Remaining today’s big national politics story and as we noted in today’s Get More Smarter, President Donald Trump is diverting billions in defense construction dollars to fund his pet project wall along the southern U.S. border–and breaking a promise that Sen. Cory Gardner had made to Colorado voters last March, the diversion of funds includes millions earmarked for Air Force facility construction in Colorado Springs. AP via KRCC Public Radio:
The Pentagon is diverting $8 million in construction money from Peterson Air Force Base to help pay for fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The military said Wednesday a planned space control facility at Peterson is among 127 projects that will be delayed or eliminated to shift $3.6 billion to the border barrier sought by President Donald Trump…
The diversion of funds comes after Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner was assured by the Trump administration earlier this year that no 2019 fiscal year money would be diverted from the state’s military bases, according to the Colorado Sun. The site reported though, that the $8 million comes from 2018 fiscal funds.
Whether the money comes from 2018 or 2019 funds is irrelevant–it’s still a wholesale violation of Gardner’s pledge that existing money earmarked for Colorado projects would not be diverted to fund Trump’s border wall, after Gardner’s defense of Trump over the national emergency giving Trump the power to divert those funds earned Gardner the Denver Post’s un-endorsement. Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet was unequivocal in his statement blasting Trump for this “grossly irresponsible” decision:
President Trump’s selfish decision to raid military construction funding is a new low in his ridiculous pursuit of a campaign promise. These projects, including the Space Control Facility at Peterson Air Force Base, were identified by the Department of Defense and the Trump Administration as critical to our military readiness. Taking money from operational priorities to pay for a wasteful and ineffective wall is grossly irresponsible and undermines our national security. [Pols emphasis]
Sen. Cory Gardner, on the other hand, is in a much more difficult position politically, being the one who vouched for the Trump administration that local projects wouldn’t be affected. But now that the game is up, we see Gardner reverting to form:
— Justin Wingerter (@JustinWingerter) September 5, 2019
The fact is that Gardner’s failure on this issue runs much deeper than just one broken promise. After years of intransigence on immigration, in 2017 Gardner actually agreed with Democrats that Trump’s wall was not a good idea, and said he opposed President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Then when Trump went ahead anyway, Gardner trumpeted the false promise that no Colorado projects would be affected by the “emergency” diversion of billions of dollars for the wall, and refused to vote against the national emergency. At long last, with all of these failures compounded, the only thing left for Gardner to do now is blame Democrats for his own powerlessness, which looks ridiculous–because he cannot do the one thing he claims to be ready to do any moment except for the present moment, stand up to President Trump.
Everybody knows it now. Nobody expects it to change. It’s why Gardner is politically a dead man walking.
And there will be many more broken promises before the end.