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President Trump’s political obsession over building the border wall has led to one government shutdown and threatens another. As leading observers condemn the Trump administration for its cronyism in rewarding a wall building contract to an unqualified firm helmed by a GOP donor and Trump supporter, today also offers fresh reminders of how incredibly dumb this entire debate about the wall really is.
Last month, news reports highlighted how the supposedly impenetrable wall was being cut through easily by a cheap saw. Now, new footage of individuals climbing and scaling a newly replaced section of the border wall (subsequently shared on Twitter by a host of journalists) offers another reminder of how the wall is an ineffective and offensive waste of money that exposes how ridiculous the border wall is as a policy priority.
Unfortunately, American taxpayers are footing the bill for it– with the money coming not from Mexico but from appropriations targeted to military families and local communities. Now we learn that the funds raided from military projects are being funneled to Trump’s friends and supporters. A segment on last night’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” titled “GOP Donor Gets $400 Million Sweetheart Deal,” exposes the cronyism involved in awarding a wall building contract to a Trump supporter who runs Fisher Sand and Gravel. And as Steve Benen wrote in a separate MSNBC piece:
Those looking for evidence of a shady “swamp” in the nation’s capital should look no further than Donald Trump intervening in the government contracting process, so that a company he likes will build border barriers across an Arizona wildlife refuge.
…As we discussed in the spring, the fact that Fisher’s CEO, Tommy Fisher, is a Republican donor seems like an obvious issue. In fact, the chief executive and his wife were generous supporters of Sen. Kevin Cramer’s (R-N.D.) campaign, and the GOP senator welcomed Fisher as his guest at Trump’s State of the Union speech earlier this year. But in this case, that’s only part of the problem. The latest reporting suggests Trump didn’t support Fischer because of campaign contributions; rather, the president intervened because he saw Fisher on Fox News.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
This is how far our national discourse has fallen: a racist campaign rally chant used to rouse white grievance voters; a broken promise to get Mexico to pay for an ineffective and simplistic response to a complex challenge; a president who raids taxpayer funds aimed at military families; a conservative Supreme Court that gives him the green light: Republicans in Congress who refuse to stand up to their Dear Leader and for the separation of powers; and cronyism that directs hundreds of millions to a campaign donor who does not meet the government’s construction standards but who appear on Fox News. We will look back on the Trump era with disgust and disdain.