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Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:06 PM

No one listens to the President

David A. Graham
Staff writer at The Atlantic

... there’s a central tension between the president and aides who refuse to execute orders from him that they believe are illegal or foolish. Mueller’s report is packed with incidents in which White House staff not only didn’t do things Trump said, but never had any intention of doing them. In the case of the border, Immigration and Customs Enforcement staff rebuffed Trump’s plan to bus migrants on legal grounds; meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan refused to turn away migrants seeking asylum, concluding that it was illegal. (Nielsen was sacked soon after, while McAleenan is now her acting replacement.)

... executive-branch employees are hearing orders from Trump and responding, I don’t have to listen to you—you’re just the president. On the one hand, the constitutional system depends on the president executing the law and executive-branch employees following his directives; after all, he is the elected representative of the American people, and they are civil servants. On the other hand, so many of Trump’s orders are in fact illegal or dangerous that it’s difficult to fault staffers who don’t want to endanger the country or legally expose themselves by executing them.

... Sometimes aides didn’t want to follow orders that would require them to lie—as when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to say that firing FBI Director James Comey was his idea. At other times, they resisted orders that would violate government guidelines, as when then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to cancel his recusal on Russia-related matters. And in some cases, they refused to do things to protect Trump from his own worst impulses, as when then–Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told the president he’d ask Sessions to resign, but just didn’t do it.

... former White House Counsel Don McGahn .. first refused to fire Mueller and then refused to write a letter denying that he had refused to fire Mueller. Told he might be fired, he was defiant: “McGahn dismissed the threat, saying that the optics would be terrible if the President followed through with firing him on that basis.” McGahn was right, and he wasn’t fired then ...

The president has a right to deputies who are willing to carry out his orders and policies. The problem is that he doesn’t have a right to break the law, and these two imperatives are often at odds ...


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Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply No one listens to the President (Original post)
struggle4progress Apr 2019 OP
Sherman A1 Apr 2019 #1
PJMcK Apr 2019 #2
badhair77 Apr 2019 #3
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2019 #4

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:12 PM

1. Realistically

for anyone who would be working there. With a goofball (and I am being generous there) that changes his mind every few seconds or follows the lead of the last shiny object that was in his field of vision, how could you blame a staffer or senior staffer from at the very least waiting to see if that is really what he wanted done?

I am more than happy that the folks have a significant greater understanding of how things work and how the laws work, but I can certainly empathize with the need to wait until it becomes clear as to what direction things are heading.

Reminds me of the management at a company for which I worked which I described as everyone on the boat was in back drinking beer or water-skiing and NO One was driving. Every wave sent the course in a new direction.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:23 PM

2. Excellent article

This sentence speaks volumes about Trump:

In each case, the departed staffers’ decisions seem wiser than Trump’s, and the fact that the president didn’t seem to notice their sabotage doesn’t speak well to his decision making or attention span.

The man is an idiot.

Thanks for the link, struggle4progress.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:43 PM

3. "No one listens to the president "

Good point. But a lot of these people are gone so that leaves us with the B team (or C, D, or E team). I’m glad they were scared enough by the SC to be honest.

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