President Donald Trump and his aides have sought to paint the deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown as a win for his fledgling administration, even as he publicly bemoaned the deal and called for a shutdown to fix the “mess” in Congress.
The $US1.07 trillion package does not include spending for Trump priorities, such as money for a proposed US-Mexico border wall, revoking funding for sanctuary cities, or defunding Planned Parenthood. But Trump and the administration have put on a full-court press to push back on the idea that they did not get what they wanted.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that the government “needed a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” And he tried to explain that the spending bill had to be a compromise due to the threat of a filibuster from Democrats in the Senate.
According to Politico, citing White House sources, Trump was angry that the media was portraying the deal as a win for Democrats.
To counter that narrative, the White House dispatched Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, for the daily press briefing on Tuesday for an at-times tense back and forth with reporters over the budget deal.
“They’re walking around trying to make it like they pulled one over fast on the president, and I just won’t stand for it,” Mulvaney said at the briefing.
Mulvaney argued that the bill did include provisions for a border wall, pointing to a picture of a steel wall on a monitor as proof. When asked, however, Mulvaney did not provide details on where the wall was to be built and said that the image depicted a “see-through steel wall” that would replace existing fencing along the Mexican border.
Mulvaney also held a conference call with reporters to explain how Trump won the deal, but the call was plagued with problems. According to CBS News’ Jacqueline Alemany, the call featured “crying baby, an intermittent hacking cough, and patriotic hold-music” drowning out Mulvaney. Mulvaney even said on the call, before taking questions from reporters, “This is going to be a disaster.”
But Mulvaney argued that the bill was a “huge win for the president” and tried to take Democrats to task for celebrating the bill.
The push back, according to analysts, belies a sense of frustration from Trump with the machinations of Washington.
“At its basest level, our sense is that President Trump is unhappy with the press narrative that Democrats came out on top in the recent spending negotiations and used Twitter to vent his frustrations, as he is apt to do,” Issac Boltansky and Lukas Davaz of the political research firm Compass Point wrote on Wednesday.
Greg Valliere, chief global strategist and long time Washington analyst at Horizon Analyst, said the frustration is a common theme among commanders in chief — but is exacerbated by Trump’s particular temperament.
“Like so many presidents before him, Donald Trump is stunned to discover that he cannot get his way with Congress — which will be a major narrative, we suspect, in his second hundred days,” Valliere wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.
He added: “To compound matters, most of Washington now accepts our view that Trump got taken to the cleaners in the recent budget negotiations, and that kind of criticism makes him angry.”
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