By Garth Kant
WASHINGTON (WND) — Sean Spicer had two messages on Monday for conservatives worried that President Trump plans to sign a spending bill that doesn’t crack down on sanctuary cities, defund Planned Parenthood or provide money to build the border wall.
One message was a call for patience, but the other was an adamant promise.
“Make no mistake, the wall is going to be built,” the White House press secretary boldly declared.
The president has made that very clear, he added for emphasis.
What about a timetable — was building the wall no longer an emergency?
“The president wants it done as quick as possible,” assured Spicer. He cautioned there was still much prep work to be done, as the Department of Homeland Security reviewed the projected costs and evaluated potential technologies.
Spicer was asked specifically by John Roberts of Fox News: “What do you say to conservatives who feel like they didn’t get a whole lot out of the spending bill?”
“There was no money for the wall, no cuts to sanctuary cities, funding for Planned Parenthood was maintained… what do you say to those conservatives?”
Spicer counseled patience but also painted the stop-gap spending bill, needed to keep the government funded through September, as actually a victory.
The mainstream media have portrayed the spending bill as a huge loss for Trump, as typified by a Washington Post story headlined, “Eight ways Trump got rolled in his first budget negotiation.”
The White House spokesman sought to assure conservatives that wasn’t that the case, saying, “I think the president got a lot out of this bill. Specifically, $21 million to help rebuild the military,” and $1.5 billion for border security, which he called significant.
But the prime reason this was a victory?
Spicer portrayed everything the White House got as an unexpected bonus that cost it nothing in return. That was because, he explained, this was 2017 budget money, not 2018. And, under normal conditions, a new president would have no say at all in forming the budget for his first year in office.
President Trump only had the opportunity because the previous administration and Congress had left funding the government as unfinished business.
“This is something, most presidents would have walked into office and that would have been done. Because the last Congress didn’t do this under President Obama, we have an opportunity to get some of the president’s priorities infused into the last five months of 2017. That’s a big step forward.”
Spicer then vowed Trump will continue to fight for conservative goals in the 2018 budget: “When the fiscal year starts at the end of September, we will have an opportunity to really infuse the president’s priorities.”
He added, “The 2018 budget will address those things, but this is a down payment on border security and his ability to rebuild the military, and repealing and replacing Obamacare will address a lot of the other health-care issues.”
Still, the question remains, if Republicans were not able to get conservative priorities inserted into a spending bill in May, how will they be able to get them into a budget bill in September?
The president will have until then to convince conservatives he can use the art of the deal to bring Congress around.