The first section of Donald Trump’s hideous monument to xenophobia and ego is currently going up—right in the middle of an ecologically sensitive national monument—but The Washington Post is reporting that Trump is willing to do far more than turn an area selected for protection for its natural beauty into an eyesore. Desperate to demonstrate that he got some amount of his multi-billion-dollar picket fence completed before he has to face the bigots who put him in office, Trump authorized his aides to fast-track funds for building the barrier and to “aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules,” saying that he would pardon them of any crime.
Trump has promised his rally-chanters that he will have 500 miles to show off by Election Day, but so far all that’s been achieved is remodeling of 60 miles of existing fence. No matter how many times Trump repeats it in front of a helicopter, or what he tells the lock-her-up gaggles, or what fake videos he posts to his Twitter account, almost nothing new has been put in place. Everything is in areas where barriers already existed.
Despite declaring a “national emergency” and using extraordinary powers to steal funds that were supposed to provide military housing, schools, and hospitals, the actual installation of Trump’s “wall” has been delayed. Delayed because designs selected by Trump turned out to be unworkable; much of the land where the wall would run is in private hands; and many of Trump’s orders on the whole national uglification project were either impossible, illegal, or both.
But sources are reporting that Trump isn’t about to let things like stealing private property or violating any other law get in his way. Instead, he told his officials, “Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you.”
Which would make an excellent slogan for any lawless regime. And a very nice article of impeachment.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was established in 1937 because it represented an isolated, pristine section of the Sonoran Desert, containing unique wildlife and vegetation, along with spectacular natural beauty. How that beauty and isolation is now being treated can be glimpsed in the image at the top of the page.
But much of the land that Trump would need to cross to keep his brutal campaign promise is in private hands. That means that, despite decades of Republican chest-beating over any appropriation of private land, Trump is going to have to eminent domain the holy s#it out of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of acres to make his nightmare come true.
Meanwhile, Mark Esper, now installed as the new secretary of defense, is expected to roll over on military funding and cough up $3.6 billion that was supposed to go to infrastructure projects at bases in 26 states. Military personal will certainly understand, when they don’t have housing for their families, or schools for their kids, that the money went to something much more important—inflating Trump’s ego.
A White House official told the Post that Trump handing out promises of pardons to get his fence erected faster was just a joke. Like Greenland. Or bombing hurricanes. Or “Russia, if you’re listening.” Or … whatever else Trump has said that seems impossible to believe until he doubles down on the whole idea.
It’s funny how upset Republicans were about defending the rights of a Nevada cattle rancher who was illegally letting his cattle graze on public lands. Certainly they’ll be far more upset about government attempts to walk away with land that legitimately belongs to ranchers, and farmers, and homes, and businesses along the border. That is … unless all that talk about the horrors of eminent domain was just as hollow as every other “fundamental belief” Republicans have discarded over the last two years.