President Donald Trump fought "very hard" for increases to the military's budget, even though he ended up signing an omnibus that he did not entirely approve, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Saturday.
"We were facing a government shutdown," Spicer told "Fox and Friends Saturday." "He fought very hard for the military for the increase that the men and women would get, the raise as well as the long-term increase in hardware spending for certain weapon systems that are crucial to our national defense. So, on balance, I think he clearly realized that it was a better deal."
The Wall Street Journal reports that the $1.3 trillion budget agreement includes funding that will upgrade 261 tanks and vehicles, while financing 14 new ships and 287 new aircraft.
Overall, the agreement, which Trump signed on Friday, allows $589.5 billion for the Pentagon and its base budget and allocates another $65.2 billion for counterinsurgency operations overseas, mostly for the continuing wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
The additional funding allows a $61.1 billion increase over the 2017 budget, and authorizes $80 billion above spending caps that were put in effect in 2011.
However, Spicer pointed out, Trump sent a clear message to Congress that he wants a line item veto from here out.
"He is absolutely right," said Spicer. "If Congress wants to fight hard for them they can. They shouldn't be sneaking things into a 2,000 page bill that nobody has read. I agree wholeheartedly with the comments the president made yesterday. At some point have you got it do what have you got to do….I wouldn't test this president."
On Friday, Trump signed the legislation, after earlier in the day he'd threatened to veto it because it lacked the $1.6 billion he'd wanted for a border wall.
"I think he made it clear," Spicer said Saturday. "He set the tone yesterday. We were facing a government shutdown. He had a deal in the end at the end of the day sometimes you may not like every deal but on net balance you get more of what you want or less."
Trump, he added, is a "disrupter" and has been from the beginning of his presidency.
"He will continue to bring in people that I think understand how to implement the strategy that he wants," said Spicer. "One of the mistakes that a think a lot of people in the media and pundits have made is try to figure out every person and what, where their views are. At the end of the day, this is less about individuals' views than their understanding of what the president wants to implement and their belief in how to implement that."
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