Or so we are told. But it sounds credible enough. Notice who rushed to convince Trump not to veto it: Pence, Short, Mattis, Ryan, and McConnell. Remember that when things start getting interesting.
Immigration seemed to frustrate Trump the most. He secured $1.6 billion for some fencing and levees on the border; it comes with strings attached and the amount fell far short of the $25 billion requested for a wall. He was also eager to blame Democrats for the failure to reach a deal to protect dreamers by coming up with an alternative to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that he ended last year.
Even Friday morning, Trump asked aides how he could still get more money for the border wall and whether some of the items that Democrats celebrated were in the bill — such as money for what are known as sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood — were really included in the package, according to people familiar with the discussions who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He was told that it was unlikely he could get more wall funding and that Democrats did secure the items they were touting. He grew angry. So, shortly before 9 a.m., Trump took to Twitter.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
Inside the White House, senior officials such as Vice President Pence, legislative director Marc Short and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis were summoned to persuade the president to sign the bill and avoid a shutdown.
Mattis stressed that the Pentagon desperately needed the funding boost — a $66 billion increase over last year’s levels — that the bill would provide. Aides told Trump it would be “historic” funding, a word that he likes to hear.
Short argued that the funding package would give the president money for immigration and infrastructure programs and that the White House had already committed to signing the bill. Trump was given a list of all the planes, submarines and other military equipment the bill would fund, a list the president would rattle off later in his hastily organized appearance in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) made his own pitch, calling the president about 30 minutes after the veto threat. Trump continued to say the bill was terrible, but Ryan again touted benefits for the military. McConnell (R-Ky.) called Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, two White House aides said, to keep tabs on the situation.