President Donald Trump, who repeatedly insisted during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border, is privately pushing the U.S. military to fund construction of his signature project.
Trump has told advisers that he was spurned in a large spending bill last week when lawmakers appropriated only $1.6 billion for the border wall. He has suggested to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and congressional leaders that the Pentagon could fund the sprawling project, citing a “national security” risk.
After floating the notion to several advisers last week, Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that the military should pay for the wall, according to three people familiar with the meeting last Wednesday in the White House residence. Ryan offered little reaction to the idea, these people said, but senior Capitol Hill officials later said it was an unlikely prospect.
Trump’s pursuit of defense dollars to finance the U.S.-Mexico border wall underscores his determination to fulfill a campaign promise and build the barrier despite resistance in the Republican-led Congress. The administration’s last-minute negotiations with lawmakers to secure billions more for the wall failed, and Trump grudgingly signed the spending bill Friday after a short-lived veto threat.
Four days later, Trump continued to express regret over signing the $1.3 trillion package, which funded the government and averted a shutdown, saying it was a mistake and he should have…