This article appeared in the February 19, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A cup of cocoa for the wall?

Gregory Bull/AP
A woman walks on the beach next to the border wall topped with razor wire in Tijuana, Mexico on Jan. 9, 2019.
David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor

By now you’ve probably heard that 16 states are suing to stop the Trump administration from building a border wall. The declaration of a national emergency, in order to bypass Congress, is unconstitutional, they argue.

But remember the saying that “all politics is local”? It turns out that “wall” politics is local too. Cities and states are looking at the wall-funding fine print. From Fort Carson, Colo., to Elgin, Fla., schools, training facilities, mess halls, and other military building projects are now on the chopping block.

In short, building a wall by redirecting $3.5 billion from the Pentagon’s construction budget could mean lost local jobs far from the border. But an ambitious 7-year-old in Austin, Texas, is offering to help fill the gap.

Benton Stevens sold cups of hot chocolate at a strip mall this weekend to “help Trump build the wall.” His stand drew cheers – and abuse. “He supports Trump because we do, and he hears how we talk...,” says Benton’s mom, who adds she’s a member of the Republican National Committee. “Call that brainwashing, but I call it parenting, because we instill our values in him,” she says. Benton reportedly raised $1,400.

But the boy faces the same challenge Trump does: He needs the legislative branch. By law, Benton needs congressional approval for the Department of Homeland Security to accept his cocoa money.

Now to our five selected stories, including why US liberals are going populist, an American surgeon’s healing role in Sudan, and a look at Armenia’s rising pro-democracy prime minister.

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This article appeared in the February 19, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 02/19 edition