Tuesday, December 10, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He bragged that he got Democrats to vote for what is now effectively a Democratic trade deal.

Trump had a busy day today: he met in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister, he became the fourth president ever to see articles of impeachment drafted against him, and he held a campaign rally.

Predictably, most of Trump's rally speech was about working through the indignity of his upcoming impeachment. He railed about the "deep state" and how it was filled with "Bushies and Clintonites and Obama people"—perhaps not realizing, or not caring, that virtually all American voters fall into one of those camps too. But he did turn to policy briefly, to pat himself on the back for the Democratic-led House agreeing to pass a version of the USMCA trade deal. As he put it:

Congress will soon vote on my new trade deal. She [Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi] did it on the same day they announced they are going to impeach the 45th president of the United States, and your favorite president. And, the reason they announced it on the same day, one hour later, they announced impeachment ... you know why? It plays down the impeachment, because they're embarrassed by impeachment, and our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment.

In reality, Trump's poll numbers still have not gone up, and a slight majority of Americans already support removing him from office. But the real mistake in what Trump said here was the part about it being "his" trade deal. The reason that Democrats now support it is that in the year since Trump introduced it, Pelosi essentially rewrote it behind his back. It is now so clearly a Democrat-authored deal that the Republican-led Senate is now dragging its feet—to the outrage of Democrats.

In other words, Trump is claiming he forced Pelosi to pass a trade agreement that, if he knew or cared what was in it, he never would have agreed to himself.

So what?

  • Presidents should know or care what is happening with their signature legislation.
  • Presidents owe the American people their loyalty, not the other way around.