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Donald Trump on Saturday took a handful of executive actions to try to circumvent Congress and create coronavirus relief measures.

The executive actions — a mixture of executive orders and presidential memoranda — don't even do what Trump claims.

However, it's part of a pattern of Trump governing by executive order — something he once accused former President Barack Obama of doing.


In fact, Obama signed far fewer executive orders than Trump has. Three-and-a-half years into his first term, Trump has signed 177 executive orders, more than the 109 Obama signed in his first four full years as president, according to data from the Federal Register.

Here are 10 times Trump said governing by executive order was the sign of a poor leader who is unable to make deals.

July 10, 2012

"Why is @BarackObama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority? This is the latest," Trump tweeted.

The link Trump tweeted is no longer live.

However, four days before that tweet, Obama signed an executive order titled "Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions," aimed at ensuring the federal government had "the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions."

Jan. 9, 2013

"This is how it starts. Obama is now threatening to use an Executive Order for gun control," Trump tweeted, just before Obama was sworn in for his second term in office. "Welcome to his 2nd term."

The tweet came just a few weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which 20 children and six staff members at the Connecticut school were killed.

Obama, noting that Congress had failed to act on any gun control measures, contemplated taking executive action to get the job done.

"The president is going to act. Executive orders, executive action, can be taken," then-Vice President Joe Biden said. "We haven't decided what this is yet, but we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the Cabinet members."

Oct. 20, 2015

In an interview with Fox Business' Stuart Varney, Trump said signing executive orders was a cop-out.

"Look at Obama. He doesn't get anything done. You have Democrats that have been there for years and they've hardly met him. You have got to get — you've got to close the door and get things done without signing your executive orders all the time. That's the easy way out."

Nov. 2, 2015

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Trump said of Obama: "He doesn't work the system. That is why he signs executive orders all the time, because he can't get his own people to go along."

Dec. 12, 2015

At a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump said of Obama: "I don't think he even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions."

Trump then said that presidents are not supposed to govern by executive order, and should stick to the system of checks and balances.

"That's the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear he tried, he can't do it, and then, boom, and then another one, boom," Trump said.

Jan. 4, 2016

In January 2016, when Obama took executive action aimed at reducing gun violence, Trump again assailed his use of such action.

"You know, it's supposed to be negotiated; you're supposed to cajole, get people in a room; you're supposed to deal with them, you have Republicans, you have Democrats, you have all these people that get elected to do this stuff, and you're supposed to get together and pass a law," Trump said. "[Obama] doesn't want to do that because it's too much work. So he doesn't want to work too hard. He wants to go back and play golf."

Of course, when Trump took executive action on coronavirus aid over the weekend, he was at his private golf club in New Jersey.

Jan. 20, 2016

Trump told Fox news of Obama:

"The problem with Washington, they don't make deals. It's all gridlock. And then you have a president that signs executive orders because he can't get anything done. I'll get everybody together."

Jan. 26, 2016

During an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe when he was running for the GOP nomination for president, Trump said: "We have a president that can't get anything done so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place."

Feb. 19, 2016

"Obama goes around signing executive orders," Trump said at a Republican town hall during the 2016 GOP primary. "He can't even get along with the Democrats. He goes around signing all these executive orders. It's a basic disaster. You can't do it."

March 29, 2016

At a campaign town hall in Wisconsin, Trump said he would make little use of executive orders if elected.

"I want to not use too many executive orders, folks," Trump said. "Executive orders sort of came about more recently. Nobody ever heard of an executive order. Then all of a sudden Obama, because he couldn't get anybody to agree with him, he starts signing them like they're butter. So I want to do away with executive orders for the most part."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN Sunday morning with Jake Tapper on his State of the Union show. In part because Democratic reps, like Republican reps, going on Sunday shows is about this coming election, and in part because newscasters are not particularly deep or creative when it comes to talking about politics, Tapper decided to spend a lot of time trying to get Ocasio-Cortez to attack Joe Biden for their differences of political opinions. Newsflash: Ocasio-Cortez, progressive hero, co-author of the ambitious Green New Deal environmental package, and Vice President Joe Biden aren't exactly on the same page as to how to handle climate change.

More to the point, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden has not said he would outright ban fracking. The move to ban fracking in states across the country has been a seesaw battle of fossil fuel interests fighting against progressive environmentalism and science. Biden's refusal to provide full-throated support for a ban on fracking is disappointing to many of us on the left, but it isn't surprising. Even more importantly, it is below the most essential first step the progressive movement—and the country for that matter—needs to take: getting rid of Donald Trump and getting rid of the Republican majority in the Senate.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn't going to be pulled into a pointless argument about fracking with Jake Tapper. Her position is well-reported. So is Biden's. AOC explains very clearly that this is how politics work in a representative democracy.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It does not bother me. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and just from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I also understand he is in disagreement on that issue.

Tapper wonders whether this will depress the youth vote, a vote that AOC represents more closely than Biden. This, of course, is literally the only reason Trump and his surrogates have been bringing up this difference of positions the last couple of weeks. The hope is that it will depress the more progressive vote, while spooking some more conservative-leaning folks in fossil-fuel heavy states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez points out that the youth vote over the past couple of years has not simply become more sophisticated since 2016, it has brought in more progressive candidates and officials into local elections. The turnout in 2018 showed that, and Ocasio-Cortez believes that this election is very clearly a choice between Donald Trump, someone who is a non-starter of a human being, and Joe Biden.

Tapper then plays a clip of Biden telling reporters that he isn't "getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time," but that he's talking about getting rid of the subsidies the fake free-marketeers enjoy in the fossil fuel industry. While Tapper is hoping that this will illustrate how Biden isn't AOC and the youth vote may be turned off by this statement, she sees it as an important step in the right direction.

REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: When he says we are eliminating subsidies, I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. ... If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the vice president wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe that we are moving towards that future. I believe that there's a way and that we should push that process along but again, the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.