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Image: President Donald Trump signs his cabinet nominations into law on Jan. 20, 2017.
President Donald Trump signs his cabinet nominations into law on Jan. 20, 2017.J. Scott Applewhite / Pool via Getty Images file

Trump admin isn't ready to implement unwritten executive order

Those who take governing seriously do their due diligence first and then make an announcement to the public. Team Trump is ... different.


Donald Trump caused a bit of a stir late last night when he announced plans via Twitter to suspend all immigration to the United States. The president claimed he'd be able to do so through an executive order, which no one had seen or even heard about.

As we discussed, a White House official told NBC News that details about how the plan would be implemented "will be forthcoming." It seemed like a polite way of saying that Trump administration officials were blindsided -- yet again -- by a presidential tweet, and they'd scramble to throw together some kind of policy.

As this morning progressed, the governing dynamic, such as it is, came into sharper focus. The Washington Post reported:

Trump decreed via tweet late Monday that he intends to sign an executive order suspending immigration to the United States, but the president appears to have again publicly declared a U.S. policy that was not yet ready for implementation, leaving his aides rushing to deliver on his pronouncement.

The article added that the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which reviews all executive orders, is currently examining the idea.

As a rule, this isn't how the White House is supposed to function. Those who take governing and policymaking seriously do their due diligence first -- including figuring out how ideas would be implemented -- and then make an announcement to the public. On Team Trump, the president blurts out a thought via Twitter, at which point administration officials work backwards.

And if this dynamic strikes you as ridiculous, you're going to love my upcoming book on the Republican Party becoming a post-policy party.

Politico, meanwhile, reported this morning that Trump "surprised his own officials" with his tweet -- a staple of his presidency -- and many in the administration are already working on exemptions to the Republican's so-called "suspension" on all immigration.

"[A]ccording to three industry representatives familiar with the decision, the upcoming ban will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment," the article noted, adding, "Officials have also discussed even broader exemptions for all temporary guest workers, not just for those working in agriculture."

Trump really should've thought about this before clicking "tweet."