Executive order

Trump's Executive Disorder

The next Democratic president will be all too happy to govern by pen and phone too, say the Reason Roundtable podcasters.


What do you call a 21st century president who uses executive orders to work around a stalled Congress and wants to suspend payroll taxes in the face of an economic calamity? A 21st century president, that's who. Like, all of them.

On today's Reason Roundtable podcast, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman, Matt Welch, and a returning Katherine Mangu-Ward try to elevate policy over media gotchas, principle over opportunism, and plusses over minuses. But it's hard, Manny, it's real hard.

The gang talks about Joe Biden's vice presidential shortlist, ponders just how much larger the coronavirus-related changes to life are than our ability to process them, and spends probably too much time talking about Gerald Ford and dystopian train movies.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music: "Back and Forth" by Silent Partner.

Relevant links from the show:

"Trump's Latest Executive Actions Are Likely Ineffective and Possibly Unconstitutional," by Christian Britschgi

"Trump's Naked Megalomania Continues a Bipartisan Trend," by Jacob Sullum

"Obama's Executive Order Tyranny," by Andrew Napolitano

"Watergate Blowback," by Matt Welch

"The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Crushing State Budgets. A Federal Bailout Is Still a Bad Idea," by Eric Boehm

"Kamala Harris Is a Cop Who Wants To Be President," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Benghazi Hall of Shame," by Matt Welch

"A Milestone for Women in Politics," by Austin Bragg

"Joe Biden Is No Moderate," by Peter Suderman

"Perry Mason Gets Its Mandatory Gritty Reboot," by Glenn Garvin

NEXT: Cliff Maloney Says Young Americans for Liberty Event Was Canceled for Political Reasons

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Making Cash more than $15k to $18k consistently just by doing basic online work. I have gotten $18376 a month ago just by working on the web. Its a simple and basic occupation to do from home and its profit are greatly improved than customary office work. Each individual can join this activity now just by pursue this link……..go to this site home media tech tab for more detail support your hear Here══════❥❥❥❥Check my site.

    1. ●▬▬▬▬PART TcIME JOBS▬▬▬▬▬●
      I am making $165 an hour working from home. i was greatly surprised at the same time as my neighbour advised me she changed into averaging $ninety five however I see the way it works now. I experience masses freedom now that i’m my non-public boss. that is what I do……
      ↓↓↓↓COPY THIS SITE↓↓↓↓

      HERE► Real Cash Mony System

  2. govern by pen and phone

    What a quaint metaphor!

    1. Pen is the quiet one.

      1. Make $6,000-$8,000 A Month Online With No Skills Required.FDc Be Your Own Boss And for more info visit any tab this site Thanks a lot…………► Cash Mony System

  3. “ponders just how much larger the coronavirus-related changes to life are than our ability to process them”

    Well, guys, until you admit that all the issues are related to government actions, and NOT to the Communist Chinese Virus, they will remain larger than your abilities.

  4. All the media can do is talk about Biden’s VP choices. He’s done an excellent job of dragging that topic out so that no other aspect of his candidacy gets serious scrutiny.

    1. Yep. Everyone has *totes* forgotten about his cognitive issues.

      *** rolls eyes ***

    2. How much input will he even have as to the choice?

      1. How much input does he even have about what he is allowed to say?

  5. Just like the last one too. And anyway reason was just saying how ineffective those executive orders are. So when Trump does it he’s either a mad genius or a fool. The media can’t make up their mind. When Obama does it he’s a constitutional scholar.

    1. Yeah, think of what the next guy will do, doesn’t work when the previous guy was already doing the same thing.

      1. Didn’t the SC already rule that what Obama did with a pen and a phone cannot be undone by Trump with a pen and phone, because Obama is dreamy and Trump is a poopy head?

        Learn to code, assholes.

        1. Maybe read Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970) and its progeny before you further humiliate yourself through public demonstrations of your own ignorance.

