Washington lost its collective breath Thursday morning when President Donald Trump fired off a cryptic tweet that read simply: “funding bill.”
Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
The social media post came as the president and his senior aides are evaluating a meaty funding bill that both chambers are expected to take up Thursday and he must sign before 11:59 p.m. to avert another partial government shutdown.
Even GOP lawmakers who have spoken to Trump in recent hours are unsure whether he will sign the bill, the latest cliffhanger drama of the former reality television star’s turbulent presidency.
The two-word tweet was posted at 12:21 p.m. It was deleted a few minutes later and then replaced by another that, in so many words, basically told the entire country to stay tuned.
Grassley prays on Senate floor that Trump will sign bill to keep government open
But the deletion did not stop one commenter from informing Trump “this ain’t google, pops” mockingly suggesting the president was attempting to do an internet search for news or information about the bipartisan compromise measure.
“Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!” Trump wrote in the replacement tweet, a statement that merely reflected the status quo but did not provide clarity to the 800,000 federal workers who again could be out of work — and wondering about their next paycheck — when they wake Saturday morning.
“POTUS has not made a final decision. We are still reviewing the bill,” a White House official who has knowledge of the president’s decision-making told Roll Call earlier Thursday.
A second White House official told Roll Call earlier this week that staff would huddle with Trump only after the legislative text of a compromise border security spending measure had been released. That did not happen until late Wednesday night.
“He’s looking at it. I think it came in very late last night,” White House chief economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow told reporters Thursday morning. “He’s taking a look at that, you'll hear more about it when he’s ready.”
Two reporters approached White House Communications Director Bill Shine for comment on the president’s thinking and he declined to comment as he entered a West Wing office and closed the door.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swallwell, who is considering a challenge to Trump in 2020, offered an explanation for the apparently errant tweet, referring to a new addition to the White House.
Narrator: He’s in the golf simulator. https://t.co/592MI1AKKU— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) February 14, 2019