Politics

Trump Lambastes Dems Over Tax Bill, Steinle Murder Verdict

President contends GOP bill getting ‘better’ despite $1 trillion hurdle

President Donald Trump and the first lady Melania Trump attend the 95th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House Ellipse in on Thursday. On Friday Trump lashed out at congressional Democrats over their opposition to a Senate tax bill and their immigration stances. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is pinning blame for the acquittal of an undocumented man who was accused of killing a California woman on “weak” congressional Democrats and panning them for “trying to block” a GOP tax bill that ran into a $1 trillion iceberg late Thursday.

His public skewering of congressional Democrats comes just weeks before he will need some of their help to avoid a government shutdown during the first year of his presidency.

Trump started his usual morning Twitter routine by using the acquittal of a 45-year-old Mexican man, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, in the July 2015 shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco to advocate for his proposed southern border wall and lambaste Democrats over their immigration policies.

He also accused “Obstructionist Democrats” of trying to “block” a Senate Republican tax bill, a measure he contends is “getting better and better” despite a ruling to the contrary that has thrown its passage Friday into question. The plan’s revenue “trigger” was stripped out because it was found to violate Senate budget rules; as the chamber adjourned for the night Thursday, senators were instead discussing putting an automatic, future tax increase into the bill instead.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her top deputy, Raj Shah, have so far not responded to an inquiry seeking comment on whether Trump would be comfortable signing a measure that includes a future tax hike. But Trump on Friday morning signaled he would sign the bill.

“This is a once in a generation chance. Obstructionist Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!” Trump wrote.

The tax tweet followed two posts about the Zarate case, just hours after the State Department announced it would deport him yet again.

The first called Zarate “The Kate Steinle killer” even though a jury found him not guilty. That tweet also blamed President Barack Obama and his administration for allowing the undocumented man to come “back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court.”

In unusually sharp words from a sitting U.S. president, Trump called the jury’s ruling “a complete travesty of justice.” And he used the verdict to call for one of the things that helped fire up his base and helped him win the White House: “BUILD THE WALL!” he wrote.

A second tweet about the case was critical of congressional Democrats and their leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

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The president was critical of the jury not being informed of Zarate’s other crimes, and he blamed that on the “Schumer/Pelosi Democrats.” He branded them as “so weak on Crime” and predicted their stances on the issue and blame for Zarate being found not guilty will mean “they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.”

The White House has said any future immigration bill that would legalize the Obama-era DACA immigration program — which Trump has set in motion to be nixed - also would have to include full funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democrats, including Schumer and Pelosi, have said they would reject that demand. (The bill would have to clear a 60-vote threshold in the Senate, and Republicans hold only 52 seats.)

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