We weren't sure if Trump would sign the omnibus spending bill that no one read on Friday because he threatened to veto it on Twitter that morning, but the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post report that Trump's staff also had no idea if he would sign it or not.
Although Trump initially said he would sign it, and although he privately promised Speaker Paul Ryan that he would sign it, Trump considered backing out at the last minute for reasons you may have guessed.
Trump reportedly soured on the bill after watching Fox News.
The president’s unhappiness was fueled Friday morning, as it often is, with Trump in the residence watching “Fox and Friends.” For days, he heard that Republicans were getting rolled in the spending negotiations, and that message was now being delivered by his favorite morning show.
“This is a swamp budget, this is a Mitch McConnell special, this is a dysfunctional Senate,” Fox News personality Pete Hegseth vented, referring to the Senate majority leader. “There’s no wall. Ultimately, the Democrats controlled the process in the Senate. That’s why Chuck Schumer was so happy.”
Trump had confided to several advisers that he was tired of watching Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) crow on TV — or hearing that he was being snookered by Democrats. He gets particularly agitated over Schumer’s statements, two of these people said.
While threats and bluster from the White House have become normal, the Wall Street Journal reports that Trump's veto threat caught a lot of lawmakers off guard because the White House signed off on the spending bill at every step of the process.
As Congress negotiated the bill [last] week, White House aides signed off on crucial decisions, right up to the bill’s passage, according to a GOP congressional aide. Mr. Trump’s public criticism of the bill on Friday bristled many lawmakers, the aide said, because the White House had signed off on it.
As I said last week, it may be for the best if Republicans don't read anything.
In this specific case, it seems fairly clear that the primary reason we did not have a government shutdown is because Trump waited too long to object. He waited until literally 30 minutes before he signed the bill to decide if he would. And Trump's ignorance and obsession with Fox News delayed his objection, but so did the last-minute release of the bill.
That was intentional.
It was not an accident that Republican leaders revealed and passed the bill in less than 24 hours. They did that because the only way it would pass is if Republicans didn't have time to fully consider it. By the time the message that Democrats got most of what they wanted caught on, it was already too late; a government shutdown was less than 12 hours away.
And why would Speaker Ryan quickly move and pass a bill that is more favorable to Democrats than Republicans?
Because doing so was the only way to avoid the third shutdown of the calendar year. He did so for the same reasons that Speaker John Boehner did on multiple occasions. Congressional Democrats are the only party that is actually interested in governing and the only reliable votes for keeping the government running. Attempting to pass a radical funding bill with only Republican votes would have produced a bill that is unacceptable to the Senate and probably unacceptable to many midterm voters. It would have produced a shutdown.
So, it is true that Trump got "snookered by Democrats," but it's also true that there was no other choice except another shutdown.
The Republican party is not a governing party. Even when they control the whole government, they still need Democrats to bail them out.