It’s been a busy time with much happening in the first two weeks of the Trump presidency. As such, I wanted to share this piece I recently wrote for USA Today.
‘Trump is doing things right’
No different than Obama, President’s first salvos have excluded Congress.
By Duncan Hunter
President Trump was elected by the American people on the promise that he would put America first and restore the notion of American exceptionalism. His executive actions have been consistent with his commitments as a candidate and signal that he’s not all talk.
Some of President Trump’s executive orders have been viewed as controversial, but so too were the executive actions or inaction by his predecessor. His victory was not an accident, and to pretend that his executive actions are excessive or harmful fails to recognize both his prerogatives as president and the fact that he was elected to do what he said he’d do without overstepping.
No different than President Obama, President Trump’s first salvos in office have excluded any real collaboration with Congress. Eventually, that relationship will be necessary, through better or worse, to either codify his executive actions into law or advance a mutually shared agenda on issues big and small. Conversely, Congress can also act within its constitutionally designated authority to present different courses of action or flatly reject almost any executive pursuit.
Only time will tell whether Trump attempts to routinely utilize his authority in excess, as Obama did. Criticism of Trump’s initial actions was expected and is in no way a surprise. But to judge his actions now in comparison to Obama’s over eight years — in some way suggesting congressional Republicans should be equally as critical of any use of executive authority — ignores the clear intent of these initial actions and the indisputable fact that he has yet to disregard Congress or exceed his authority.
If ever true, then it is a sure bet that Congress will have something to say about it — in word and legislation. But right now, President Trump is doing things right. Some things have been less than perfect, to include the rollout of his immigration order and some of its finer points.
That aside, his use of executive authority has been appropriate, and it can continue as long as it acknowledges and respects the separation of powers and adheres to the limitations of the executive branch.