[Cross-posted from Above the Law]
On Thursday morning Donald Trump threatened to veto all legislation over his wall. No such Trump veto will happen. Ever. On any bill.
I don’t get into the realm of political punditry often as it’s not what I do — I usually confine political comments to those issues that deal with tort “reform” — but today we make an exception because this goes, in essence, to all bills sent to the president.
We start this short analysis with the observation that Trump hasn’t vetoed a single bill. He’s the first president since James Garfield to act that way, and Garfield was only in office six and a half months before being shot dead.
Before that was Millard Fillmore who left office in 1853, who also served a partial term as he took office upon the death of Zachary Taylor. Taylor didn’t veto anything, but was in office only 16 months. Before that was William Henry Harrison, who died a month into office.
The last president to go a full term without a veto? John Quincy Adams, our sixth president who left office in 1829.
And a few more simple observations: First, Trump loves signing things and makes a big show of displaying his signature, even for executive orders.
Second, he campaigned as a “deal maker.” It matters not one whit if you agree or not, or think he’s good or not. This is the persona he wants the world to believe.
And now, with the House of Representative turning to Democratic control, any bill that passes both the House and Senate that is in any way contentious will be the result of bipartisan compromise. A deal.
So if Congress passes a bill — even one that’s a complete anathema to his other policies — he will sign it and claim “credit.” Even if he had nothing to do with its negotiation.
Envision, for a moment, a bipartisan compromise bill on immigration. Imagine it chock full of things Trump claims to hate and campaigned against.
Will he sign it? No, the contents of the bill don’t matter. Because more important than the contents is that he would be able to claim “credit” for something, even if he campaigned against it. ‘Look at me, the deal maker.’
Will Trump supporters have a feeling of betrayal — one of the most powerful human emotions? Possibly. But that’s a column for another day. Trump’s first instinct has always been to look inward as to what was good for him today.
Why write about this now? Because every so often you will see Republican Senators claim that they won’t pass a bill because the president won’t sign it. Don’t believe it. It’s a diversion.
Trump will sign anything.