadily declining over the course of the more than three-week shutdown.
Trump has already declared a national emergency in order to re-allocate funding from the military budget to start construction of the border wall.
The recent statement from Democrats went on to suggest that Trump instead use the money toward education and workforce development programs. Democrats have been critical of Trump’s idea to build a wall along the entire border, saying that it would be a waste of money and ineffective compared to other border security measures. They have also repeatedly pointed out that Trump promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that he would make Mexico pay for the wall.