The Phoenix Flyer

Trump taking money from storm-damaged FL & Puerto Rico military bases to pay for border wall

By: - September 5, 2019 12:04 pm

President Donald Trump at Tyndall Air Force Base in May 2019 Source: YouTube

Florida Democrats slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to shift $3.6 billion away from military construction projects to build a portion of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Among the projects losing the funding is $17 million for a “crash and rescue” facility at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City. Hurricane Michael damaged the base in 2018 and Trump pledged that it would be rebuilt “better than ever” after visiting Tyndall in May.

However, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Wednesday the Tyndall project was part of the $3.6 billion in military construction projects that will be put on hold while the money is shifted to pay for 175 miles of border wall. Trump failed to get the wall funding from Congress and has opted to use his executive power to shift the military money to the wall.

Broward County Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz decried Trump’s decision to take money away from the military project to fund “his xenophobic border wall boondoggle.”

“The Trump administration’s decision to steal funding for vital U.S. military projects, including a critical project in Florida, is an abusive end run around Congress that threatens our national security and will harm the morale and quality of life of our troops,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

“Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base is still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, especially after having to wait for months for Republicans to approve a disaster supplemental to support reconstruction,” she said. “Now the Trump administration is stealing $17 million in appropriated funding for a fire and crash rescue station at Tyndall AFB. I visited Tyndall, and I saw the damage that still exists there. This theft of funding for an essential life-safety project adds insult to injury for our state and the service members living and working there.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo noted Trump’s decision will also swipe more than $400 million from military projects in Puerto Rico, which Hurricane Maria damaged in 2017.

“The American people deserve a president willing to help them in times of need to put our security first, but unfortunately what we are seeing in the White House is a selfish man looking to fulfill his empty campaign promises and run our country as his own business,” Rizzo said in a statement.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Florida was spared “the brunt of Hurricane Dorian – only to be whacked by our own president.”

“Our military families deserve better. Floridians deserve better. Americans deserve better,” Fried said in a statement.

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Lloyd Dunkelberger
Lloyd Dunkelberger

Lloyd Dunkelberger has been covering Florida government for over three decades. He’s reported and edited in Tallahassee for the New York Times Regional Newspapers group, Florida Politics, and the News Service of Florida. He grew up in Jacksonville and Palm Beach County and got his journalism degree at the University of Florida.