The president of the United States traditionally is part of a team.
He leads the executive branch of government, which works hand-in-glove with the legislative branch.
That’s what tradition would dictate. Yes? No longer. The current president continues to act as though he is a one-man band, a Lone Ranger who can solve all the problems all by himself.
Donald John Trump Sr., you’ll recall, stood before the Republican Party’s nominating convention in 2016 and declared that “I, alone can solve” the myriad problems he said were plaguing the nation.
He is mistaken. On that. On damn near everything!
Trump signed a bill into law this week out of sight of TV cameras or other media. It calls for tougher sanctions against Russia — along with Iran and North Korea. Trump issued a signing statement that tore Congress a new one. He blasted lawmakers for approving the sanctions bill, saying they were undermining the president’s authority to “negotiate” with Russia. The bill prevents the president from reducing the sanctions without congressional approval. That’s no good, Trump said.
He blasted Congress for failing to enact a law that would replace the Affordable Care Act. Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that also a presidential responsibility? Oh, wait! I almost forgot. Trump said he wouldn’t “own” the failure, even though he is now the leader of the Republican Party, which controls both chambers of Congress.
The longer Trump trudges down this road to nowhere, the more he seems intent on separating himself from the partners he needs to do anything of importance.
The Russia sanction legislation provides yet another example — as if we need any more — of the president’s utter and complete ignorance of how government is supposed to work.
Effective governance, Mr. President, is a team sport. The president cannot govern all by himself. Put another way, one cannot run one governmental branch the way one runs a business. The two things are mutually exclusive.