President (Literally Being Impeached for Abuse of Power) Trump Accuses President Obama of Executive Power Overreach
By Robert Cotter & Nathan Kasai
For the past two years, hundreds of thousands of young people who are American in every way but immigration status have been left in anxious limbo. In 2017, Trump callously revoked the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Created by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA shielded 800,000 young people brought to this country as young children, through no fault of their own, from deportation. DREAMers — taking their name from the bipartisan DREAM Act — have been raised in our communities, graduated from our schools and universities, and served in our military. Now, the Supreme Court is set to determine their fate — and whether they should be forced to leave the only country many of them have ever known.
Following the one clear guiding principle of this administration, Trump appears to have ended DACA solely to “stick it” to President Obama. The program was working without issue, providing crucial protections and garnering strong public support. Instead of making substantive objections to DACA, Trump flung accusations of abuse of power and presidential overreach at his predecessor. In a string of September tweets, Trump derided DACA as a “totally illegal document” and argued that Obama “never had the legal right” to sign it.
Donald Trump accusing others of abusing presidential power stretches incredulity to its furthest limits, and not just because of the ongoing impeachment inquiry now looming over his presidency. From day one, Trump has regularly wielded the very same executive power he now argues President Obama abused with DACA. In his first 100 days, Trump signed more executive orders than any president since Harry Truman. Despite criticizing Obama for taking “major grabs of power,” through his first three years in office, Trump has issued 130 executive orders to Obama’s 108 over the same period of time.
Hours after he was sworn into office, Trump undermined enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. Days later, he unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Then he removed critical environmental safeguards for federal infrastructure projects. He also rolled back critical Justice Department efforts to ensure constitutional and accountable policing. And he unilaterally gave government contractors the right to discriminate against LGBT workers. Put simply, this is the same president who has argued, with sincerity, “I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”
But Trump saved his most egregious power grabs for immigration. Unable to turn his self-described skills as a master negotiator into votes in Congress, Trump has repeatedly relied on executive orders to move his immigration agenda. He raided federal agency budgets and ordered them to fund his $18 billion vanity wall on the border. He sowed chaos around the country with his unilateral and discriminatory Muslim ban. Without Congressional approval, he attempted to strong arm American cities into bowing to his anti-immigrant agenda. He gutted refugee admissions year after year. He even tried to impose an illegal citizenship question on the census to dissuade immigrant families from being counted.
And that was just his first year in office. Since then, he has used unilateral executive power to cruelly separate families who have come to our country fleeing for their lives and put immigrant children in cages. He deployed troops to the border in a move so unethical that even most Republicans objected to it. And he claimed the executive authority of the presidency to declare a fake national emergency on the border, which members of his own party voted to overturn, forcing Trump to issue his first veto. Any attempt by this president to portray himself as a defender of federalism and small government are, quite frankly, laughable.
Across the board, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he has no problem wielding immense executive power, so long as it’s not in the name of compassion. The Court should recognize his hypocritical attack on DACA for what it is and uphold this invaluable protection for DREAMers, while they continue their long wait for Congress to provide them permanent relief.