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Donald Trump will be making a significant request for border wall funds and seeking money to stand up his “Space Force” as a new branch of the military in the White House budget being released next week, an administration official said on Saturday.
As the official did so, the president was on Twitter calling the hard-right commentator Ann Coulter a “Wacky Nut Job” for questioning his success on the wall.
Coulter, previously a supporter of the president and the author of a book entitled In Trump We Trust, has turned on him over his failure to secure funding for the wall by conventional means.
Late on Saturday, after a day’s golf in Florida, the president tweeted that “Wacky Nut Job Ann Coulter … still hasn’t figured out that, despite all odds and an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight), I am winning on the Border.
“Major sections of Wall are being built and renovated, with MUCH MORE to follow shortly. Tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended (captured) at the Border and NOT allowed into our Country. With another President, millions would be pouring in. I am stopping an invasion as the Wall gets built.”
The tweets from Trump represented a harshening of rhetoric since January, during the record-breaking government shutdown over his demands for a wall. Then, the president mused that Coulter might have turned against him because he did not return her calls. On Saturday, Coulter did not immediately return his tweet.
The official who spoke anonymously about the budget, to the Associated Press, said the White House would propose serious cuts in safety net programs used by many Americans and other non-defense accounts. That will probably trigger a showdown with Congress.
It is unclear how much more money the president will seek to build the wall on the border with Mexico. The request is coming on top of the $8.1bn Trump already has access to, which includes some $3.6bn he has trying to shift from military accounts after declaring a national emergency. Trump invoked the emergency declaration last month after Congress denied his request for $5.7bn. Instead, Congress approved nearly $1.4bn for the border barriers, far less than he wanted.
The president’s Republican allies in the Senate, uneasy over the emergency declaration, are poised next week to debate terminating it. Some view it as an overreach of executive power. Congress appears to have enough votes to reject Trump’s declaration, but not to overturn his expected veto of their action.
Portraits of the slave-owning presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson loomed over the Resolute desk, daylight reflecting off its polished surface. Donald Trump sat in a burgundy leather chair, flanked by two of his most loyal lieutenants. Mike Pence wore a grey suit and red tie, Kirstjen Nielsen was dressed in deep blue. Press secretary Sarah Sanders rested her hand on one of two cream sofas at the centre of the Oval Office. Their expressions were grave, the atmosphere sombre.