President Donald Trump announced today that while he had signed the controversial sanctions bill H.R. 3364 in the face of veto-proof support from Congress, he believes the legislation “improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.”
The White House released two statements to the media within minutes of one another where the President expressed strong criticism of the bill’s contents.
Describing the bill as “seriously flawed”, Trump stated that the biggest problem with the bill is that it “encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.”
This in turn would make it “harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.”
“The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.”
Trump’s foreign policy has largely focused on driving a wedge between Russia and China in a similar manner to former President Richard Nixon, but reports indicate that bilateral relations between the two eastern powers have only improved in the last few months.
“I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress,” Trump concluded.
In the other statement, Trump elaborated further on the bill’s “clearly unconstitutional provisions”, such as “sections 253 and 257”, which “displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds, in conflict with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry.”
“Provisions in section 216 … conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in INS v. Chadha, because they purport to allow the Congress to extend the review period through procedures that do not satisfy the requirements for changing the law under Article I, section 7 of the Constitution,” Trump continued.
He went on to criticize “sections 254 and 257”, which “purport to direct my subordinates in the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives, in contravention of the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations.”
“And other provisions, such as sections 104, 107, 222, 224, 227, 228, and 234, would require me to deny certain individuals entry into the United States, without an exception for the President’s responsibility to receive ambassadors under Article II, section 3 of the Constitution,” he said.
He concluded the second statement by warning Congress “to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.”
Trump’s strongly worded remarks will no doubt inflame the neoconservatives and liberals who have played a part in pushing the blatantly false allegations of collusion between Trump and the Russian government. However, they demonstrate that despite his reluctant signing of this bill, he remains committed to an ‘America First’ foreign policy.