When President Donald Trump ran on building a massive border wall in 2016, anyone informed about politics could tell his claim that Mexico would pay for it was a shameful, empty promise. And now that Trump is actually trying to build the wall while running for re-election, his grab for wall funds is making him vulnerable to a potentially devastating attack line:
“Mexico isn’t paying for the wall — Wisconsin is.”
That was the gist of a tweet from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler, who wrote Monday:
Turns out, Trump’s target to pay for the wall isn’t Mexico. It’s Wisconsin. https://t.co/1f4TN9ogsJ
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) February 17, 2020
As Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin explained in a statement, the plan includes taking $101 million that was appropriated by Congress to build heavy-wheeled defense vehicles for the military from Wisconsin company Oshkosh Defense. Her office said she helped secure this funding “to support hundreds of jobs in small and medium sized businesses across the Midwest and is crucial to our national and economic security.” Trump’s budget also reportedly reallocates $650 million from a project to build the America-class Amphibious Navy Ship, which uses an engine that would also be built in Wisconsin. Baldwin said this funding supports “more than 100 jobs” in the state.
“President Trump promised the people of Wisconsin that Mexico would pay for his border wall and now he is making American taxpayers fund it,” Baldwin explained. “Wisconsin manufacturers strengthen our national defense and create jobs, but Trump is taking funding away from our economy and the workers that build it.”
John Nichols, a columnist in the Wisconsin paper Daily Citizen, shared Baldwin’s sentiment.
“When the Trump administration and its cronies tear up budgets that have been approved by Congress in order to find billions for the border wall, they abandon fiscal responsibility,” Nichols said wrote. “They also abandon workers, in communities such as Oshkosh.”
In some ways, this backlash represents exactly what is so frustrating about American politics. Place-based representation and the nature of the Senate and electoral college mean that small-scale projects that might not actually serve the national good can develop powerful constituencies that are politically risky for politicians to abandon. And the U.S. military budget is already bloated beyond belief, in part because it’s been a useful mechanism for influential lawmakers to direct the federal government’s largess toward their own constituents.
But politics plays out in the institutions and structures that we have, not those we’d like to have. So if Trump makes himself vulnerable by coming into conflict with a state like Wisconsin — a key state he won by a slim margin that was central in his 2016 win, and which could be necessary for his re-election — then he can expect that Democrats will exploit that decision. This is especially true if the issue also highlights some of his genuine faults, such as his disregard for the separation of powers and his broken promises.
‘Trump surrenders to the virus’: White House ripped for new ‘learn to live with it’ message on COVID-19
President Donald Trump's administration was harshly criticized on Friday after a new report from NBC News.
"After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it," reported Carol Lee, Kristen Welker and Monica Alba.
"Administration officials are planning to intensify what they hope is a sharper, and less conflicting, message of the pandemic next week, according to senior administration officials, after struggling to offer clear directives amid a crippling surge in cases across the country. On Thursday, the United States reported more than 55,000 new cases of coronavirus and infection rates were hitting new records in multiple states," NBC News reported.
Texas GOP will proceed with in-person state convention in Houston this month
In light of the decision to go forward with an in-person convention with a new mask requirement, two sponsors announced they would drop out. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he was hopeful that the organization would still reconsider.
The Texas GOP's executive committee voted Thursday night to proceed with plans to hold the party’s in-person convention in Houston later this month.
The State Republican Executive Committee, a 64-member body that serves as the governing board of the state party, voted 40-20 to approve the resolution supporting the in-person gathering. Thursday’s vote comes as the state grapples with a surge of coronavirus cases, with Houston serving as one of the country’s hot spots for the virus.
Ron DeSantis threw temper tantrum after Trump hired strategist he ‘exiled’ from Florida GOP: report
On Friday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump has brought back longtime Florida Republican strategist Susie Wiles to try to save his electoral chances in the critical swing state — and that Gov. Ron DeSantis, who worked to cast her out of power in the Florida GOP, is enraged by the move.
"Trump’s decision to reinstate Susie Wiles to his campaign’s good inner circle follows months of behind-the-scenes efforts to bring her back after she was exiled at the demand of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had her cast out of the president’s good graces in September," reported Gary Fineout and Marc Caputo, and it "comes as polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden in Trump's adopted home state. Trump won Florida four years ago by less than 113,000 votes and a loss in the battleground would likely doom his reelection effort."