Saturday, February 17, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He forgot how Congress works--twice.

Trump's predictable weekend tweetstorm was more intense than usual, augmented by the fact that Trump was forced by the political optics of golfing half an hour from a mass murder site to give up his usual weekend pastime. Most of the tweets dealt with his need to push back against yesterday's confirmation of a sophisticated Russian attack on the election to benefit him. But he did touch on the legislative crises in Congress, once again blaming Democrats for being unwilling to vote for legislation he's willing to sign.

Effectively, Trump argued that because Democrats didn't pass certain laws when they had the majority nine years ago, it wasn't necessary to pass any such laws now.

As Trump is sometimes able to recall, most legislation requires 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a potential filibuster. The Democrats' coalition (which included two independents and a party-switched Republican) only had 60 votes in the Senate for a few working weeks of the 2009-2010 Congress, and even then, legislation cannot be instantaneously drafted or forced through.

As for the current session of Congress, Trump actively sabotaged a bipartisan plan this week to provide for DACA recipients, although doing so remains overwhelmingly popular with Americans. Trump has suggested that he will take some sort of action in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting, but has refused to give any specifics or even say if his solution involves gun legislation at all.

Why does this matter?

  • It's insane for a president to think that because a problem existed before it was his responsibility, it's not his responsibility now.
  • It's wrong to blame other people for your own shortcomings or bad acts.
  • A plan you can't provide any specifics for is not a plan.