The President of the United States is Still Barack Obama

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 6, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I just got a call from a reporter about a tweet, which the President-elect has made, canceling the contract with The Boeing Company and the Federal Government to build Air Force One.

Now, the last time I looked, I think that the President of the United States is still Barack Obama. He will be President of this country until the 20th of January.

What we have right now is a President-elect running around the world with his tweet bar making statements that are disruptive and distractive for the American public. He calls Taiwan and raises questions about our relationship with China as though he were the Secretary of State, but he has not even found anyone to do that job. He should be in the transition office figuring out how he makes a smooth transition of the American Government from the efficiently run government of Mr. Obama to his administration, not making the decisions himself and going out and announcing them through his tweet at 3 a.m. because he can't sleep.

This kind of operation is the operation of somebody who is used to running a big business. When he is president of Trump casino or Trump Tower, he can act like that. He can come in and say: Do this, do that, do this, do that.

I don't know if he understands, Mr. Speaker, that you and the House of Representatives are the ones who made the contract and appropriated the money for that plane. That is the democratic process of this country. It is not done by the President getting up in the morning and tweeting out 147 characters and ending a contract with hundreds of jobs at risk of people in my district, good hardworking Americans.

He will go down to Indianapolis, Indiana, and walk around and say: I have saved 1,000 jobs.

We still haven't seen the contract. We don't know what the deal is, how long the jobs have to last, or how many of them have to last. We don't know anything. We just know that a tweet went out that: We have.

And then he went and did a big rally down there and did a victory lap, but there is no piece of paper.

Mr. Speaker, if I were to make a recommendation to the people in Indianapolis, it would be: Talk to the Indians, to the Native Americans, about the treaties that have been made with the United States of America and how good they are and how hard you have to fight to make those treaties work.

He made a treaty with Carrier, which will get $7 million from Indiana. Vice President Pence will give $7 million from Indiana to Carrier, and then maybe there will be some kind of--no one knows what is going on, but the President-elect should spend his time in the transition office and decide who is going to hold the jobs that will make this country run. This is not going to be run by one man in the White House who makes pronouncements and thinks that all the world is going to throw itself down on the ground and worship him.

We have a democratic process, and the burden on the House of Representatives, as I leave it--I mean, in some ways, I am sorry to be leaving because I think it is going to be a very tough session--is to help the new President understand how a democracy actually works. It is not a big business; it is a business of the people. The 435 Members of this House take the money that comes in in taxes, and they appropriate it out as they see fit for the country. The President doesn't do that.

When the Congress is done, it passes the bill to him, and then he spends the money as the Congress has decided it should be spent.

If you look at the Constitution--I am sure the President-elect has looked at the Constitution--the first Article is the Congress. We are the preeminent body in this government because we are elected by the people, and we have the power.

Stop tweeting, Mr. President-elect.