ANNISTON STAR EDITORIAL BOARD

“I was with you all the way Alabama. The Fake News Media was not!”

Those were the words tweeted by President Trump on Thursday in response to a story that shouldn’t have been a story — at least not a story that kept getting new life a week after it initially broke.

After being wrong about forecasts predicting Hurricane Dorian would impact Alabama, the president produced during a press conference a Sharpie-doctored weather map that was made to look like Alabama was included in the storm’s path.

President Trump wanted us to know that he was fully prepared to do whatever necessary to ensure Alabama’s wellbeing.

Ironically, as the last remnants of that storyline were playing out, news was unfolding about the president’s latest efforts to build a border wall and how those plans will impact Alabama — specifically Anniston, Alabama.

A Defense Department report released last week shows that 127 Pentagon projects will be postponed and redirected to wall funding. Among the delayed projects is construction of a $5.2 million maintenance facility at Anniston Army Depot, according to an article by The Star’s Tim Lockette.

A locomotive repair facility in Utah is being transferred to Anniston, and the maintenance facility would be built to make room to accommodate the locomotive facility, which will bring with it 25 additional jobs.

President Trump signed an executive order earlier this year shifting money from military construction projects to funding wall construction after Congress didn’t give him $5.6 billion he requested for the wall.

The president campaigned in 2016 on building a wall and promised that Mexico would pay for it. We’re in year three of his presidency and there’s no wall, and that will become a damaging talking point during the campaign next year if he can’t show any progress.

That’s why there’s a sense of urgency. This isn’t as much about protecting Americans as it is getting re-elected.

Many more people have been killed in recent years by white male Americans than illegal immigrants from Mexico. A real desire to protect Americans would mean taking the lead on preventing mass shootings in malls and schools, and places of work and worship. 

“I was with you all the way Alabama.”

Many more Alabamians suffer from lack of health coverage and the inability to access emergency care from rural areas than those who suffer from any ill-effects of living or working near an illegal immigrant. Truly protecting Alabamians would involve pushing for the expansion of Medicaid to guarantee coverage for tens of thousands of residents and prevent more closings of rural hospitals.

3rd District Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, gave a statement committing to working to restore the lost funding for Anniston Army Depot. The larger context, though, is that Rogers is no longer in the House majority. Any efforts by Rogers to soften the impact of Trump’s decision to pull funding from Alabama will certainly be rebuffed by the Democrat majority in the House.

It’s disappointing that Rogers would side with building the wall in Texas over building a maintenance facility in Anniston. Does he think any 25 people in his district would rather have a wall than a job?

Alabama and Mexico do not share a border. It’s one thing to support the president. It’s another thing to support the wall (something that might tangentially impact us) over supporting jobs for your constituents (something that directly impacts us).

If Trump is with Trump all the way, and Rogers is with Trump all the way, who’s with Anniston all the way?

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