WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Tuesday the U.S. government “needs a good shutdown” this fall to fix a “mess” in the Senate, signalling on Twitter his displeasure with a bill to keep operations running. But Republican leaders and Trump himself also praised the stopgap measure as a major accomplishment and a sign of his masterful negotiating with Democrats.
On the defensive, Trump and his allies issued a flurry of contradictory statements ahead of key votes in Congress on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to keep the government at full speed through September. After advocating for a future shutdown, the president hailed the budget agreement as a boost for the military, border security and other top priorities.
“This is what winning looks like,” Trump said during a ceremony honouring the Air Force Academy football team. “Our Republican team had its own victory — under the radar,” Trump said, calling the bill “a clear win for the American people.” Late in the day, the White House said he would indeed sign the bill.
Yet Trump’s morning tweets hardly signalled a win and came after Democrats gleefully claimed victory in denying him much of his wish list despite being the minority party. They sounded a note of defeat, blaming Senate rules for a budget plan that merited closing most government operations.