As part of his bizarre breakdown at the White House yesterday, Donald Trump tried to justify his refusal to work with Congress until lawmakers stop investigating his many scandals. As the president sees it, policymakers can care about oversight or governing, but they can't do both.
"So I've said from the beginning -- right from the beginning -- that you probably can't go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track, and you can go down the investment track or the track of let's get things done for the American people."
The Republican soon after reiterated the point on Twitter, writing, "You can't investigate and legislate simultaneously - it just doesn't work that way. You can't go down two tracks at the same time."
To the extent that reality still has any meaning, we already know that the claim is false. As Rachel explained in detail on last night's show, at the height of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon and congressional Democrats continued to work on all kinds of legislative priorities. Decades later, during Bill Clinton's impeachment ordeal, the Democratic president never stopped working with congressional Republicans.
Indeed, right now, House Democrats continue to pass many of their legislative priorities, even as multiple investigations into White House scandals unfold.
But the problem isn't just that Trump is wrong; it's also the fact that the president is rejecting the gift Dems are offering him.
Indeed, it's easy to overlook just how extraordinary the underlying political dynamic is. Democratic leaders have effectively told Trump. "We're prepared to work with you on major priorities despite your scandals and stonewalling. With a little cooperation, there can be bipartisan deals, on popular issues, which you can then run on in 2020."
To which the president has effectively responded, "No. Stop doing oversight or governing in D.C. will end for the next year and a half."
It's worth taking a moment to consider why he'd rather leave the gift on the table than pick it up.