How a Law is Made: Trump Edition

Most presidents begin their first term by proposing legislation. Not Donald Trump. It isn’t surprising that he does everything differently and this is no exception. However, his approach of issuing a blizzard of executive orders — which is amusing considering how much he criticized this practice under President Obama — marks a major departure in the way legislation happens in the United States. Could this be the way that dictatorship begins coming out with a bang but with a whimper?

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About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

4 thoughts on “How a Law is Made: Trump Edition

  1. Don’t take this as a defense of Tiny Donnie, but he has issued 1 fewer executive order through his first 50 days than his predecessor. “Blizzard of executive orders” seems a relative term. And they’re just about even on presidential executive memoranda, as well (which tend to get overlooked even more than the EOs).

    Obama in 2009:

    Trump (so far):

    Although Ted’s point regarding the “conservative” whining about Obama’s supposed tyrannical overreach via abuse of executive orders is well taken, considering that Obama issued fewer EOs per year since any administration since Grover Cleveland’s first term.

    But like Henri said, shouldn’t a party that practically has total control of the legislative process at the federal level be um… legislating? Their difficulty in getting anything passed demonstrates Paul Krugman’s observation that the GOP is pretty much incompetent at any sort of governing.

    • Many thanks, GrayArea, for taking the trouble to put Mr Trump’s use of so-called «executive orders» in perspective ! It is worth noting that during the first two years of the Obama administration, Mr Obama had a Democratic congress (the 111th), i e, the Democratic Party enjoyed a majority in both chambers. I repeat : what do these facts – that US presidents seem to utilise this tool to a surprising degree, even when their (ostensible) party has control of the legislative branch – tell us about the manner in which the USA is actually run, as opposed to the version propagated in civics class (or whatever it’s now called) ?…


  2. The interesting thing is that Mr Trump & Co are resorting to «executive orders» despite his (ostensible) party controlling the legislature. What does that tell us about the manner in which the USA is actually run, as opposed to the version propagated in civics class (or whatever it’s now called) ?…


    • It’s good to be king. You get to go around all those messy arguments and votes in the legislature. Get things done!

      The idea of an ‘executive order’ isn’t really grounded in the constitution, the legislature is supposed to make laws – not the executive. He’s just supposed make sure that laws are executed.

      Of course – in order to do so – one must be familiar with those laws in the first place. I’m fairly certain the Commander in Tweet is not.

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