Trump Knows He’s in Charge Now, Right?

The president takes his own Justice Department to task for “watering down” his Muslim ban.

American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19
American president Donald Trump attends a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, January 19 (US Army/Alicia Brand)

Ezra Klein of Vox wonders if anyone has told Donald Trump he runs the government now?

The president has oddly taken the Justice Department to task for “watering down” his Muslim ban — as though he isn’t in charge of it.

Klein cites Ron Klain, a Democratic politico who served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, arguing Trump doesn’t think of his administration as extending beyond himself, his Twitter account, his family and a few close staffers in the White House:

He will always think of everyone else as “the government”: some nameless force that does not answer to him and that he does not manage in a conventional sense.

This squares with something I argued here last year: that political “outsiders” like Trump will never feel on the inside. They continue to agitate against “the system” — even once they’re in charge of it.

The result, writes Klein, is a president who doesn’t understand the full scope of his job, a bureaucracy that doesn’t trust its leader and the most powerful country in the world being managed in the most dysfunctional way possible.