Jul 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump: Republicans who oppose funding FBI building in stimulus "should go back to school"

President Trump said Wednesday that Senate Republicans who oppose using the next coronavirus stimulus package to fund a new $1.75 billion headquarters for the FBI "should go back to school."

Why it matters: It's yet another public spat between the White House and congressional Republicans over the substance of their stimulus proposal. Trump's insistence on the issue, despite little support from his colleagues in the Senate, could drive another wedge into already protracted negotiations.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly opposed including the funding in the final bill.
  • "Obviously we had to have an agreement with the administration in order to get started and they'll have to answer the question of why they insisted on that provision," he told reporters Tuesday.

What he's saying: "So the FBI building, they've been trying to build a new building for many years, many many years. ... It's the best piece of property in Washington. I'm very good at real estate. So I said, 'We'll build a new FBI building, let's build a new FBI building,'" Trump told reporters at the White House.

  • "So we have that in the bill, it should say, 'People have wanted a new FBI building now for 15 or 20 years.'"
  • "Those Republicans should go back to school and learn. You need a new building. It's a bad building, it's a dangerous building ... it's not a good building from the inside, it's a very expensive building."

Between the lines: Trump has long been obsessed with the idea of revamping the FBI building in downtown D.C. — across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Trump International Hotel — with a source telling Axios' Jonathan Swan in 2018 that the president would rant about the "terrible" building.

  • The Justice Department's watchdog opened a probe last year into the administration's move to scrap a plan to move the FBI to a suburban campus amid allegations from Democrats that the president intervened so that a rival hotel could not redevelop the property, per the New York Times.

Go deeper: Senate Republicans criticize their own stimulus bill

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