President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order establishing regulatory reform officers and task forces in US agencies in Washington, DC on February 24, 2017.
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On centennial coins, Trump struggles with how time works

Updated

There was a point last year at which Harley-Davidson announced plans to move some of its production overseas as a result of Donald Trump’s trade policies. The president. outraged, responded that customers were so angry with the developments that they’d pushed down Harley-Davidson’s sales numbers in 2017.

That, of course, didn’t make any sense. Consumers upset by developments in 2018 can’t affect sales in 2017. Trump was so eager to make a strange political point that he briefly seemed to forget how time works.

Yesterday, it happened again, when Trump signed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the Treasury to issue a commemorative coin to honor the 100th anniversary of American women getting the right to vote. After signing the measure – which passed both the House and Senate unanimously – the president decided to take a moment to reflect on what he considered important: his own awesomeness.

“I am curious why wasn’t it done a long time ago and also, well, I guess the answer to that is because now I am president and we get things done.

“We get a lot of things done that nobody else got done.”

Well, if Trump is “curious” why other presidents didn’t sign the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, I can help. In this country, the women’s suffrage movement led to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919, and its ratification in 1920.

No one tried to honor the centennial of this because – and this is important – centennials mark the hundredth anniversary of things. In order to recognize the centennial of something that happened in 1920, we had to wait until around 2020, because that’s how time works.

All joking aside, Trump’s unscripted comments on this offer are part of a larger pattern. “Done a long time ago” is one of the president’s favorite phrases, apparently because Trump thinks if he repeats it often enough, people will see him as a success and his predecessors as failures.

Yesterday served as a reminder that his efforts aren’t going especially well.

Update: At yesterday’s bill signing, after Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) explained the process of getting the act passed, Trump again asked, “So why wasn’t this done a long time ago — years ago?” Perhaps the president was waiting for someone to give him credit for something he had nothing to do with?