Trump Administration Re-Invents the Wheel

Now well past his first 100 days in office, President Donald Trump appears to be making fitful starts toward running the government like previous administrations.

Trump promised to be a disruptive force in Washington, but his administration is slowly discovering that sometimes, things are done a certain way because they work.

Indeed, White House press secretary Sean Spicer today had exciting news: From now on, judicial and political nominees would be vetted for ethics and security concerns before they were announced.

“There is a method to this in terms of the nominees that are getting put out now, and I think you should expect to see more and more go through,” Spicer said.


“We're actually going through the Office of Government Ethics and [Federal Bureau of Investigation] clearances before announcing most of these individuals, and so there's a little bit of a difference in how we're doing this,” Spicer said.

Still, the Trump administration has plenty of other discoveries to make. One long-practiced routine stretching back decades is the public release of the president’s daily schedule.

White House news reporters continue to receive a daily schedule, but for the first time, it is an off-the-record document that cannot be published.

The uncertainty and lack of transparency about the president’s activities is compounded by the delayed release of text of executive orders, presidential memorandums and notices that the president has signed a bill.

On May 5, for example, it was widely expected that Trump would sign the fiscal year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 244). Yet, the president was in New Jersey, there was no public schedule and White House aides could offer no guidance.

Finally, at a mid-afternoon press conference, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked if the president still planned to sign the bill.

“Yes. I believe, actually, he signed it just within the last hour,” Sanders said about 2 p.m. Sanders was then asked if the president intended to issue a signing statement with the bill.

“I'm not aware of that,” Sanders responded. “It's something I'd have to check on and get back to you.”

Two hours later, the White House issued a formal public notice that the bill had been signed. In addition, it was accompanied by a signing statement.