Just one week after praising Congress for coming together to pass a bill that will ensure that the United States spends $2 billion a day on military spending in 2018, President Trump is now claiming that the U.S. “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East,” even though he has only helped increase that amount.
Trump took to Twitter on Friday to claim that he foresees Republicans working with Democrats “in a Bipartisan fashion” at some point. “Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start,” he wrote. “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!”
At some point, and for the good of the country, I predict we will start working with the Democrats in a Bipartisan fashion. Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start. After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2017
However, while Trump is right about the fact that the United States needs to focus on its infrastructure, and that the U.S. has wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars in the Middle East, he seems to be forgetting the fact that just days before, he was celebrating the passage of a bill that will continue the U.S. government’s tradition of wasting massive amounts of money in the Middle East.
While Trump was not as vocal about the passage of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on Twitter, he did makes a few comments before signing the legislation at the White House. He referenced an attempted attack in New York City, where a man detonated a crudely-made pipe bomb in a subway station the day before. While the man who made the device was the only one injured, Trump used it as another example of why Americans should funnel billions of tax dollars into “keeping America safe.”
“Brand-new, beautiful equipment is on its way—the best you’ve ever had by far. We make the best in the world, and you’re going to have it,” Trump bragged in true Trump-fashion. He concluded by saying, “I won’t be showing all of this to everybody, believe it or not. That’s a lot of pages. That is a lot of pages.”
Included in the $700-billion budget for the 2018 NDAA is nearly $66 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which ensures that the U.S. will continue to fuel proxy wars in nations such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The National Priority Project defined the fund as:
“The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund—sometimes referred to as war funds—is a separate pot of funding operated by the Department of Defense and the State Department, in addition to their “base” budgets (i.e., their regular peacetime budgets). Originally used to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the OCO continues to be a source of funding for the Pentagon, with a fraction of the funds going to the State Department.
Since the OCO fund has very little oversight and is not subject to the sequestration cuts that slashed every other part of the budget in 2013, many experts consider it a ‘slush fund’ for the Pentagon.”
The 2018 military budget also allocates $634 billion for the Pentagon. This was done despite the fact that a recent report on the budgets of the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, found that between the two departments, they have lost over $21 trillion in the last 17 years—enough money to pay back the U.S. National Debt.
While Trump criticized his predecessor for “foolishly” spending trillions of taxpayer dollars in the Middle East, the fact is that Trump has only upped the ante and increased military spending significantly, showing that he is only continuing what was started by the Bush and Obama Administrations. In 2018 alone, the United States’ military budget is $700 billion, which means American taxpayers will spend nearly $2 billion every day on war.