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How much will President Trump govern by decree?

President Trump may be many things, but he is certainly divisive.

One of these divisive issues is his governing by presidential directives, tools the federal government and his predecessors have provided presidents with: Presidential memoranda, determinations, prolamations, orders, and so forth. These are by no means new, but part of the governmental process. Some of these tools of power are basically cultural windowdressing, while others can have fairly wide-ranging consequences.

Chief among those are Executive Orders.

These can be relatively small, but FDR was the first—and most prolific—user of the keener edge of this sharp-toothed tool. He issued the most orders bar none, with the runner up (Wilson) parely managing half his numbers. Even relative to the duration of their presidency FDR leads, though not by as big a margin.

President Trump repeatedly expressed his frustration with the other branches of the government, claiming involvement of a ‘Deep State’ as a counter to his presidency. He therefore may feel justified in employing more of his presidential discretion to govern.

We therefore ask: How much will he do so? As a metric we’ll use the numbers of executive orders issued by President Trump over the course of his first term as president.

How many Executive Orders will President Trump have issued, on a weekly basis, prior to 2021 and while he is president?

Here are the last six presidents for comparison:

Carter:   1.53 E.O./week

Reagan: 0.91 E.O./week

Bush I:   0.80 E.O./week

Clinton:  0.87 E.O./week

Bush II:  0.70 E.O./week

Obama:  0.65 E.O./week

The Federal Register will provide the final numbers. This question resolves on January 31th 2021 at the latest (Federal Register numbers can take a few days after the White House’s statements).


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