After injecting some late drama and suspense into the $1.3 trillion spending bill, President Trump on Friday signed the legislation, avoiding a government shutdown by funding federal operations through September.
But at an extraordinary afternoon news conference, Trump also slammed the bill, or the process that led to it, as “ridiculous” and complained about some measures it included and some that were left out.
"There are a lot of things that I am unhappy about in this bill. There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill,” Trump said. “I say to Congress: I will never sign a bill like this again. I will never do it again. Nobody read it. It's only hours old."
Trump also called on Congress to end the need for a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and to give him a line-item veto, which the Supreme Court has ruled is unconstitutional.
Earlier on Friday, just hours after the Senate passed the omnibus spending bill overnight, Trump had tweeted that he was considering vetoing the legislation because it did not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he canceled last year, or fund his border wall with Mexico.
The tweet came after talking heads on “Fox and Friends,” known to be one of Trump’s favorite televisions shows, lambasted the spending bill on Friday morning, according to The Hill. The president “obviously turned on Fox News this morning, saw people criticizing the deal, and got mad,” an unnamed White House official told Politico.
Some fiscal conservatives, opposed to the cost of the spending bill and its effect on the national debt, urged the president to follow through on his veto threat. White House and congressional staffers, meanwhile, were blindsided by the tweet and left wondering whether Trump was serious or just venting.
The afternoon news conference made clear Trump was airing his frustrations — and he provided a long list of them. But he also went on to tout the spending he approves of, highlighting the money being appropriated for Navy ships, fighter jets, Blackhawk helicopters and Abrams tanks, as well as the increased funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
"We're very proud of many of the items that we've been able to get. We're very disappointed that in order to fund the military, we had to give up things where we consider in many cases them to be bad or them to be a waste of money,” Trump said. “But that's the way, unfortunately right now, the system works.”