President Donald Trump is apparently in the habit of fake-signing executive orders.
His most recent stint of theatrics came on Monday, when he hosted a whole ceremony to announce his support for the privatization of air traffic control systems. Amidst over a dozens of his White House cronies, Trump sat on a small desk emblazoned with the presidential seal and diligently signed papers with various pens from his assembled members of Congress.
However, none of the documents were executive orders — instead they were just memos and letters “transmitting legislative principles” to Congress for his plan to hand over the air traffic control duties to the private sector.
A “decision memo” is just a piece of paper where the president announces his intent to support an idea. The documents had no legally binding effect and, in fact, no one has even introduced new laws to enact these principles.
The news shouldn’t come as a surprise since Trump, during his first press conference after being elected, strategically placed stacks of blank papers and manila folders to show preparation and professionalism.
The debate over whether to privatize air control will now begin in Congress but already some prominent Republicans have voiced their dissent over the proposal.
The president had also promised to unveil the broader infrastructure plan in May. So far, his aides are telling reporters that an official blueprint is months away. But what it will involve is sharply curtailing the federal government’s funding for infrastructure and calling upon cities, states and companies to shoulder most of the cost of building.
During his campaign trail, Trump criticized Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for not spending more on infrastructures and called for a $1 trillion overhaul. However, now, thanks to his budget cuts, the $1 trillion plan will probably never become a reality.
The fact is that in his 138 days of presidency, Trump has yet to sign a major piece of legislation.
The president likes to give the appearance of work but, it seems, most of it is just plain theatrics.