In the past week since he has assumed office, Donald Trump has signed several major executive orders shaking the very foundations of American immigration and foreign policy, without a stamp of Congressional approval. But, why is no one complaining about it?
Interestingly, President Obama was often charged with “executive overreach” by Republican members of Congress during his eight year term. Even the new president himself questioned the legality of Obama’s executive actions back in 2012:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2012
He even posted a tweet in 2014 asking about impeachment for “gross incompetence.”
However, since Donald Trump has become president, Congressional Republican concerns about government by unilateral presidential action seem to have flown out the window, along with their backbones and their dignity.
Few Republicans seem interested in standing up to Donald Trump over his “Muslim Ban” or his ridiculous wall proposals, which are both uniquely damaging to ethnic and religious populations and will both ultimately hurt the American taxpayer and the economy.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, despite speaking out against the Muslim ban before Trump was elected president, seems to be in approval of whatever executive orders Trump wishes to sign, as long as he is also able to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
The truth is, these Republicans do not actually care about executive overreach—they care about power and maintaining power for their party.
They had qualms with executive orders when Obama used them, although he used fewer executive orders than every president since Grover Cleveland. Republicans stoked irrational fears based upon President Obama’s background and skin color, proclaiming over and over that he was not a “dictator” or “king” and suggested that his use of executive orders were illegal.
The silence from Republicans now, in the face of these damaging and destabilizing executive actions, is deafening.