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Trump, Pentagon Chief Had 'Initial Conversation' About Border Wall


President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes, March 13, 2018, in San Diego.

U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken with his top defense official about using military funding to build the border wall with Mexico.

“It’s been an initial conversation,” Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White said Thursday when asked if Trump had broached the subject with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

“Remember, securing Americans and securing the nation is of paramount importance to the secretary,” White said.

In this Feb. 7, 2018, photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington.
In this Feb. 7, 2018, photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington.

This past Sunday, the president tweeted, “Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich.”

He followed that with a second Tweet, saying, “Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!”

The Pentagon has not provided any details about how much military funding could be used to build the border wall, which has an estimated price tag of more than $20 billion, or what impact that would have on the U.S. military itself.

But the defense appropriations act passed by Congress tells the Pentagon where to spend its money and a change in the budget would need Congressional approval.

“That’s a bridge too far because we don’t have those details,” the Defense Department’s White told reporters Thursday. “It's been an initial conversation.”

“There’s no daylight between them (Mattis and Trump) with respect to making sure this military stays the most lethal in the world,” White added.

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