“So this was part of the President’s priority to update the FBI building, keep it in DC, and it has been one of the things that has been mentioned in this bill and it is part of one of the President’s priorities and has it’s been a priority for several months, “he said during an appearance on CBS News.
When asked again what that provision was doing in the coronavirus law, McEnany was unable to say, but said “it is not a deciding factor.”
Pressured by a journalist on Tuesday about funding, McConnell responded by saying that he hopes anything not directly related to Covid-19 will be removed before a new relief measure is enacted.
The Kentucky Republican was unaware that the FBI provision was in the bill, but moments later he said the White House “insisted that it be included.”
Several Senate Republicans said they opposed the funding and pressured administration officials Tuesday at their private lunch on its inclusion, which members argued was not even related to the coronavirus.
McEnany said the president’s priority is unemployment benefits, not FBI building funds.
“Well, it is in the bill, the President made it clear that this is what he wants to see. It is not a decisive factor, what the priority here is unemployment benefits as the President said and that is the highest priority” he said Wednesday. He added that the President “fought hard” for a payroll tax cut and that the widespread unemployment benefits are “paramount.”
Democrats have long alleged that Trump’s interest in the FBI building, located across from the Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, is financial.
CNN’s Clare Foran, Ted Barrett and Lauren Fox contributed to this report.