It wasn’t surprising to hear that Trump was targeting disaster relief funds earmarked for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the wildfires in California. After all, Hillary Clinton won handily in both those places in 2016 and punishing them by taking away desperately needed funding is exactly the kind of mean-spirited, cold-hearted retribution we’ve come to expect from Trump.
But now even Fox News is reporting that Trump will also strip disaster recovery funds from two big states he won: Florida and Texas.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “look at possible ways of funding border security,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News on Thursday night, as the ongoing partial federal government shutdown over money for a border wall is less than two days away from becoming the longest in the nation’s history.
Separately, Fox News is told the White House directed the Corps to examine the February 2018 emergency supplemental, which included disaster relief for California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, among other states, to see what unspent funds could be diverted to a border wall, according to a congressional aide familiar with the matter.
Such a move still could require the president to declare a national emergency in order to access those funds to build a wall, because they were earmarked for a different purpose. The discussions with the Corps suggest the White House is closely looking at the possibility of declaring such an emergency, as Trump has floated repeatedly in recent days.