Have Modern Presidents Exceeded their Constitutionally Granted Powers – Donald Trump

For decades, both Republicans and Democrats have expressed worry about the increase of presidential powers, some of which Congress has relinquished out of political necessity and much of which the White House has interpreted constitutionally ambiguous areas to justify its own power grabs. According to Pazzanese (2020), since Richard Nixon, leaders have primarily remained in check, adhering to long-established informal rules and traditions, despite the Oval Office now wielding more power. Then Trump came along. As a self-described rule-breaker, Trump has broken with history and standards of presidential decorum while challenging the boundaries of the office, legal scholars say. Impeachment and reelection are two options available under the Constitution to rein in presidents who refuse to follow the rules. In the past four years, particularly the weeks leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, these correctives have not always worked as planned. They also have little power to regularly restrain a president who engages in questionable, but not unlawful, behavior (Pazzanese, 2020).

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More than a few presidents have abused the executive branch’s authority to further their personal political ambitions. Before Trump, there were legal and norm infractions. But he has acted in a way that has made all of the problems already on the radar screen worse. We are concerned that Trump has revealed a slew of loopholes that a future president will use to abuse the office of President and circumvent established norms and regulations. Donald Trump’s view of executive authority is unusual, but it isn’t just because he wants to expand it (Graham, 2018). In the modern period, a president’s job description includes the responsibility of broadening presidential powers. This week, when Trump flirted with a self-pardon, many of those concerns were misdirected because the President’s use of executive power was already being questioned.

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The President’s choice to flex his muscles During their tenures as presidents, past presidents have repeatedly pushed the boundaries of their authority and the Constitution’s protections for the people. On the other hand, Trump appears to be going to great lengths to circumvent the restrictions of his office to protect his own interests. He abuses the office of President for his gain (Graham, 2018). He does so more aggressively when he uses it to defend himself and those close to him. That’s where he’s the most confident. Even though the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) said he couldn’t do it, Richard Nixon explored the notion late in the Watergate controversy and never tried. As a result, he instead resigned and was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford. The limitations of Trump’s executive authority will not be revealed until the President tries to pardon himself, refuses to comply with an investigation, or shoots a former official while trying to evade arrest. Accordingly, this suggests that President Trump clearly illustrates recent presidents who have strayed from their legally authorized powers (Graham, 2018).

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Because the administration likes to stay quiet about it, it’s conceivable that Trump is enhancing presidential power in the area of greater monitoring. However, there are grounds to be skeptical of it. When it comes to dealings with intelligence agencies, President Trump has had the most tumultuous of any president. Over the Russia investigation, they have had a taut relationship with him. His repeated and debunked assertions that he was illegally wiretapped during the campaign have sparked a personal distrust of intelligence collection. Aides apparently talked him out of opposing an intelligence law that his administration had backed temporarily.

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Graham (2018) argues that there have been instances where Trump has exploited Obama’s strategies to destroy some of Obama’s policies by using the same tactics he used to get Congress to act. Suppose you want to know how serious the White House is about this new policy. In that case, As a result of Trump’s lack of vigor in dealing with Congress, his legislative record is among the barest. He appears to have given Congress more authority than he did himself in some instances. As James Hohmann noted in August of last year, the Senate’s vote to impose sanctions on Russia against Trump’s objections demonstrated that Congress was reclaiming some authority. Neither has he attempted to resist or alter the courts in the way of Nixon, Roosevelt, or Andrew Jackson, despite his frequently thundering and startling statements regarding the federal judiciary.

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According to Whiteford (2018), Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society was a collection of policies, laws, and programs that aimed to eliminate poverty, reduce crime, abolish inequality and improve the environment in the United States. President Lyndon B. Johnson articulated his vision for a “Great Society” in a speech to the University of Michigan in May 1964. That year, Johnson launched the Great Society, the most significant social reform effort in modern history, with the objective of reelection at the forefront. Johnson first announced the creation of the Office of Economic Opportunity and the Economic Opportunity Act in his March 1964 special statement to Congress. To help those in need break the cycle of poverty, he set out to aid them in learning new job skills, obtaining higher education, and finding work (Whiteford, 2018).

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To accomplish this, he established a Job Corps for 100,000 disadvantaged men. Half of the group would be involved in conservation initiatives, while the other half would receive education and training in job training facilities. The elderly and the needy were the two groups of Americans most likely to be uninsured before Johnson’s presidency. Kennedy advocated for universal health care throughout his presidential campaign in 1960 and afterward. Still, despite widespread public support and Republican and Democratic support in Congress, early Medicare and Medicaid legislation was shot down. Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1964 when President Johnson assumed office, and the Democrats took control of the House and Senate. Medicare provided healthcare coverage for the elderly who met the criteria, while Medicaid provided healthcare coverage to those receiving government monetary assistance. For the most disadvantaged Americans, both programs provided a safety net.

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Politicians in the United States frequently lament the dominance of “special interests.” On the other hand, interest groups engage closely with lawmakers and the executive branch to develop legislation and policy initiatives, supply the government and the public with information on a wide range of current issues, and make considerable contributions to electoral campaigns. A bill or issue can be used as a means of influencing politicians. They meet with the government privately to propose laws and make arguments supporting their ideas. Interest organizations provide expert witnesses at committee hearings (USHistory.com, 2022). Supporting and pushing candidates to sponsor legislation that they support. Some lawmakers may be targeted because of their position or prominence. Interest groups use “scorecards” to track how consistently members of Congress vote on specific subjects to influence the President (USHistory.com, 2022).

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Signing statements gives the agency the capacity to affect the likelihood that a policy will be selected in the bureaucracy. Unlike vetoes, there are no legal consequences or legislative processes affected by signatures. Whiteford (2018) shows that signed legislation remains a law, irrespective of what the President says in a companion signing statement. In 1972, a federal district court ruled that no executive declaration, even by a President, “denying efficacy to the statute could have either validity or effect.”

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