Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The president is considering using disaster relief funds, some of which were set aside to help Houston avoid the kind of flooding it experienced in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey, in order to build a wall at the southern U.S. border. (Photo: National Guard/Flickr/cc)

To Fund 'White Supremacist Vanity Project,' Trump Eyes Relief Funds Earmarked for Actual Disasters

"Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won't fall for it."

Julia Conley

While scientists warn that the climate crisis will continue to cause increasingly damaging weather events and disasters in U.S. communities, President Donald Trump made clear Friday his focus on a separate, invented "crisis" as he ordered officials to consider redirecting billions of dollars in disaster relief funds to pay for a wall at the southern U.S. border.

According to the Associated Press, the White House asked the Army Corps of Engineers to examine its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds, to determine how much money it could spend to help build the wall Trump promised his supporters.

The emergency funds had been set aside for California in the wake of devastating wildfires that tore through 1.8 million acres in the state this year, as well as Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida as they continue to recover from 2017 and 2018's hurricanes and prepare for similar storms in the coming years.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) was among those who condemned the reports of Trump's plans.

"Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won't fall for it," said Velazquez in a statement. "My Democratic colleagues in Congress and I will fight such a move with every ounce of energy we have."

According to the Houston Chronicle, the report of Trump's plans left city and county officials "scrambling to figure out how local flood control plans would be affected" by the White House proposal, a year and a half after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Houston.

Trump indicated Thursday during a trip to the border that he was planning to declare a national emergency in order to free up funds to build the wall, which is supported by only 41 percent of Americans, according to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll. Democrats in Congress have refused to approve a spending bill that includes the $5.7 billion Trump has demanded for the wall. 

As the president toyed with the idea of taking badly-needed funds to pay for the effects of the climate crisis—which he has denied exists—and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Democrats' attempts to take up legislation to reopen the government, 800,000 Americans were continued to cope with the various and negative impacts of the shutdown. On Friday, those government employees on furlough or working without pay received no paycheck even as hundreds of thousands of them continue to report for work.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

The request from healthcare providers comes after a Florida Republican filed a copycat bill and advocacy groups called on Congress to affirm the right to abortion nationwide.

Jessica Corbett ·


As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as 'Height of Absurdity'

"Spending $780 billion on weapons and war while our communities starve, while the climate crisis worsens, while a pandemic that has killed millions and affected countless more rages on, is a national shame."

Brett Wilkins ·


'This Is Big': House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

The vote, said Rep. Ro Khanna, "sent a clear message to the Saudis: end the bombing in Yemen and lift the blockade."

Andrea Germanos ·


Praised for 'Braving the Smears,' Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

One rights group thanked Tlaib "for speaking truth to power" while being attacked "for simply insisting that Palestinians are human beings who deserve safety, security, and freedom from Israeli apartheid."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Choice Point for Humanity': Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

"This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo