In a recent attack ad against Ron DeSantis, Trump’s campaign accused the Florida governor and former congressman of voting against border wall funding because he opposed a 2018 “Cromnibus” bill. Either they are knowingly being dishonest, or worse, they know the truth about the bill they are touting and still have no remorse about Trump signing it. This bill was the critical component to the failure of Trump’s domestic policy, and any continued support for it is disqualifying because it demonstrates that he has learned nothing from his budget boondoggles.
We are living in budgetary hell, with weaponized government agencies flush with cash and a lack of a full border wall, precisely because of the bill Trump signed in March 2018 to bust the budget caps, fund the worst agencies at record levels, and limit the border wall at the same time. Yet you have to give him credit. Rather than running away from his record, he criticized DeSantis for voting against it. Of course every other Trump supporter in Congress opposed the bill negotiated by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
By March 2018, Trump had already failed on every single budget fight, despite a GOP majority in both houses of Congress. If you want to know why the border numbers were higher, the interior immigration enforcement numbers were lower, and the debt and dependency were greater under Trump than Obama, it all gets back to these budget bills. This is what Trump did with his trifecta control. He passed budget bills that were so advantageous to the Democrats they literally got more Democrat support than Republican support – similar to what McCarthy is doing today with the debt ceiling.
Here was the vote tally on the first two budget bills of Trump’s presidency:
H.R. 244 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017)
Senate: Supported by every Democrat and opposed by 18 Republicans (May 4, 2017)
House: Supported by Democrats 178-15; supported by Republicans 131-103 (May 3, 2017)
H.R. 601 (2017 blank check debt limit increase)
Senate: Supported by every Democrat and opposed by 17 Republicans (Sept. 7, 2017)
House: Supported by every Democrat; supported by Republicans 133-90 (Sept. 8, 2017)
This brings us to March 2018, when Congress debated the fiscal year 2019 budget, which would be the last opportunity to utilize the trifecta before Trump lost the House later that year. This was the last chance to cut spending, crush the bureaucracies, and fix the immigration problem. But instead, lawmakers passed the worst budget ever, busted the only successful spending cuts we ever secured in modern history, and did nothing the stem the tide of the border invasion that was already beginning and would later explode into the worst crisis we ever experienced (until Biden).
Here was the vote tally on the bill Trump’s campaign is championing against DeSantis:
Senate: Supported by all but 6 Democrats; opposed by 26 Republicans (March 23, 2018)
House: Opposed by 77 Dems (supported by Pelosi); opposed by 90 Republicans (March 22, 2018)
This bill had more GOP opposition than Dem opposition! This was the high-water mark of the Trump presidency – the man the left supposedly felt was like Hitler. Yet his most impactful bill garnered more Democrat support than Republican support!
In fact, the bill was so bad that Trump famously promised, “I will never sign another bill like this again.” Of course, he went on to sign every other budget bill thereafter with more Democrat than Republican support as well.
The Trump ad claims the bill funded the border wall. The reality is the opposite, and he knows it. It funded just 33 miles of the wall, for which he already had the funding. Worse, it weakened existing law by barring the use of even that minimal funding for concrete barriers. Under the existing authority from the 2006 Secure Fence Act, any wall materials could be used.
This was also the pivotal time when sanctuary cities were taking off and there was a need to cut off block grant programs to these localities, as Trump promised. Democrats successfully jettisoned such a provision from the bill, among 100 other conservative policy riders they removed. It also failed to deliver to Trump the resources for ICE and interior enforcement that he requested, which is why interior removals dropped to levels below the Obama administration in most years.
In other words, Trump had his chance during that one pivotal time of trifecta control to get the job done, and he tossed an interception. Trump himself knows this – not only because he conceded it was a terrible bill – but because he was forced to later push a government shutdown, and then after he caved on that the following year, he reprogrammed other funding using an emergency declaration to build a few hundred miles of the wall.
The same applies to the debt and the size of the weaponized government we suffer from today. 2018 was the pivotal moment to deal with the issue. Yet he tossed an interception. The bill formally vitiated the Budget Control Act passed by the GOP Congress in 2011 and paved the road for the debt hell we’re living through today.
Shockingly, while the bill failed to include conservative policy riders, a gun control provision made its way in. Lawmakers slipped in the “Fix NICS” bill, which pressures and incentivizes state and federal agencies to add more people to the system, even though there is already bipartisan recognition that agencies are adding people who should not be on the list, including veterans, without any due process in a court of law. They passed this bill without the original stronger House version of the due process protections and without the promised concealed carry reciprocity legislation, which is why we don’t have reciprocity to this very day.
Additionally, the bill funded a special $350 million in student loan forgiveness. It was a pet project of Elizabeth Warren that was designed to help only graduates who take “lower paid” government jobs or work for non-profits. In other words, a bailout for the very people who helped build the woke and weaponized regime that was to come. This is why, at the time, Rush Limbaugh called it a “slap in the face” to Republican voters.
Sadly, Trump’s tenure, and particularly these budget bills, served as the Scottie Pippen to Joe Biden’s Michael Jordan. And the rest is history.
So why would Team Trump use this very bill that Trump’s globalist treasury secretary crafted with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to attack DeSantis? On the one hand, one could suggest they are shamelessly dishonest. After all, this same ad accuses DeSantis of supporting a national sales tax, without mentioning that it’s the FAIR tax, which abolishes the IRS and has long been a staple of conservative policy — a policy Trump himself voiced support for.
However, I have a feeling that in the case of the omnibus bill, Trump doesn’t even realize he is being dishonest, which is even worse. He actually doesn’t think he did anything wrong. This is why he calls DeSantis a “swamp creature” who voted against the “America First Agenda” because he didn’t side with Paul Ryan and most Democrats. For those looking forward to a more auspicious second term from Trump, therein lies the problem.