President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump headed back to Washington Thursday morning in a departure that was earlier than anticipated as some Republicans plan to delay certification of Joe Biden’s so-called election win when Congress meets next week.
The Trumps took off in Air Force One from Palm Beach International Airport and are expected back in the capital later Thursday afternoon.
Trump left Palm Beach before his annual New Year’s Eve party, even though guests had already gathered at his south Florida club and were told Trump would be in attendance, according to three people familiar with the matter.
President Trump departs West Palm Beach, Florida, for a flight to Washington, D.C. pic.twitter.com/Exm6cXj8K9
— The Hill (@thehill) December 31, 2020
The White House has given no reason for the change in plan, but it coincides with Trump’s fight with Congress over his veto of a major defense bill and his demand for increased COVID-19 stimulus checks, as well as a spike in tensions with Iran.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the chamber, dealt a likely death blow on Wednesday to Trump’s bid to boost coronavirus aid to Americans, declining to schedule a swift vote on a bill to raise relief checks to $2,000 from the $600 included in the relief package passed by Congress earlier this month.
The President is on his way back to the White House pic.twitter.com/5lEAU9bBxO
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 31, 2020
Trump has ramped up pressure on fellow Republicans to back the bigger checks for struggling Americans in a series of tweets in recent days in which he attacked Republican leaders as “pathetic” and accused the party of having a “death wish” if it did not increase stimulus payments.
Republicans in Congress have largely stuck with Trump over the last four years, but the president is angry that they have not fully backed the extensive evidence of election fraud in the November 3 election.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Wednesday pledged to challenge Biden’s alleged victory when Congress convenes to officially tally the Electoral College votes on January 6, which could trigger a lengthy debate in the Republican-controlled Senate.
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