President Donald Trump is having second thoughts about supporting the omnibus spending deal that was reached Wednesday morning, according to a source familiar with the president’s thinking.
The source also said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) plans to go to the White House on Wednesday afternoon to try to sell the president on the GOP wins in the $1.3 trillion government funding bill and assure him that it’s a good deal for Republicans.
Trump is apparently most upset about the spending deal’s lack of funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The deal, which would fund the government until October, would provide $1.6 billion for border funding but only $641 million for a wall.
Congressional leaders announced the omnibus deal Wednesday after months of negotiating over spending levels and specific line-items. The omnibus was expected to pass both chambers in the next couple of days, barring any unforeseen hiccups, but the president pulling back his support could put Republicans in a tough spot. For one, they might not be able to put up enough votes to pass the bill in either chamber. And if Trump truly opposed the bill, he could veto the legislation and send the government into a shutdown.
The government is currently funded through Friday.
A senior GOP aide told HuffPost that the strongest argument Republicans have in convincing Trump is that he would draw 100 percent of the blame for a shutdown if he backed out of the omnibus deal now.
“It is no wonder why Tillerson called Trump what he called him,” the GOP source said, referring to reports that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron.”
Some of Trump’s political advisers, though, see wall construction as critical to Trump’s survival. He promised a wall along the Mexican border so many times over the course of his presidential campaign that failing to deliver would be disastrous, they said ― first in the November midterms, and then in the president’s re-election campaign.
They say starting construction on a border wall could mean the difference between losing 20 House seats this year and losing 50.
Base voters have been patient so far ― but, the thinking goes, that could evaporate instantly if Trump and the Republican-run Congress pass a spending bill of well over $1 trillion that does not make good on one of the president’s top promises.
This issue has been deemed so important that Trump has been advised to veto the spending bill if it doesn’t pay for wall construction.
Neither Ryan’s office nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment.
However, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement acknowledging that Trump had been speaking with both Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
“The president and the leaders discussed their support for the bill, which includes more funds to rebuild the military, such as the largest pay raise for our troops in a decade, more than 100 miles of new construction for the border wall and other key domestic priorities, like combating the opioid crisis and rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure,” Sanders wrote.
This article has been updated with comment from Sanders and with additional information about Trump’s advisers.
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