“I think the President is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they went out to try and spike the football and make him look bad,” Mulvaney said, explaining Trump’s tweet. “I think what you heard this morning was his sense of frustration over how he’s getting mistreated by the Democrats on this bipartisan piece of legislation.”
“They’re walking around trying to make it look like they pulled one over fast on the President. I just won’t stand for it, because it’s not true,” he said.
Mulvaney ticked off what he claimed were White House wins in the budget deal — from reinstating a school choice program in Washington to funding for border security. Kelly, meanwhile, condemned Democrats for being pleased with their blocking of border wall funding.
“They’re rejoicing in the fact that that wall will be slower to be built and consequently our southwest border under less control than it could be,” Kelly said.
The two senior administration officials who spoke to CNN on Tuesday said Trump and Kelly had planned to address Democratic claims head on at the signing of the omnibus bill — particularly with regard to the border wall — but some of Trump’s senior advisers outside the communications shop pushed for Mulvaney and Kelly to make the case Tuesday instead.
The White House’s boiling frustrations with Democrats’ claims was apparent in the last 24 hours.
Mulvaney rounded up reporters in the briefing room on short notice late Monday afternoon and then again during a brief phone call with reporters Tuesday morning.
After Trump lodged some of his complaints on Twitter and in the Rose Garden late Tuesday morning, Mulvaney and Kelly were dispatched to the briefing room in lieu of White House press secretary Sean Spicer.