In 2016, President Trump vowed Mexico would pay for the wall. Since then, he’s pivoted to the U.S. government funding it, which has thus far been a nonstarter.
In the face of political inaction, one man has decided to tap a somewhat more enthused funding source: Trump supporters.
“If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall," Brian Kolfage wrote on the GoFundMe page. As of 11:50 a.m. Thursday, just over 1 million people raised more than $6.1 million, up more than $2 million from just a few hours earlier.
“Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn’t get his [victory],” Kolfage wrote. (Both the Senate and House are controlled by Republicans, though that changes in January.) “It’s up to Americans to help out and pitch in to get this project rolling.”
The GoFundMe campaign’s goal is $1 billion, which is the maximum amount that can be set on the crowdsourcing site. If 63 million people were to donate $80 each, as Kolfage suggests, it would raise $5.4 billion, which is the amount Trump wanted in the shutdown-stopping spending bill.
As Kolfage points out in the GoFundMe description, it's not entirely unprecedented for private citizens to fund government projects: He cites a billionaire who donated $7.5 million in 2012 to help repair the Washington Monument.
Even if the GoFundMe campaign manages to raise the full amount, there would still be a ways to go to fund the entire border wall. Estimates for the total cost to build it run from $21.6 billion to $70 billion, depending on who you ask, and then millions more every year in maintenance. That means every MAGA hat owner would have to cough up between $342 and $1,111 to get it done, plus, presumably, some sort of annual subscription.