Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) is trying to crowdfund President Trump’s border wall.
Black is pushing legislation to establish a dedicated fund where Americans could make donations for the wall, which Trump administration have said will cost at least $20 billion — and which Trump promised Mexico would pay for.
Real immigration reform cannot be achieved without a secure border – @realDonaldTrump has been clear about this since day one. Today I introduced the #BorderWallTrustFundAct which would allow public donations to #BuildtheWall. Let's get it done! https://t.co/CWJDEQbxo2
— Diane Black (@RepDianeBlack) May 18, 2018
During an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Black — who is running to become the next governor of Tennessee — floated the idea of putting up plaques along the wall to commemorate those who donate.
“My husband and I are willing to write the first check to say, ‘we as Americans want to do what the president has said — we want to fund that wall,'” Black said, before comparing her proposal to donations the government used to complete the Washington Monument.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Predictably, however, the Mexican government has no interest in doing so. And while congressional Democrats have signaled willingness to spend up to $3 billion on border security measures, Trump has refused to take anything less than multi-year wall funding (in addition to rollbacks on legal immigration) as part of an omnibus immigration bill.
We need the Wall for the safety and security of our country. We need the Wall to help stop the massive inflow of drugs from Mexico, now rated the number one most dangerous country in the world. If there is no Wall, there is no Deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
At one point during Monday’s Fox News interview, host Harris Faulkner addressed the elephant in the room, asking Black, “what happened to Mexico paying for it?”
Black didn’t have a good answer.
“Well, I would like for Mexico to pay for that and I’m not close enough to the administration to see what pressure they are putting on them,” she said.
Watch the exchange for yourself:
While Trump has no money for the wall, he has pretended as though construction is underway.
Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL! pic.twitter.com/pmCNoxxlkH
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
In fact, an omnibus spending bill signed by Trump in March contained $1.6 billion on border security measures, but that money is only available for fencing and improvement to existing barriers — not to build the wall prototypes Trump made a big show of inspecting in March.
While Trump insists that construction of a physical wall along the southern border is vital for national security, border agents say there are better, less expensive ways to secure the border using technology. And in private, Trump has indicated that his motivation for pushing for the wall has to do with politics, not national security.
Fox News’ Faulkner seemed to acknowledge the political reality during her interview with Black, noting as it wrapped up that “a key point is that the president ran on that issue.”