Trump makes heavy use of executive orders despite past criticism

PHOTO: President Donald Trump signs the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) executive order, Feb. 28, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington, D.C.PlayAndrew Harnik/AP Photo
WATCH The Difference Between an Executive Order and a Presidential Memorandum

President Trump signed his 30th executive order Friday morning and the sixth this week, directing a review of off-shore drilling, an apparent sign of the White House’s last-minute sprint the 100th day mark (which Trump called "ridiculous").

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But he’s not done yet. A White House official told ABC News Friday morning that two more executive orders are expected Saturday, likely upon the president’s arrival in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a rally that evening. The orders are expected to be directed in some form towards trade.

The White House, earlier this week, lauded the president’s use of the pen, saying he “has accomplished more in his first 100 days than any other President since Franklin Roosevelt," though this claim has been disputed by historians.

And a measure of this success was comparing the number of executive orders he signed to that of previous presidents:

- President Obama signed 19 executive orders during his first 100 days. - President George W. Bush signed 11 executive orders during his first 100 days. - President Clinton signed 13 executive orders during his first 100 days. - President George H.W. Bush signed 11 executive orders during his first 100 days. - President Reagan signed 18 executive orders during his first 100 days.

It’s a striking admission from a party historically critical of the expansion of executive power. Republicans in Congress had gone as far to create a "task force" in February of 2016 to "study the impact the increase in presidential and executive branch power has had on the ability of Congress” and look for legislative approaches to “restore the proper balance of powers.”

Trump himself, has slammed the use of executive orders as an example of weak leadership and inability to work with Congress, and most of that criticism was directed at a president who had Republican majorities in Congress opposing him.

On CBS's "Face the Nation" in August 2015, Trump said: “The leadership is what you have to do. I don't like executive orders. That is not what the country was based on. You go, you can't make a deal with anybody, so you sign an executive order… So now [Obama] goes around signing executive orders all over the place, which at some point they are going to be rescinded or they're going to be rescinded by the courts.”

In further remarks in December 2015, Trump described Obama by saying, "I don't think he even tries anymore. He just signs executive actions."

Even prior to launching his bid for the presidency, Trump weighed in on the subject, writing on Twitter in July 2012, "Why is @BarackObama constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs of authority?"

So far, more than half of Trump's orders call for reviews of Obama-era regulations, including Dodd-Frank, federal control of education, and Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to designate federal monuments. Three others have been met with setbacks in the judicial system, including two of the president’s travel bans and the order involving stripping federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.