No one listens to the president

In essence, executive-branch employees are hearing orders from Trump and responding, I don’t have to listen to you—you’re just the president. On the one hand, the constitutional system depends on the president executing the law, and executive-branch employees following his directives; after all, he is the elected representative of the American people, and they are civil servants. On the other hand, so many of Trump’s orders are in fact illegal or dangerous that it’s difficult to fault staffers who don’t want to endanger the country or legally expose themselves to execute them…

In the long run, Trump has become annoyed with each of these staffers and forced them out or fired them. The problem is that the results remain similar, because each new round of staffers reaches the same conclusion about the president’s orders that their predecessors did. Priebus’s successor was John Kelly, who, according to Fear, deemed Trump an “idiot.” Nielsen’s successor, McAleenan, has already refused the asylum order, despite Trump’s reported promise of a pardon if he were put in jail. In some appointees, like Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump has found aides who are more indulgent, but many lower-level bureaucrats remain resistant to orders they believe are illegal.