President Trump signs spending bill “as a matter of national security”

Washington, D.C.- (NBC News) In a hastily announced news conference, President Donald Trump signed a bill to fund the government Friday “as a matter of national security,” just hours after a tweeted threat that he would veto the $1.3 trillion bill.

Speaking at the White House, Trump called the spending bill a “ridiculous situation,” while standing in the White House Diplomatic Room, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, and several Cabinet members.

“There are a lot of things I’m unhappy about in this bill,” the president said, pointing to the inclusion of unspecified items in the bill that he said were added in order to get necessary funding for the U.S. military.

“In this case, it became so big because we need to take care of our military and because Democrats, who don’t believe in that, added things that they wanted in order to get their votes,” Trump explained.

Trump said this would be the last time he would sign such a spending measure.

“I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump promised. “Nobody read it. It’s only hours old…(It’s) the second largest ever. President Obama signed one that was actually larger, which I’m sure he wasn’t too happy with either.”

Trump also demanded that the Senate end the filibuster rule, as well as allow the president a “line-item veto for all government spending bills” going forward.

The signing capped off hours of drama here in Washington with lawmakers, Capitol Hill staffers, and White House aides blindsided by the president’s single, 53-word tweet that temporarily upended the previously-agreed upon deal for government funding.

Trump’s threat prompted renewed concerns of yet another government shutdown — because the measure doesn’t adequately fund his desired border wall or protect recipients of the DACA program his administration ended.

“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 Friday morning.

 The 53-word warning contradicts assurances from high-ranking White House officials who just a day earlier had left no doubt Trump would sign the measure before the government funding deadline of Friday at midnight.

“Let’s cut right to the chase. Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes,” Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “Why? Because it funds his priorities.”

Vice President Mike Pence, at a tax policy event in New Hampshire, said the bill funds several of the administration’s priorities, including a border wall, school safety, the opioid crisis and infrastructure.

“It’s filled with one example after another that proves when it comes to President Trump, it’s promises made, promises kept,” he said.

But on Friday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said, “The tweet stands for itself.”

When asked whether the president has reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Paul Ryan about his last-minute concerns, Gidley indicated that he had nothing further to add to the president’s comment.

Within moments of Trump’s tweet, a number of other Republicans expressed support for a veto.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn, encouraged the president to follow his instinct.

“Please do, Mr. President. 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., concurred. Paul caused the government to briefly shut down in February when he filibustered a short-term spending bill under consideration at the time.

“I agree @realDonaldTrump should veto this sad excuse for legislation because it’s $1.3 trillion in spending that (almost) no one read,” he tweeted.

And the conservative House Freedom Caucus tweeted that it had sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday, urging him “to veto the omnibus over a lack of wall funding, among other issues.

Trump’s tweet came only hours after the Senate early Friday morning passed the $1.3 trillion deal that would fund federal government operations through Sept. 30 and avert what would have been the third government shutdown this year.

The Senate sent the bill, which the House approved on Thursday, to Trump for his signature after both chambers has left Washington for the Easter/Passover recess. They’re scheduled to return in two weeks.

Funding for the federal government is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Friday evening.

Trump’s veto threat is just the latest holdup for the bill, which was released Wednesday, after a days-long impasse over issues involving border security, an infrastructure project and gun-related provisions.

The bill includes a compromise on one of Trump’s top priorities: the “big, beautiful wall” he still maintains Mexico will eventually pay for, after Congress funds it first.

Instead of allocating all of the wall money that Trump had sought, the measure is slated to provide roughly $1.6 billion for physical barriers and technology along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The White House had been pushing for $25 billion over three years. The $1.6 billion amount included only $641 million for 33 miles of new border fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, not a concrete wall.

The bill would also bar federal funding to build a barrier or wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

Article originally appeared on

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content