Congress’ oversight of the White House is put on indefinite hold

The Atlantic’s David Frum, lamenting the “ominous indicators of a breakdown of the American political system,” recently noted that raw partisanship has led to a collapse in congressional oversight of the executive branch. “Congress has increasingly become a check only on presidents of the opposite party,” Frum wrote.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) seems a little too eager to prove the thesis correct. TPM reported yesterday:

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said Wednesday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump’s tweet attacking department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line is “a big deal.”

“Is it appropriate, do you believe, is it ethical – and you oversee the executive branch of the government – for the President to be commenting about his daughter’s business like this?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Chaffetz.

“I think most people can relate to the fact that a father, a doting father with very successful children is going to look after those children and, you know, if he sees something going wrong, he’s going to call it out,” Chaffetz said. He said that he doesn’t “pay much attention to it.”

The chairman of the Oversight Committee went on to compare Trump’s comments yesterday about Nordstrom to elected officials giving their opinions on the Super Bowl and “which hamburgers they like.”

It’s hard to imagine Chaffetz actually believing his own rhetoric. The president went on the offensive against an American company for no longer selling his daughter’s merchandise, effectively using his powerful platform to interfere in his daughter’s retailing opportunities. This bears little resemblance to tweets about someone’s lunch preferences.

 

 

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