President Donald Trump on Friday sent a shockwave through Washington with a surprise tweet threatening to veto the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress.
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"I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats," Trump tweeted this morning, adding, "the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded."
I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2018
A White House official told ABC News less than an hour before the president’s tweet the staff fully expected Trump to sign the bill before departing for Mar a Lago later in the afternoon.
The tweet openly contradicted two days worth of on-the-record comments from officials in the White House, ranging from the press secretary to the vice president, that defended the omnibus as a "win" for the American people.
"With $1.6 billion included in the spending bill that arrives on President Trump's desk tomorrow, we’re going to start to build that wall," Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, Thursday. "We're doing it."
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, even held a briefing Thursday. The two mounted a full defense against a building narrative that the bill fell short of delivering on the president's promises.
"Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes," Mulvaney said. "Why? Because it funds his priorities. We've talked for the last, I don't know, three, four, five, six months about trying to get the president's priorities funded, and this omnibus bill does that.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in a swift reply to Trump's tweet encouraged him to veto the spending bill, saying “please do.”
Please do, Mr. President. I am just down the street and will bring you a pen. The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible. https://t.co/np7BmP1AkB— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) March 23, 2018
"I am just down the street and will bring you a pen," Corker wrote. "The spending levels without any offsets are grotesque, throwing all of our children under the bus. Totally irresponsible."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also reacted to Trump's tweet, going as far as to call the omnibus bill a "sad excuse for legislation."
"I agree @realDonaldTrump should veto this sad excuse for legislation because," he tweeted, adding, "it’s $1.3 trillion in spending that (almost) no one read."
The Senate voted 65 to 32 to pass the spending package, averting another government shutdown. The House approved its version Thursday in a 256 to 167 vote.
Government funding expires at midnight.