It seems like forever, but it was just one year ago that Donald Trump was elected president. So what have we learned about the presidency and who is running the country?
1. The first big thing we’ve learned is that Trump is not really the president of the United States – because he’s not governing.
A president who’s governing doesn’t blast his Attorney General for doing his duty and recusing himself from an FBI investigation of the president.
A president who’s governing doesn’t leave the top echelons of departments and agencies empty for almost a year.
He doesn’t publicly tell his Secretary of State he’s wasting time trying to open relations with North Korea. Any president with the slightest interest in governing would already know and approve of what his Secretary of State was doing.
He doesn’t fire half his key White House staff in the first nine months, creating utter chaos.
A president who is governing works with his cabinet and staff to develop policy. He doesn’t just tweet new public policy out of the blue – for example, that transgender people can’t serve in the military. His Secretary of Defense is likely to have some thoughts on the matter – and if not consulted might decide to ignore the tweet.
He doesn’t just decide to withdraw from the Paris Accord without any reason or analysis.
A president who is governing works with Congress. He doesn’t just punt to Congress hard decisions – as he did with DACA, the Iran nuclear deal, insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and details of his tax plan.
He doesn’t tell a crowd of supporters that he’s ended the Clean Power Plan – “Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone” – when any such repeal requires a legal process, and must then withstand court challenges.
Instead of governing, Donald Trump has been insulting, throwing tantrums, and getting even:
Equating white supremacists with people who protest against them. Questioning the patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting police violence and racism.
Making nasty remarks about journalists, about his predecessor as president, his political opponent in the last election, national heroes like Congressman John Lewis and Senator John McCain, even the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico.