South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham defended President Donald Trump’s move to redirect money for a middle school at a Kentucky military base to fund his proposed border wall in an interview with CBS News Sunday.
Among the money Trump plans to use for his proposed border wall after declaring a national emergency last week is $3.6 billion intended for military construction projects, like the $62 million Fort Campbell Middle School.
Asked whether that money should be used for the border wall, Graham replied, “It’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border.”
“We’ll get them the school they need, but right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands,” he claimed, despite the fact that countless independent fact-checkers have shown extensive evidence that there is not.
Graham said the border wall would stem the flow of drugs. “All of it is coming across the border,” he claimed, although the Trump administration itself has said that the overwhelming majority of illegal drugs are smuggled at legal ports of entry.
School money was allocated in John McCain Defense Bill:
Graham, who spent much of his Congressional career attached at the hip to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was defending a move that would redirect money that was allocated in last year’s John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.
The bill includes housing for military families and improvements for military base infrastructure.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a frequent ally of Trump, slammed the move.
"I’m disappointed with both the massive, bloated, secretive bill that just passed and with the president’s intention to declare an emergency to build a wall," Paul tweeted last week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, insisted that it’s possible Trump may not use these specific funds despite numerous reports that it is exactly what he is doing.
“Right now it’s a hypothetical, because the Acting Sec of Defense hasn’t determined what specific funds will be used,” a spokesperson for the majority leader told The Courier-Journal.
Rep. John Yarmuth, the lone Congressional Democrat from Kentucky who also chairs the powerful House Budget Committee, slammed Trump’s national emergency declaration outright.
"Congress gave the President the authority to declare genuine national emergencies, not to misuse this power to create a slush fund for a floundering campaign promise," he said in a statement. "The House has not ceded, and we will not cede, our Constitutional power of the purse. We will act to protect it."