Trump: The Executive Order President

Trump: The Executive Order President

In his first 100 days, Donald Trump has issued more executive orders than any president since Harry Truman.

I doubt most Americans paid much attention to the scope of what a presidential executive order, memoranda, or proclamation were until Republicans started vilifying that Kenyan foreigner, President Obama for daring to use them.

In 2014, Sen. Jeff Sessions said, "Well, apparently we now have an ‘Emperor of the United States,’ after President Obama issued an executive order on immigration that Sessions disapproved of.

NBC reported back in then, "the House Judiciary Committee went as far as to form a task force to probe executive authority accusing "presidents of both parties" of "legislating from the Oval Office," but acknowledged its focus was Obama."

For his part, Donald Trump often criticized the former president with tweets like this:

But suddenly, executive orders are truly awesome. Just ask Kellyanne.

After being bashed by the the political world for accomplishing almost nothing, Conway bragged about how many executive orders Trump had signed during an interview with Fox News' Judge Pirro.


"28 executives orders to date. That’s more than any president in about half a century."

Kellyanne then went on to take credit for Obama's economy and stock market gains to make believe the confidence fairy thinks Trump is so wonderful.

Andrew Rudalevige writes writes in the Washington Post:

Normally, the number of executive orders issued rises under unified party government. This is partly because the president’s congressional co-partisans are unlikely to roll back those executive orders, as just noted — but also because many EOs are used to implement parts of new laws, and more laws are passed during unified government.

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However, the statutes passed thus far in 2017, with unified party government, don’t require much in the way of executive explication. A large proportion are resolutions rolling back Obama-era regulations. These, like other new laws renaming federal facilities or exhorting more women to be astronauts, are pretty much self-executing.

And while it’s true that substantial legislation takes some time to become law, almost none of Trump’s program has even been sent to Congress. Thus executive action is underway not to supplement legislation but to substitute for it. That’s effectively the “we can’t wait” approach Obama took beginning in 2011 after Democrats lost the House: “Where they won’t act, I will.”


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This approach is less common during periods of unified government. But Trump’s executive actions comprise at least eight of the 10 policy areas in which he pledged to send bills to Congress. These serve as placeholders on the complicated questions of infrastructure and energy, community safety, national security, immigration, ethics, tariffs, education and health care.

If Trump took as much time studying policy and showing up to daily briefings as he does in admiring his signature, he wouldn't need the Chinese president to educate him on foreign affairs.

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