Just a few hours after tweeting he was seriously thinking about a veto of the spending bill that congress had finally passed around 1 AM Friday, President Donald Trump held a press conference to sign the bill, staving off another government shutdown.
“I will never sign another bill like this again, Trump said, scowling at the 2,000-plus page document. “Nobody has read it.”
“No one has been able to read it. You tell me who can read that quickly?!” Trump growled. “It takes time to read it.”
“It’s only hours old,” Trump continued to complain. “People don’t know what’s in it.”
Trump said he decided against a veto for the sake of the military.
“As a matter of national security I signed this omnibus bill,” POTUS said, adding that “there are a lot of things I’m unhappy about” in the bill.
He blasted its $1.3T price tag which he called “the second largest ever,” adding, “Obama signed one even larger, which I’m sure he wasn’t happy with ether.”
The pricetag is the fault of Democrats, he insisted. “It became so big because we needed to take care of our military, and because Democrats who don’t believe in that, and added things to get their votes.”
“My highest duty is to keep America safe. Nothing is more important,” Trump said, claiming the bill reverses military spending cuts of past presidents.
Trump painted a picture in which he tried in vain “to explain to [Democrats] the military is for everybody. We have tremendous opposition to what will be the strongest military we have ever had,” he gloated.
On his border wall, Trump said he was not happy he got only $1.6B, “but it does start the wall and we will make the $1.6B go very very far.
He also had a message for DACA recipients: The Republicans are with you. They want to get the situations taken care of. The Democrats fought us every single inch of the way. They did not want DACA in this bill. And, as you know, DACA also is tied to the wall for the major funding.:
Democrats, he added, “are using you for their own purposes.”
Trump took just two questions as he was exiting the room during what he had said would be a press conference. Asked about that morning tweet, Trump insisted it was not a stunt and that he had looked “very seriously at a veto” but “the incredible gains we have been able to make for the military over-rode any of our thinking’ about a veto.
Trump had kicked off his Friday festivities with a veto threat tweet that proved to be brilliant counterprogramming for the morning’s news cycle chatter about Anderson Cooper’s interview with former Playboy bunny Karen McDougal. McDougal claims she had a months long affair with Trump about a decade ago and got duped into a catch-and-kill deal for exclusive right to her story with National Enquirer parent American Media Inc.
As Trump had hoped, his tweet gave news operations – still not familiar with the basics of TV counterprogramming – the vapors. Might also have caused a flutter for House Speaker Paul Ryan who had confidently boasted Trump “supports this bill…no two ways about it.”
Trump tweet threat, he said, was based on “the fact that the 800,000 DACA recipients have been totally abandoned” which he insisted was the work of Democrats, saying they were “not even mentioned in Bill. Trump also complained the bill does not fully fund “the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense. Trump had vowed Mexico would pay for “the BORDER WALL” when campaigning.
Trump’s tweet immediately pushed all McDougal talk to the back burner. That tweet: