Friday, May 10, 2019

Executive Orders as Theater

Donald Trump rapidly recognized the Oval Office is a stage and the Executive Order a script. In his first week in office, he began using them to appear to fill promises, do favors for core constituents and build the case as the greatest, most active president in history (read: "Staging the First 100 Days from the White House").

The Buzz blog, May 5, 2017

Of course, it was obvious that many of the orders, proclamations and general activity around the Resolute Desk were for show. As the Los Angeles Times just documented, only a few of the orders actually moved policy, and those that did, were often challenged in the courts. The prime example was the Muslim ban signed the second week in office. But, most are essentially appeals to his own administration to do something, which could have been accomplished with a White House call without handing out pens at a signing ceremony.

The LA Times reports:
  • 18 created task forces, councils or committees (one related to voter fraud, another an infrastructure committee)
  • 12 admit Congress is needed and only “encourage” or implement to the “extent permitted by law”
  • 15 reversed Obama orders, mostly on the environment
  • 43 required reports or reviews considered by the agencies as simply encouragement

Trump tends to refer to all of them as “historic” or “groundbreaking.”

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