  6. What do you call a 21st century president who uses executive orders to work around a stalled Congress


    1. +100000

    2. Do they really ask this with a straight face? I hope some of these idiots read the comments and realize they’re not fooling anybody except maybe Tony, Jeff and Rev Bigot.

    3. That’s hilarious! It’s just like when Obama was president, and Reason would be critical of him, his supporters would always say “But Bush did it first! Bush did it first! Reason is a conservative rag because they didn’t say that Bush did it first! What Obama did doesn’t matter because BUSH DID IT FIRST!”

  7. The next Democratic President will govern by pen and phone. So, it will be just like the last Democratic President. And like the last one, reason will be totally okay with it.

    Who do you clowns think you are kidding?

    1. They think they are fooling everyone. They aren’t fooling anyone.

      1. You DeRps are so fucking boring

    2. Why aren’t these Unreason geniuses talking about what is going on in the South China Sea? It is starting to get ‘heated’ now. Both we and China are slowly building up forces in the area.

    3. “The last Democratic President”?
      You mean Trump?

      1. Trump is a Republican dipshit. Try reading the news sometime

        1. I have to disagree with you there John. I think he’s an old school 90’s Democrat. The left has shifted the Overton window so far over that Democrats are proto-socialists and Republicans are picking up their 90’s talking points.

          I will say this though: Fuck Trump for trying to end run around Congress cause he doesn’t like that they’re stalling. That’s politics and it was bullshit when Obama did his end runs as well.

          1. I will say this though: Fuck Trump for trying to end run around Congress cause he doesn’t like that they’re stalling. That’s politics and it was bullshit when Obama did his end runs as well.

            I will say this…he is painting the speaker and her ice cream as well as chunky-butt Schumer into a corner.

            1. That’s a fair point.

          2. I agree it is bullshit. But, these are the rules Obama made. So, I can’t blame Trump for playing by them and choosing not to be a martyr playing by rules that the Democrats will never follow.

            1. You do realize that you are currently acting exactly like the Obama supporters during his term who routinely cried about how Reason was a racist, Republican publication because it was critical of things Obama did that Bush did first, right?

        2. Yes, he is a Republican dipshit. Or did you mean to say “Trump is a Republican, dipshit”? Amazing how one missing comma can change a sentence, eh?

    4. I recall Reason being quite critical of Obama’s use of executive orders, and whenever they were his supporters would say “Bush did it first! Bush had more executive orders than Obama! Reason is carrying water for the Republicans!”

    5. Please post links to the articles where Reason said they were ok with Obama’s pen and phone, I’d love to read them.

  8. the last one certainly did jfc

    one of you should have done 1000 words on 25 years since Jerry died.

    1. And when Obama did that and reason cheered him, I and others said they were not going to like it when a Republican did the same. And we were right. Reason of course lacks the honesty to learn anything from this. So, they will just pretend they were never warned and this is something new.

      1. they didn’t really record a conversation about this did they?

    2. I would pass on the 25 years since Jerry article. What are they going to talk about, how Dead & Co suck with John Mayer and no Phil.

      1. Jerry was a billion times more liberty-minded than the authors of this site I was hopeful someone would research and post some enlightenment lol.

  9. Obama teaches about executive orders

    1. yeah good one. Pharaoh rarely funny but that worked.

  10. 2020: It’s okay if Trump does it because Obama did it first!
    2021: It’s okay if Biden does it because Trump did it first!

    That’s what makes both sides idiots. They can never imagine the other side having the same power they demand for their own guy. They imagine they will be in charge forever with an immortal banner carrier.

    1. >>2021: It’s okay if Biden does it

      burps up prune juice on live camera?

    2. 2010 “It’s ok if Obama does it just because!”

      If you’re going to bleat stupid observations at least be a completist.

    3. The greatest virtue one can signal is the sanctimonious one.

    4. No. What makes you an idiot is that you expect one side to play by different rules than the other. It doesn’t matter what Trump does. The next Dem President is going to do whatever Obama did and more. Are you so fucking stupid that you think Trump not following Obama’s precedent will somehow convince the next Democrat to follow suit?

