First the White House and then the Pentagon delivered knockout punches to Donald Trump as the Obama administration continues to lead the country.
After running one of the most unorthodox campaigns in the history of the world, president-elect Donald Trump continues to break with tradition and protocol.
In particular, he seems to have difficulty grasping the concept that there is only one president at a time.
Last last month, The Washington Post published a memo to Trump reminding him of this fact, writing:
One of the hallmarks of our democratic system is its commitment to the peaceful transition of power. This practice comes with two important, linked corollaries that fall under the umbrella that there can be only one president at a time. The first is that the incoming president, especially in the arena of foreign policy, takes care not to trespass on the prerogatives of the incumbent. The second is that the outgoing president, once departed, remains largely mute, giving his successor space to operate unimpeded by post-presidential back-seat carping.
President-elect Donald Trump must have missed this memo. Not bothering to wait for the constitutionally mandated handover, Trump has inserted himself into policymaking, from bullying U.S. manufacturers to barging into foreign affairs, including shaking up U.S.-China policy and intruding into the Obama administration’s dealings with Israel at the United Nations.
As Politico reported yesterday, “Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to sound off on yet another topic — the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, from which the president-elect asserted ‘there should be no further releases.'”
“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Trump tweeted, adding: “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”
There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
A few hours later during a press briefing White House spokesman Josh Earnest delivered the first of a one-two-combo to Trump while responding to a question about the reported pending transfer of 19 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay before the President leaves office.
“I think I would expect at this point additional transfers to be announced before January 20th,” Earnest responded. Asked in a follow-up question whether Trump’s tweet would impact Pres. Obama’s thinking on Guantanamo Earnest replied: “no, it will not.”
Similarly, the Pentagon delivered the second blow to Trump during their daily press briefing, reminding him – like The Washington Post – that there is only one president at a time.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook similarly dismissed the possibility that the Department of Defense would honor Trump’s tweeted request. “There is one commander in chief at a time,” Cook said, “and the Secretary of Defense will continue to carry out his responsibilities as he sees appropriate.”