Michel Gomes-Contributing Writer
First off, I have nothing to add to what you have already heard. Between the angry millennials, misinformed Republicans and sensationalist Democrats, I think you’ve heard all there is to hear under the sun. Nonetheless, I cannot pass up the chance of stirring a little bit of strife on this matter: Trump’s Executive Orders (EO’s).
A quick recap if you’ve been doing the media-fast challenge: Trump assumed the presidential office on Jan. 20 and has busied himself since, trying to “Make America great again.” He has issued eight EO’s, twelve memoranda and made two proclamations. The White House website provides each of them, and many Americans are refreshed to finally have a president who does what he promised. Well, that would be fantastic if his definition of “great” was within the bounds of reason.
An EO is defined by the legal dictionary as, “A presidential policy directive that implements or interprets a federal statute, a constitutional provision or a treaty.” An EO is a powerful tool for a president that enables him to bypass Congress altogether and enact whatever is in his mind. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court can perform a judicial review on an EO and nullify it if the order is found unconstitutional. In the history of EO’s, presidents have used them for all sorts of agendas, including Herbert Hoover, who set the standard of how to write one: i.e. grammar, spelling, good title and conformity to the Style Manual of the Government Printing Office (EO 5658).
Trump has issued eight orders, ranging from healthcare reforms to immigration bans. I’m guessing, given my foreign origins, that I was asked to write a piece on EO with the immigration ban in mind. But I won’t, I think the problem with this form of use of EO’s hints at a deeper issue.
EO’s, by virtue of who affects them, can be used to either rally the public behind their president or alienate them from him. On very divisive issues, it creates not only conflict between different political groups but also between the public and their representatives if the latter chooses to bring the EO for a judicial review.
In the case of President Trump, his EO’s appear to many people as arbitrary and impulsive. The exact means of affecting them are often obscure and where he taketh, he does not giveth. The population’s sentiment expressed through the Women’s March, #DeleteUber and other forms of protest only highlight how divided the public has become even within their own political branches.
How I see the EO’s, then, is either a clever political maneuver in which Trump is portrayed as the man who bears the American people’s best interest in mind or a reckless move to try to meet his agenda. In the first case, the situation can pave the way for delicate relations between Trump’s camp and Congress. That is to say, if Trump proposes that his EO’s are the best and fastest means for reaching his campaign’s platform, any attempt from Congress or the SCOTUS to impede or slow them down will appear to be hostile action toward the public good. The President is then fueled by his supporters and the public is angered by the bureaucratic processes initiated by the legislative and executive branches.
In the other instance, Trump did not think through his orders. I’d love to say that is a far-fetched thought, but when a president insists on investigating the votes of dead people, even after being elected, not much seems absurd. The implications of his EO’s being impulsive and reckless do not need to be spelled out, as the Yemen fiasco revealed. Rash actions and reactions, rather than responses to problems, have only angered enemies and alienated allies. This possibility would not be very promising for the U.S. either.
All in all, the fact that Trump issues EO’s every other day does not seem to be as dangerous as the possible implications each of them would have on the long run for America. The speed at which they are issued and the poor communication between the government, the public and Trump’s circle will create delicate relations that might take a long time to be mended. However, it’s still too soon to accurately predict how his EO’s will pan out and objective reasoning is difficult with how sensational every camp becomes when bringing their own thoughts to the table.
Pseudo-philosopher, pseudo-political scientist, alt-fact analyst.