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Pro-Donald Trump PAC ad misleads about Ron DeSantis’ stance on border wall
If Your Time is short
While in Congress, Ron DeSantis voted against a 2018 appropriations bill that included funding for fencing along the southern U.S. border. He opposed the way the bill was introduced, not the funding for the wall.
In 2017, DeSantis voted for a bill that would provide the same amount of funding to construct border barriers. He later voted for a bill requiring the Department of Homeland Security to build barriers along the border, and co-sponsored a bill to fund construction of the wall.
Since becoming Florida’s governor, DeSantis has continued to express support for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign, intensifying a feud with another contender for the Republican nomination— former President Donald Trump.
In a new ad titled, "Obviously," a pro-Trump political action committee, MAGA Inc., goes through a timeline from 2016 to 2018, comparing the actions of both candidates — Trump in the presidency and DeSantis in Congress.
"2018: Trump is building a wall, securing the border, fighting the invasion," the narrator says. "While Ron DeSantis is voting against funding for Trump’s wall."
On screen, the ad cites a March 22, 2018, appropriations bill vote. When we reached out to MAGA Inc., it again pointed PolitiFact to that vote as evidence for its statement.
DeSantis did vote against that bill, but the ad paints a misleading picture about what that bill entailed and about DeSantis’ stance on a border barrier. A year earlier, DeSantis had voted in favor of funding to build additional barriers along the southern U.S. border.
In 2017 and 2018, DeSantis voted in favor of building border barriers twice and co-sponsored a third bill to fund them. He voted once against a bill that included funding for the wall.
In April 2017, DeSantis and 14 other congressional Republicans co-sponsored a bill that would have used money forfeited by drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman for border security, including barrier building on the southern border. The bill did not reach the floor for a vote.
In July 2017, DeSantis voted in favor of the Make America Secure Appropriations Act of 2018. This bill provided nearly $1.6 billion in funding to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for construction and improvements of border barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The bill passed the House, 235-192, but did not reach the Senate.
The vote MAGA Inc. cites is from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. As part of a $1.3 trillion spending package, the bill also allocated nearly $1.6 billion for border barriers, including $38 million for barrier planning and design and $196 million to acquire and deploy border security technology. The bill passed 256-167.
Trump said at the time that he had misgivings about it and considered a veto. But he signed it into law in March 2018, though he complained that the legislation did not include what he believed to be sufficient funding for the wall.
DeSantis and 89 other Republicans voted against this bill. DeSantis said then that he opposed the bill because "nobody had time to read it, much less understand it." He did not say he opposed funding for the border wall.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that DeSantis said the bill had been "drafted by a handful of members and staffers behind closed doors without the input of rank-and-file members," and had been "publicly available for less than 17 hours."
DeSantis said, "Stuffing more than $1.3 trillion in spending and a number of unrelated policy issues into a single, mammoth bill and ramming it through without any time for scrutiny shows that Congress has hit rock bottom."
Trump echoed DeSantis’ sentiment at the time.
In June 2018, a few months after the appropriations bill vote, DeSantis again voted in favor of a bill that directed the Department of Homeland Security secretary to deploy physical barriers and technology to prevent people from illegally crossing southern border. This Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 failed in a 193-231 vote.
Beyond DeSantis’ time in Congress, he has continued to support building barriers along the southern border.
During his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, DeSantis launched an ad in which he teaches his daughter to "build the wall" as she stacks blocks. The ad also touted Trump’s endorsement of DeSantis for governor.
During his 2024 presidential campaign launch, DeSantis reiterated his plans to build a wall.
"We will construct the border wall," he said during a May 24 Fox News interview. "I think it's too big of a border to only rely on personnel. You need to have that physical wall."
An ad from MAGA Inc. claimed DeSantis "voted against the wall."
The ad cited DeSantis’ 2018 vote against an appropriations bill that included funding for fencing along the southern border. At the time, DeSantis complained that the bill had been pushed through without enough time for review. He did not say his opposition was related to funding for border barriers.
Less than a year before, DeSantis voted for a bill that would provide the same amount of funding toward the construction of border barriers. He later voted for a bill requiring the Department of Homeland Security to build barriers along the border, and co-sponsored a bill to fund construction of the wall.
After his congressional tenure, DeSantis continued to express support for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The claim contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.
MAGA Inc., Obviously, May 24, 2023
United States House of Representatives, Roll Call 127 | Bill Number: H. R. 1625, March 22, 2018
Congress, H.R.2186 - EL CHAPO Act, April 27, 2017
United States House of Representatives, Roll Call 435 | Bill Number: H. R. 3219, July 27, 2017
U.S. Congress, H.R.3219 - Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018, July 13, 2017
The New York Times, House Approves Spending Package, Border Wall and All, July 27, 2017
U.S. Congress, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, March 23, 2018
PolitiFact, Donald Trump falsely claims Democrats 'oppose any effort to secure our border', Oct. 30, 2018
Twitter, Donald J. Trump, March 23, 2018
Orlando Sentinel, Central Florida U.S. representatives wildly split over $1.3 trillion spending bill — even within parties, March 22, 2018
CNN, Trump signs spending bill, blasts Congress, March 23, 2018
United States House of Representatives, Roll Call 282 | Bill Number: H. R. 4760, June 21, 2018
U.S. Congress, H. R. 4760, Jan. 10, 2018
National Immigration Forum, Bill Analysis: Securing America’s Future Act, Jan. 19, 2018
PolitiFact, Ron DeSantis’ once-slim immigration agenda is now a focal point of his 2024 presidential bid, May 24, 2023
The Hill, Florida GOP candidate teaches child to ‘build the wall’ with blocks in new ad, July 30, 2018
Email exchange, MAGA Inc. spokesperson, May 25, 2023
Email exchange, Never Back Down spokesperson, May 26, 2023
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Pro-Donald Trump PAC ad misleads about Ron DeSantis’ stance on border wall
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