      Once a kind like this is crossed there is no going back. If you don’t like this, blame Obama for making the rules not Trump for playing by them.

    5. In 2010 when Reason was very critical of Obama’s executive orders, his supporters said “It’s okay because Bush did it first! Reason is racist and loves Republicans because Bush did it first!”

  11. I don’t think much of Trump as a person or a leader. I don’t think much of Biden as a leader, especially given his obvious cognitive impairment and his tendency to simply hop aboard any bandwagon. But no matter how dysfunctional you think the this is administration is, it’s a whole world better than the Obama administration and any Biden administration. As far as libertarian principles go, all you get from the Dems is better support for the 4th amendment. Every other amendment gets clobbered, and now they’re are gunning to dismantle the 1st amendment.

  12. The next Democratic president will be all too happy to govern by pen and phone too, say the Reason Roundtable podcasters.

    What would we do without Reason Roundtable podcasters.

    Trump is doing the exact same thing Obama did, claiming that since Congress isn’t doing its job by passing necessary and proper legislation, he’s forced to step in and do Congress’ job for them. This, despite the fact that Congress is doing its job, refusing to pass legislation that is unnecessary and improper. As far as I know, Trump isn’t yet declaring Congress in recess and making recess appointments, but that will come next, I can assure you.

    1. No SCOTUS bitch slapped Obama over that so badly Trump won’t do it.

  13. The Supremes let DACA stand. Heck, if those are the new rules, so be it.

    And, how many libertarians were up in arms when Obama signed his executive order excusing illegals for being in this country.

    1. Most of the commenters?

  14. Reason writers live in progopolises and are either married to progs or have prog significant others. They don’t want to be lonely old losers feeding the pigeons, so of course they will be Ok with whatever a prog president does.

    1. It is cute you think they won’t end up that way anyway

  15. There is the small matter of 3 of the 4 EOs being authorized by laws passed by Congress….

  16. US Dollar Rain Earns upto $550 to $750 per day by google fantastic job oppertunity provide for our community pepoles who,s already using facebook to earn money 85000$ every month and more through facebook and google new project to create money at home withen few hours.Everybody can get this job now and start earning online by just open this link and then go through instructions to get started……….HERE? Read More

  17. job opportunity for everyone! Work from comfort of your home, on your computer And you cAn work with your own working hours. You cAn work this job As A pArt time or As A full time job. You cAn eArn from 65$ An hour to 1000$ A dAy! There is no limitAtions, it All depends from you And how much you wAnt to eArn eAch dAy…..Click here for full detail.

  18. I’m not a fan of the payroll tax deferral *but* just like with the “travel ban” and the funding for the border wall, there was a statute that was passed by Congress and signed into law that gave President Trump the authority to do the very thing that his naysayers are claiming is “unconstitutional” or “unlawful.”

    I don’t think you can say the same thing about DACA (which SCOTUS punted on) because in that case President Obama wasn’t just deferring prosecution for people who were in the country illegally, he was also giving them work visas which they were legally prohibited from receiving.

    Even if in both cases the President said that they were acting because Congress wasn’t acting (by passing legislation that they wanted), Trump actually had statutory authority to do what he did and Obama did not. And 9f your concern is about the constitutional separation of powers, that makes all the difference.

  19. trump is the most crazy president in the world …
    i am a psychologist , i am 100% sure all of the reason that he do is for his childhood and his mother and father behavior !
    see how a bad child hood can destroy a world !
    in psychology we call this kind of situation بهترین روانشناس تهران . i wish he fix himself , otherwise ages and time will do this !

    best regard 🙂

  20. Many people seem to forget and forgive Trump’s predecessor for coining the “I have a phone and a pen” and exercising it. And having it upheld by SCOTUS (ex: Dreamers’ program)

Please to post comments