The president also lashed out at the media, saying their coverage of his unscheduled visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday shows news outlets are “sick.” There also were indications from the president’s staff that he will not trigger another government shutdown later this week.
Asked if President Trump supports the House-crafted continuing resolution that would fund the government through Dec. 21, a senior administration official replied: “The president is expected to sign it.” Government funding expires Thursday night unless both chambers pass extension and Trump signs it.
Shortly after the aide declared Trump’s support for the measure, however, the conservative House Freedom Caucus announced its opposition. Some of the group’s members, such as Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, are close allies of the president and meet with him regularly.
“This continuing resolution is an indictment of failed Democrat leadership,” the faction’s chairman, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, said in a statement. “Shattering the budget agreement, Democrats failed to play by their own rules in not avoiding poison pills. With a new national debt price tag of $23 trillion, it’s time to stop wasting time and money on an impeachment process lacking in evidence, and instead get serious about delivering results for the American people.”
Meanwhile, during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, the president took umbrage with Pelosi for ordering a formal impeachment inquiry into his desire for the Ukrainian government to investigate U.S. Democrats.
Trump accused the California Democrat of using the probe to block his proposed trade deal with Canada and Mexico, about which she has been negotiating with his top global trade representative to assuage Democratic concerns.
“I think the woman is incompetent,” Trump said, according to a pool report. “The woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment.”
Trump’s remark, however, is at odds with Pelosi’s description of her talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The two have been working on issues related to the pact’s implementing language in an effort to assuage Democratic concerns.
The speaker told reporters Thursday an agreement on improvements to the proposed trade pact was “imminent.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Pelosi was working with Lighthizer “to advance Democrats further down a path to yes” on the trade deal, known as the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement.
“The President’s desperate attacks aside, this issue is totally separate from the ongoing impeachment inquiry,” Hammill said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, said USMCA was among the measures, along with drug pricing, voting rights and Pentagon policy legislation, that he expected would come up for floor action before Christmas.
Meantime, amid scuttlebutt in Washington that he had a major health scare — even a heart attack — on Saturday, Trump panned the media.
He called his Walter Reed visit “very routine,” adding the media is “sick.”
Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham has said the president went to the military hospital to begin his annual physical exam, which she contends he will complete next year. She pinned the norms-breaking split physical on Trump’s expected busy 2020 schedule.
Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.