The president’s border wall is a big deal and is important to those who support him.
According to the Washington Examiner, citing Roll Call, “The Senate Appropriations Committee has allocated $5 billion to advance the construction of a southern border wall by taking the money out of the Labor-Education funding bill.”
However, despite that the funds have been earmarked for the border wall, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) intends to ask the president to divert the money “to programs aimed at ending gun violence and ‘violent white supremacist extremism.’”
President Donald Trump should reject Schumer’s request, which is nothing more than a political and partisan stunt.
According to the Washington Examiner source, Schumer will ask that the “wall money” be “redirected to the Homeland Security Department’s counter-violent extremism programs, the FBI’s domestic terrorism investigations, and gun violence research by the Centers for Disease Control.”
Said Schumer in a statement: “The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat, plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress started treating them as such. Now, Republicans and this administration need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to addressing gun violence and stopping the rise of domestic terrorism, especially stemming from white supremacy.”
On the one hand, Schumer’s desire to curb gun violence and extremism of all sorts is commendable. Toward that end, Congress (meaning Republicans and Democrats, Mr. Schumer) should work together to try to find some logical proposals as to how to best accomplish this.
Sadly, Schumer’s idea to redirect the “wall money” appears to be a poorly veiled politicized attempt to force the president’s hand. Democrats in Congress have opposed Trump’s border wall from the start, despite the president’s efforts to work with them and despite his declaration of a national emergency. They refused to fund the wall on numerous occasions, even when Trump was willing to include provisions that would protect DACA recipients as part of a deal.
Before the president declared a national emergency, some Senate Democrats introduced legislation to “prevent Trump from using military and disaster relief funds to construct the U.S.–Mexico border wall,” according to The Hill. Their efforts to prevent the wall have been relentless. Now that the money has been earmarked for the wall, Schumer is trying to pressure the president to redirect such funds and is using the recent tragedies in El Paso and in Dayton as “leverage.”
If the president refuses to do so, Schumer and his fellow Democrats in Congress will undoubtedly blame the president and try to promote a false narrative that the president doesn’t care about Americans and making America safer, and that he’s under the control of the NRA and/or gun manufacturers.
On the other hand, if Trump agrees to Schumer’s request, he will likely face backlash from those who support his tough stance on immigration reform, illegal immigration, and the construction of the border wall. These issues are important to his supporters, many of whom remained by him during the difficult and prolonged government shutdown.
While Schumer accuses Republicans and the Trump administration of doing nothing in the aftermath of the most recent tragedies, this statement is simply inaccurate. Immediately following the recent and tragic events in El Paso and Dayton, Trump unequivocally condemned white supremacy, stating:
“Our nation is overcome with shock, horror, and sorrow. … We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil. …
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hatred has no place in America.”
Trump also called for red flag laws and reforms to mental health laws as they relate to firearms. As reported by Townhall, “Trump signed a Fix-NICS provision into law last March, strengthening background checks, and took executive action to bar ‘bump stocks,’ which were used to horrifying effect by the Las Vegas shooter.”
While these are small steps in the broader “gun reform” debate, they clearly reflect action on behalf of the president and his administration.
While the president likely agrees with some of Schumer’s concerns, he shouldn’t redirect the funds that have been designated to build the wall in order to address them. If Schumer wants to address these issues in a productive manner, there must be a sincere and bipartisan discussion.
In response to growing calls from Democrats to reconvene the Senate during its recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stated: “There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on. If we do it prematurely, it will just be another frustrating experience.”
McConnell makes a good point. Moreover, just because Republicans don’t necessarily agree with the terms of the Democrats’ proposed background check bill doesn’t mean that they aren’t willing to discuss possible ideas relating to gun reform, or that they don’t care about this or other important issues.
Schumer’s suggestion to the contrary is off-base and wrong, as is any effort to leverage a national tragedy for political gain. The president shouldn’t redirect the “wall money,” which is exactly what Democrats in Congress want. Rather, Republicans and Democrats must somehow come together to brainstorm and come up with one or more practical and workable solutions. The money, on the other hand, should be used for its intended purpose.
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.