- Prominent conservatives tore into President Donald Trump Friday over his decision to sign a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill just hours after he threatened to veto it.
- The attacks represented a swift about-face from a group that typically includes some of Trump's biggest cheerleaders.
- When the president failed to follow through on his veto threat, conservatives took it doubly hard.
Some of the nation's loudest and most prominent conservative voices tore into President Donald Trump on Friday, lambasting the president over his decision to sign a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill just hours after he threatened to veto it. The attacks represented a swift about-face from a group that typically comprises some of Trump's biggest cheerleaders.
Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host, wrote on Twitter that it was a "missed opportunity" for the president. "If he loses the House, Dems will go straight to impeachment," she added.
Author and commentator Ann Coulter also warned the president that signing the bill, and thereby betraying his conservative base, could lead to his impeachment.
"I will never sign another bill like this again," Coulter quoted Trump saying during remarks about the bill. "Yeah, because you'll be impeached," Coulter added below the quote.
Coulter, whose most recent book was titled, "In Trump We Trust," also labeled Trump as "President Schumer," a reference to liberal Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
The actor and outspoken conservative James Woods also took a swipe at the president, writing: "The Democrats gave you the rope, Mr. President, and you just hanged yourself with it." He added the hashtag #ByeByeGOP, an apparent reference to the Republican majority in Congress.
At the White House on Friday, Trump tried to justify his decision to sign the bill by saying it was in the interest of national security. The measure contains billions of dollars in additional spending for the Pentagon, which Republicans sought. Yet it also has funding for discretionary domestic programs, which Democrats demanded in order to help get the bill over the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. To staunch fiscal conservatives, this combination was the worst possible outcome.
The bill Trump eventually signed also angered conservatives by maintaining funding for Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit women's health-care provider and perennial target of the right.
Anti-abortion activists had hoped the spending bill would expand the current ban on taxpayer funding of abortions, known as the Hyde Amendment, to include private insurers who received federal bailout money. They also wanted the omnibus to contain a so-called "conscience protection" clause, allowing health-care providers to refuse to perform abortions if the procedure violated their religious or moral beliefs. But neither of these was included in the final legislation.
Much of the frustration on the far right was exacerbated by Trump himself, specifically his suggestion Friday morning that he could veto the spending bill. He said the reasons he objected to the spending bill were that "800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded."
The president's tweet immediately raised hopes among prominent conservatives that Trump would veto the spending bill, and potentially even force a partial government shutdown. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was one of the lawmakers encouraged by Trump's tweet.
When the president failed to follow through on his threat, conservatives took it doubly hard. The right-wing news aggregation site the Drudge Report wasted no time hammering Trump, calling him out for a "FAKE VETO."
But it was Erick Erickson, a widely respected voice on the right, who perhaps best captured what conservatives were feeling on Friday afternoon.
The bill will keep the government funded through the end of September, when the usual spending negotiations will be made all the more sensitive by the impending midterm elections in November.