Billing it as "PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S BORDER SECURITY VICTORY," the White House issued a press release touting the appropriations bill as part of that victory and his declaration of a national emergency at the border as the other. That followed a press conference during which the President said conservative voices on Fox News and elsewhere weren't driving his border policy.
The White House said that it had identified $8.1 billion for the wall from other programs, setting up a fight with Congress, which did not appropriate the money for that purpose.
The White House said $601 million will come from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, up to $3.6 billion from Department of Defense construction projects and up to $2.5 billion from DOD funds for "Support for Counter Drug Activities." Ironically, the President said one of the reasons wall funding was needed was to counter drug activities.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) called the move "another stunt" from the President and "a desperate attempt to, once again, pander to his small political base and Fox News personalities."
Fox News personalities actually became part of the story Friday (Feb. 15) at the news conference announcing the border emergency action.
The President was asked to what degree outside voices shaped his political views on the issue. He said Fox's commentator Sean Hannity has been a "terrific, terrific supporter," but that if he changed his views "he wouldn't be with me."
He called conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh a "great, great guy" with "one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world." He said he doesn't speak to Ann Coulter, or hasn't in over a year. He says he doesn't have anything against her, just doesn't have the time. He did say he liked her because she had predicted he was going to win.
He said Tucker Carlson had been "great," and even said there were a couple people at CNN he liked, a network only minutes later called fake news with a political agenda after Jim Acosta tried to fact check the President's assertions about a border crisis on the fly and asked about charges the President was concocting the crisis for political purposes.