According to Fox News judicial pundit Andrew Napolitano, Donald Trump is planning to sign a slew of executive orders on Monday in an attempt to start rolling back the worst of the Obama legacy. On Wednesday night, the judge said he had spoken to the new president about his plans, which include measures on immigration, environmental policy, and gun control.
“On the executive orders, he told me he expected to be signing 200 orders on Monday,” Napolitano said. “He will decide what he needed to sign on Friday.
“His philosophy: Level the playing field, get rid of all of the lawmaking that Barack Obama did by his executive orders, level the playing field, ask Congress to change laws that need to be changed,” he continued. “What he will do if Congress doesn’t give him what he wants? I don’t know. He is probably going to get the lion’s share of what he wants because he has a lot of goodwill and the Republicans control both Houses.”
It is encouraging to hear that this is Trump’s strategy moving forward. It would be within his power and within the scope of his electoral mandate to go much further. President Obama spent eight years setting some very dangerous precedents as it pertains to executive power; Trump would not encounter much resistance from conservatives if he used that power to steamroll Democratic opposition in Congress.
But while the short-term gains from that strategy would be gratifying, it would eventually come back to bite us – just as it is now on the verge of biting the Democrats. One president’s power becomes the next president’s power, and there’s no guarantee that the next president will be a Republican. Even if it is, we risk pushing so much authority to the White House that our representative democracy becomes a monarchy. None of Obama’s individual executive orders were as harmful to our country as his wanton disregard for the boundaries of the office.
Executive orders have their place. When federal agencies need quick clarification on a law so they can properly enforce it, a presidential order can be used to keep the government working efficiently. Well, as efficiently as the federal government can get. Obama, however, has not used them for this purpose. Instead of clarifying the law, he created it. Rather than enforce the law, he directed federal agencies to ignore it.
If Trump returns some of the power his predecessor stole from Congress, he will have gone a long way towards making America great again.