Donald Trump Trying To 'Cannibalize' Military Funds For Border Wall 'Is A Slap In The Face' To U.S. Armed Forces, Schumer Says

The Trump administration's decision to move ahead with canceling $3.6 billion in military construction projects to fund the construction of President Donald Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is a "slap in the face" to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said.

"Today Defense Secretary Mark Esper notified me that the Department of Defense will reprogram $3.6 billion in funds appropriated for military construction projects, including at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, in order to build @realDonaldTrump 's misguided border wall," Schumer said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that @realDonaldTrump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego, and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build," he said.

The Democratic New York senator's condemnation came after Defense Secretary Mark Esper began notifying lawmakers on Tuesday that projects will be canceled across their districts.

In a letter obtained by The New York Times, Esper identified 11 projects that the diverted funding would be put towards, including new construction and fencing replacement along the border.

The projects, he said, would reduce demand for "personnel and assets at the locations where the barriers are constructed and allow the redeployment of [Defence Department] personnel and assets to other high-traffic areas."

While Esper did not expand on which military construction projects would lose funding, he made clear that money would not be pulled away from family housing, barracks or dormitory initiatives.

The funding diversion is expected to pull money away from as many as 127 projects, however, according to the Times.

Esper's notifications come nearly seven months after Trump declared a national emergency on February 15 in order to obtain roughly $8 billion to build his long-promised wall, which he has claimed will prevent irregular immigration along the southern border.

Of the $8 billion, as much as $3.6 billion was expected to be drawn from military construction funds.

In a statement blasting Trump over the controversial decision, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said the president's "immigration efforts have failed since Day 1."

Trump's decision to pull money away from military construction funds in addition to the bid to draw funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build his border wall has "made it clear he is willing to take funds from our troops and disaster victims and divert them to try to protect his political right flank," Reed said. "And ultimately, that could put Americans at risk."

"President Trump's immigration efforts have failed since Day 1," Reed said.

Calling for the diversion of funds to be legally challenged and struck down, the Rhode Island politician said it was up to Congress and courts to stop the president from "misusing defense dollars."

As Schumer noted, throughout the course of his 2016 presidential election campaign, Trump had vowed to make Mexico pay for the construction of his border wall.

However, in the months since his election victory, it has become abundantly clear that it is not Mexico that will be paying for the wall's construction, but the U.S. and its taxpayers.

"The Administration's irresponsible decision to transfer funds from appropriated U.S. military construction makes America less safe and dishonors the Constitution," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

"The President is negating the Constitution's most fundamental principle, the separation of powers, by assaulting our Congressional 'power of the purse,' and is undermining the oath of office we take to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people," she said.

"Canceling military construction projects at home and abroad will undermine our national security and the quality of life and morale of our troops, making America less secure," she added. "The President says that he is building the wall for national security reasons, but America should instead address the root causes of migration in the countries of origin."

As our bipartisan Congressional delegation saw firsthand last month in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, we should be strengthening U.S. initiatives. Yet, the Administration has decided to move critical funding from effective and proven counternarcotics and stability and security initiatives to build an ineffective, wasteful wall. This senseless decision will only worsen the underlying causes of migration," Pelosi said.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) answers questions following a vote on the budget agreement August 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Schumer has slammed President Donald Trump for trying to 'cannibalize already allocated military funding' to build his long-promised border wall. Win McNamee/Getty
Donald Trump Trying To 'Cannibalize' Military Funds For Border Wall 'Is A Slap In The Face' To U.S. Armed Forces, Schumer Says | U.S.