Today the New York Times sent me an update on impeachment that said:
What Ms. Hill likely helped outline today was the difference between our official foreign policy and the real foreign policy. Fiona Hill is the National Security Council official who, until her departure this summer, was supposed to be in charge of Ukraine policy and advise the president on it. But what we will likely learn from her appearance is that she was largely cut out of it. There’s this other foreign policy going on, directed by other people like Gordon Sondland, who were working on parts of this Ukraine policy that she never knew about.
I did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016, but this is a very bad take on the part of the New York Times and the person they interviewed.
Our elected President sets our foreign policy not the President’s advisors. Our “official foreign policy” is not what an official says it is. Instead, our official foreign policy is what the chief executive officer of the United States, the President, determines. Congress can block financing his ideas or refuse to pass treaties, but the President is the “real” and “official” foreign policy.
An “official” may be appointed by the President, but this official is “in charge” of Ukrainian policy only when she or he agrees with the President. The notion that “there’s this other foreign policy going on” is nonsense. There is the Administration policy and what some workers for the Administration would like to see. Many have titles that would make a person think they are “in charge,” but if anyone thinks Lincoln did not run the Civil War, that someone with the “title” did (Scott? McClellan?), they don’t know American politics.
We have been here before now. Congress passed a law trying to keep the execrable Andrew Johnson from removing his Cabinet members by passing the Tenure of Office Act. He removed his Cabinet officials anyway, insisting on being President, and the House of Representatives impeached him. He was acquitted, in part, because the Senate wisely saw that the President might be a drunk, a racist, and an ambitious fool, but he was President. He had a right to his people and the legislative branch could not run the executive.
The American people sent Andy Johnson packing in the next election, electing the anti-Klan US Grant.
Whatever should be done with our President, he is still our President until he is not. He is the chief executive officer and sets our foreign policy. To manage “around him” is to undermine the Republic. One might think, mayhap one should think, that the President is worse. Tu quoque is still fallacious.
Andrew Johnson was bad, but that did not justify Congress destroying the Constitution to remove him. So the New York Times and the House cannot pretend there is a “real” foreign policy apart from the decision of the President of the United States of America.