US President Donald Trump returned to Washington on Thursday a day earlier than originally planned, amid ongoing disputes with Congress over a defense bill and an increase in direct payments to the public.
Earlier, Trump was going to celebrate the New Year at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The White House does not give explanations about the reasons for the change in plans. Neither before the flight from Florida, nor upon arrival at Andrews AFB, the President did not speak with reporters.
President-elect Joe Biden will have a close family celebration at his home in Delaware, but is set to air Thursday night on ABC’s New Year’s show.
In recent days, President Trump has stepped up pressure on Republicans, urging them to increase anti-crisis payments to the population from $ 600 to $ 2,000.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday again refused to vote on a separate pay increase bill, calling it “socialism for the rich” and unsuitable for “helping families who really need help.” The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday.
Tensions within the GOP are also exacerbating opposition over the defense budget bill, which Trump vetoed.
On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to begin debate on overcoming the presidential veto, and another procedural vote will take place on Friday. If successful, it will be the first time a veto has been lifted in the entire Trump presidency.
“We have passed the Annual National Defense Bill for 59 consecutive years,” McConnell said. “In the next few days, we will do our job again, regardless of whether the path is easy or difficult.”
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has already voted to overturn the veto on Monday.
Meanwhile, another aggravation is observed in relations with Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused Washington of trying to create an excuse to attack his country and assured Tehran would defend itself, although it does not want war.
On Wednesday, two US B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East in what US officials called a deterrent signal to Iran ahead of the first anniversary of the US drone strike that killed senior Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2019.
On Thursday, Trump ignored journalists’ questions about the situation with Iran and whether he intends to attend Biden’s January 20 inauguration.