Illegal crossings are down. Trump’s budget chief suggests the project is hardly underway. And powerful Republicans are voicing reservations.
President Donald Trump’s plan for a border wall is showing more cracks.
Trump is claiming that the ambitious — and hugely controversial — construction plan is “way, way, way ahead of schedule,” but in reality, there is growing evidence that Trump’s central campaign pledge is in political peril.
Illegal crossings are down at the U.S.-Mexico border, removing some of the justification for erecting the wall as soon as possible. Trump’s budget chief says the administration still doesn’t know what the wall will be made out of. Trump’s executive order directing federal agencies to identify cost savings to fund the wall sparked a diplomatic crisis with Mexico’s president during his first week in office, but so far found only $20 million in existing funds to finance what is likely a $20 billion-plus project. Now, his administration is floating controversial cuts to the Transportation Safety Administration and the Coast Guard to fund the wall’s construction.
As the issues mount, several prominent Republicans are making their concerns more explicit.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told constituents during a telephone town hall Wednesday that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed” to secure the border, according to audio obtained by POLITICO on Thursday. “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”