A new report out says the Pentagon is now preparing for the orders to build the border wall.
Politico reported that Trump said, “if the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall.”
And many officials believe he can do it.
Newsweek reported that Washington state Democrat and House Armed Services chair Adam Smith said President Donald Trump does have the authority to declare a “national emergency” and use U.S. military troops to build his Mexican border wall.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Smith whether Trump has the legal authority to “declare a national emergency” in order to get about $5.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer funding for his proposed border wall. Smith responded that while Trump can legally make good on his threat to use military troops to erect his southern border wall, he would effectively be wasting billions in Defense Department money and hurting national security.
The Pentagon is preparing in case President Donald Trump orders the military to build the southern wall, according to a defense official.
Trump has hinted in recent days that he may do so, amidst an impasse in negotiations with Democrats that has shut down the government.
“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” Trump told reporters on Sunday.
While no order has been given, the Pentagon has been making plans just in case such an order comes down, the official said on Monday.
The idea of declaring a national emergency to have the military build the wall has been considered since fall, the official revealed.
Some money could come from unobligated funds for military construction projects in 2019, the official said. “Unobligated” means that the funds have been authorized for a certain purpose, but for whatever reason, have not yet been used.
The Army Corps of Engineers would likely be in charge of overseeing the construction.
The organization would not build the wall itself, but would subcontract the project out, and then inspect it to make sure it meets specification and Defense Department standards.
While most Democrats have claimed Trump did not have the authority to order the military to build the wall, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) acknowledged Sunday that the president does have the authority.
“There is a provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times. But primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
A Pentagon spokesman told reporters in December in response to queries: “Congress has provided options under Title 10 U.S. Code that could permit the Department of Defense to fund border barrier projects, such as in support of counter drug operations or national emergencies.”