President's Trump's top budget negotiator on Tuesday defended the omnibus spending bill as a triumph for the commander-in-chief and his "tremendous" negotiating skills.
Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, criticized congressional Democrats for taking a victory lap over the outcome of spending bill to keep the government funded through the end of September. Mulvaney detailed a list of wins for the administration in the legislation and said they were all due to Trump's negotiating prowess.
"The American people won here because the president simply out-negotiated" the Democrats, an obviously sensitive Mulvaney told reporters. "They were desperate to make this administration look like we couldn't govern, like we couldn't' function. They actually cut a deal with President Trump and President Trump did a tremendous job."
Mulvaney pointed to $21 billion in additional defense spending, more money for border security and that Democrats were denied requests for more money for Obamacare and no money for renewable energy subsidies. Mulvaney also underscored that more money was added for defense than for discretionary spending on other domestic programs, breaking a pattern of budget negotiations under former President Barack Obama.
Conservatives have criticized Trump for backing down in budget talks to congressional Democrats, who were able to shape the bill because they hold filibuster power in the Senate. Democrats have gloated that Trump backed down on his request that money be appropriated specifically for construction of a wall along the Southern border and to exclude money for "sanctuary cities" that shield illegal immigrants from deportation by federal authorities.
It was clear from Mulvaney's comments that Trump was irked by the criticism and suggestions that Democrats got the best of him in the omnibus negotiations. The OMB director repeatedly steered the conversation during the news conference to the president's negotiating skill and the claim that he won, and Democrats lost, in the talks.
The final outcome of the bill, Mulvaney said, was a "tremendous development for this president and a huge win from a negotiating standpoint."