About a month into his presidency, Donald Trump hosted a White House event to sign a measure intended to make it easier to pollute U.S. waterways. Unfamiliar with the process, the president walked into a room, said a few words, smiled for the cameras, and then turned to leave.
An aide quickly intervened, reminding Trump that he actually needed to put pen to paper.
Several weeks later, in late March, it happened again. The president hosted an event in the Oval Office to tout some new executive orders, which he was supposed to sign. Instead, Trump said a few words and left the room.
And then there was this morning. The Washington Examiner noted:
Vice President Mike Pence had to chase down President Trump to remind him to sign the executive order on healthcare he announced Thursday afternoon.
Following Trump’s remarks about the action, he turned to his left and walked over to lawmakers. He greeted them and shook hands as he moved to exit the room. Pence sprung into action and swiftly walked over to Trump, and turned him back toward the wooden desk, where the order was waiting to be signed.
It’s easy to make the case that Americans would’ve been better off if Trump hadn’t signed the executive order, but the fact that the president had to be reminded to do the one thing he was there to do fits into the apparent pattern.
It’s possible, of course, that Trump heard the applause following his comments, cared about little else, and decided it was time to go, but in his case, it’s just as plausible that the accomplishment-free president just hasn’t had much practice signing measures of significance.