We all remember it. That hot, glorious day in June 2015 when billionaire real estate developer and reality TV host Donald Trump grandly descended that Trump Tower escalator and announced the beginning of his history-making journey to the most powerful office in the world.
"I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively,” Trump told the cheering crowd. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall."
Sure, maybe a few of us looked quizzically at our television screens and wondered how exactly a President Trump would make Mexico “pay for that wall,” but that wasn’t the point. For the first time in a long time, a politician was speaking common sense to an issue that has long plagued our country by proposing a simple, cost-effective solution to the mostly uncontrolled wave of illegal immigrants pouring across our borders seemingly at will.
Could it be done? Of course! This is still America, the country that build the Empire State Building in a little more than a year. Would it be done? Or the real question - why hasn’t it been done yet? Reagan and Bush I didn’t have the vision or the foreknowledge about how big a problem it would become. Although George W. Bush had six years of a GOP Congress, he barely lifted a finger because “compassionate conservatism” always meant letting the Third World enter America en masse, not protecting the likes of Mollie Tibbetts. In 2016 we knew squishies like Jeb Bush and John Kasich weren’t about to do anything substantive to deal with the problem, so we elected Donald Trump.
And now, almost two years in, we still don’t have a wall - not because President Trump doesn’t want to do it, but rather because the will doesn’t exist in Congress.
Which brings up the inevitable question - Why should the president need to wait on a recalcitrant Congress?
The obvious answer is - he shouldn’t! Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said as much when she gave some much-needed advice to those on both sides of the aisle who say he lacks the authority as chief executive — “pull out your pocket Constitution.”
“If you are writing the president’s speech tonight, what would you have him say?” Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Coulter last Thursday night.
“I would say, someone just reminded me that I am president, and I don’t need Congress to build the wall, so I think I’m just going to start,” responded Coulter.
Carlson then asked Coulter what she would say to those who say “you need Congress to build the wall.”
“Pull out your pocket Constitution and see who the commander in chief is, who has all the executive branch power in his hands,” said Coulter. “He has the Department of Defense. He has Homeland Security. I mean, if we were suddenly attacked by China, he wouldn’t sit around — or North Korea — he wouldn’t sit around saying ‘Well, I would like to respond, but Congress just will not write that bill.’ He’d say ‘No, I am the commander in chief, I have the power to an defend against an invasion. We’re being invaded.'”
Coulter added that other than entitlements, “90 percent of all federal money is in the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and this [border security] is both homeland security and defense.”
The conservative author pointed out the “discretionary funds” that would be much better spent on something like actually protecting our nation than sending “off bombs to make Boeing even richer than they already are for no purpose at all.”
“Of course you can build a wall,” she added. “That is most of what the military did for the first 100 years. We weren’t going around remaking the rest of the world. It was the military building forts on our border. Defending American borders is the number one job of the commander in chief.”
It was such an obvious solution to such a difficult problem that, while watching, I found myself hoping that President Trump, as he sometimes does, was watching Carlson’s show as well.
“We have two options,” the president told Daily Mail.com. “We have military, we have homeland security.”
Boom! There it was.
While Trump said he would prefer to fund the approximately $25 billion needed for the wall “the old-fashioned way — get it from Congress,” he said that he has “other options if I have to.”
Daily Mail reported that, while President Trump is unlikely to get the funding from Congress given recalcitrant Republicans and Democrat obstruction, “the possibility of diverting Pentagon funding and assets to build a border wall is a hole card the president is holding but has never directly acknowledged before.”
And apparently it wouldn’t even be all that difficult. In August, two Defense Department officials told Daily Mail that the task could be completed by the Army Corps of Engineers. “They build levees that hold back massive walls of water,” said one official. “They can build one to hold back drugs and human traffickers.”
So there you have it. How he actually came to the information is just an educated guess, of course, but if President Trump decides to use the tool he’s now publicly aware of to accomplish his greatest campaign promise, it would be a high water mark for this or any other presidency.
The significance of a border wall doesn’t just speak to a key campaign promise kept, it also would drive a stake through the heart of open-borders advocates just counting down the clock until one of their own can again occupy the Oval Office and easily let loose the spigots of unlimited illegal immigration once again. For without a physical barrier, there’s nothing to stop it.
But with such a barrier firmly in place, Trump would forever cement his legacy as one of America’s greatest presidents.
And best of all, he would give liberals something to REALLY cry about.