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Donald Trump has signed more executive actions in two weeks than any other President

The Republican has signed eight orders and 12 memoranda, rolling back progress on minority rights, climate change and financial regulation

Rachael Revesz
New York
Friday 10 February 2017 15:23 GMT
The President's 'power grabs' have outstripped all other Presidents since Roosevelt
The President's 'power grabs' have outstripped all other Presidents since Roosevelt (Ron Sachs / Pool / Getty Images)

Donald Trump has issued more executive orders and presidential memoranda in his first two weeks than former President Barack Obama - or any President since Franklin Roosevelt.

The Republican has signed eight orders and 12 memoranda so far, which signify one of the highest uses of power that the President has. Mr Obama signed one less - 19 - over the same period. Mr Trump's number was far higher than George W Bush (4), or Bill Clinton (10) in the first two weeks of office.

Mr Trump tweeted in July 2012 that Mr Obama was flexing his Presidential muscle too much and too early on in his term.

"Why is Barack Obama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?" he asked.

Ronald Reagan, who Mr Trump has often modelled himself on, did not sign any in the first two weeks in office.

If Mr Trump continues at his present pace, he will sign 1,040 actions this year, which would be almost four times as many as Mr Obama signed throughout his entire time in office.

Both orders and memoranda take immediate effect, the only difference is that a memorandum should be published in the Federal Register to have "general applicability and legal effect". Neither need approval by Congress.

With each sweep of his pen and photo opportunity, Mr Trump has moved to dismantle laws that Mr Obama instated over his eight years in office.

Mr Trump has worried critics that he is rolling back rights for women, LGBT members, people of colour and is dismissing climate change.

The Republican’s re-instating of the Mexico City Policy, banning aid to foreign organisations that even talk about abortion, his orders to build the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL Pipelines, as well as his request to build the wall along the border, are just three of the 20 orders. He has also ordered a review of all the Obama-era regulations on the financial and investment industry which were put in place after the 2008 credit crisis.

The latest three orders, signed Thursday, outline the mandate of the newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the longtime senator from Alabama who was once deemed too racist to serve as a federal judge. They include enforcing existing laws and creating new ones to crack down on drug cartels, illegal immigration and violent crime, as well as invest more power in the police.

One of the most controversial orders has currently been blocked by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and it may go all the way to the Supreme Court. Signed 27 January, the order banned nearly all travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries in the name of fighting terrorism, yet nobody from these countries has killed a single American in a terrorist attack on US soil since 2001, according to a Cato Institute report.

Mr Trump has sent out a series of angry tweets, including one all in capital letters.


His cabinet has been described as the wealthiest - a collective worth of $81. billion - and the least educated in modern American history. A total of 17 cabinet picks alone have more wealth than a third of American households. Mr Trump’s campaign pledge to "drain the swamp" of Washington DC compared to Mr Obama’s cabinet, which was around $7.7 billion less rich than that of successor’s.

It is also the least ethnically diverse since Ronald Reagan.

The cabinet is 88 per cent white and 88 per cent male, and the first cabinet since George H W Bush in 1989 to not include any Hispanic members.

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