“President Donald Trump has a plan. It’ll be ready in two weeks. From overhauling the tax code to releasing an infrastructure package to making decisions on NAFTA and the Paris climate agreement, Trump has a common refrain: A big announcement is coming in just ‘two weeks.’ It rarely does. On February 9, Trump boasted that his administration was ‘way ahead of schedule’ on a tax overhaul. ‘We’re going to be announcing something I would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax and developing our aviation infrastructure,’ Trump said while meeting with airline executives. Eleven weeks elapsed before the White House released a one-page outline of the tax plan.
“In an April 29 interview on ‘CBS This Morning’ Trump said of his promised $1 trillion infrastructure construction program: ‘We’ve got the plan largely completed and we’ll be filing over the next two or three weeks — maybe sooner,’ Trump said. No legislation has been filed. … Trump’s habit of self-imposing — then missing — two-week deadlines for major announcements has become a staple of his administration as it’s struggled to amass policy wins. The president has used two-week timelines to sidestep questions from reporters or brag to CEOs at the White House. But his pronouncements have also flummoxed investors, Congress and occasionally even members of his staff.”
President Donald Trump had a “bill signing” on Monday. After delivering some televised remarks, he sat a small desk emblazoned with the presidential seal, signed a document, and handed out pens to assembled members of Congress. But the actual document he signed was not a bill, never passed through Congress, and had no legal effect whatsoever.
Instead, what Trump signed was a set of “principles” for his plan to hand air traffic control duties to the private sector. The document was purely symbolic; no one has even introduced new legislation to enact these principles, though the basic gist of them was derived from an older proposal.
Add Trump’s “principles” to the long and growing list of White House announcements that have zero legal import or policy ramifications. Another entry: the very same day as Trump’s pantomime bill signing, Brookings Senior fellow Bruce Riedel announced that the administration’s much-ballyhooed $110 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia is, in fact, “fake news.”
So where are the plans? On the shelf next to his tax returns, his sekrit plan to defeat ISIS, and Melanoma’s immigration status press conference. But I’m only guessing.