A White House ceremony to present the U.S. Air Force Academy football team with the commander in chief’s trophy veered into political territory Tuesday, as President Trump used the opportunity to extol a spending bill he complained about on Twitter just hours earlier.
Soon after he welcomed several members of Congress to the ceremony, asking them to stand as he announced their names, Trump waded into legislative affairs.
“How’s health care coming, folks? How’s it doing, all right? We’re moving along? All right. I think it’s time now, right?”
Gesturing to the Fighting Falcons, Trump said, “They know it’s time.”
“This week, our Republican team had its own victory, under the radar,” Trump continued, alluding to the budget deal.
“And we didn’t do any touting like the Democrats did, by the way.”
Congressional leaders agreed Sunday on a budget that will fund the government through September, averting a government shutdown if the bill passes. The White House has signaled that Trump will sign it.
Despite a GOP majority in both houses of Congress and a Republican in the White House, the budget was widely seen as a win for Democrats. Among other things, the minority party avoided gutting Obamacare and Planned Parenthood funding.
And although the bill does increase defense spending, one of Trump’s priorities, most of the proposed cuts to nonmilitary spending were rejected. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on Tuesday, “I think Democrats cleaned our clock,” adding he was unsure if he would vote in favor of the bill.
Still, Trump continued on with his trademark confidence.
“To top that, we achieved the single-largest increase in border security funding in 10 years,” Trump continued. “So we have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years. The Democrats didn’t tell you that, they forgot. In their notes, they forgot to tell you that.”
“With enough money to make a down payment on the border wall,” Trump added, notably to no applause from the otherwise friendly audience. While the budget does include increased border security funding, it does not include money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, another Trump signature campaign promise.
Still, Trump assured the crowd, “This is what winning looks like.”
Turning to the football team, ostensibly the focus of the day, he added, “Something that you folks really know a lot about.”
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