Speed Reads


Should America be concerned that President Trump thinks its system of government is 'archaic'?

In a Fox News interview broadcast Friday night, President Trump said four times that America's system of government is "archaic" and moves too slow. "We don't have a lot of closers in politics, and I understand why: It's a very rough system, it's an archaic system," he said at one point. At another: "You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House — but the rules of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through — it's really a bad thing for the country, in my opinion. They're archaic rules. And maybe at some point we're going to have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different."

Trump made a similar point on Sunday's Face the Nation. John Dickerson asked Trump what he's learned in his first 100 days "that you're going to adapt and change, because all presidents have to at this stage." After Trump said he's learned that the media is very "dishonest," he tackled the "system":

It's just a very, very bureaucratic system. I think the rules in Congress and in particular the rules in the Senate are unbelievably archaic and slow moving. And in many cases, unfair. In many cases, you're forced to make deals that are not the deal you'd make. You'd make a much different kind of a deal. You're forced into situations that you hate to be forced into. I also learned ... the Democrats have been totally obstructionist. [Trump, Face the Nation]

Trump specifically criticized the Senate filibuster, notes Aaron Blake at The Washington Post, but combined with his comments challenging the right of the judiciary to constrain him and "his past admiration for authoritarian leaders," Trump's comments about the "archaic" system suggest "a president, yet again, who doesn't agree with his own powers being limited or even questioned."

On CBS News Sunday, Dickerson suggested that Trump is just frustrated with the pace of government. "All presidents feel constrained by the courts and by Congress," he said, and in some ways "this is a traditional thing with presidents." Trump "is a little less schooled in the separation of powers than maybe some previous presidents, though," Dickerson conceded, "so he sees these as obstacles that can be removed, whereas some people see it as the genius of the American system designed so many years ago." Peter Weber