May 23, 2019

The always self-indulgent President Donald Trump managed to cover new ground Tuesday when he declared that he would not conduct any public business with Congress unless the House Democratic majority ended several committee investigations of his conduct.

So, the president of the United States walked away from a deal proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to launch a badly needed $2 trillion national infrastructure program. He would engage, he said, only if the House forfeits not just its power, but its constitutional duty to act as a check on the executive branch. In the process, he has held public policy and progress hostage to his own political fortunes.

According to Trump, the House “can’t legislate and investigate” at the same time — a view contradicted by a couple of centuries of American history. Congress often has legislated while investigating, including during Watergate and matters that have arisen during every presidency preceding Trump’s.

The House should stay the course on investigations and legislation. One government branch abandoning its obligation is enough.