It’s easy to think the president is very powerful.
Even a very weak president is still going to have more influence overall than anyone else in Washington.
I’ve found that most people intuitively believe that Congress can resist the president, and that foreign nations can, too.
Yes, the president can influence executive-branch departments and agencies.
Defeating that status quo bias is a major task for every president, and it usually requires plenty of skill and entails a fair amount of risk.
Only a president unfamiliar with the U.S. constitutional system would just assume he would have simple control over the government.
It’s easy to mistakenly believe that everything that happens within the executive branch is the president’s handiwork, especially with a president who tries to govern by decree instead of by bargaining.
It’s even easy to credit the president for actions by his party in Congress.
It takes considerable political skill, not just bluster, for any president to actually influence other officials within the system – skill that we’re not seeing from this particular president.