This is how Trump is spending his final days in office
While the conversation regarding ballots and electors is still being finalized, it’s widely accepted that President Trump is on his way out of the White House, while President-elect Biden is getting ready to move back in. And if we know one thing about the 45th President of the United States, it’s that he’s not bound by the precedents or traditions of presidents before him. This means the now lame duck POTUS is likely to make things very interesting on his way out. Some speculate this will happen through relatively unchecked executive powers.
“Once a president is a lame duck, there are fewer checks on his ability to exercise the power of the executive branch,” said Emily Sydnor, a political science professor at Southwestern University (via The Detroit News). Trump has previously promised to continue his sweeping changes on policies including immigration and visas such as those affecting new entrants into the country and family separation, as well as those brought here as young children. As sitting President, he still has a wide latitude to affect goods and media from China, as demonstrated in recent orders on TikTok and trade tariffs (via NPR and The Wall Street Journal). The current administration may also have a strong influence on the rollout of a new coronavirus vaccine, if this becomes available before the January transition date.
If you’re keeping track, Trump has so far issued 194 executive orders in his Presidential term (via Federal Register).
You're fired: turnovers abound in the transition White House
Already known as Trump’s personal catchphrase, we expect to hear “You’re fired,” rather often in the next few months. The Trump administration already has a 91% turnover rate of the President’s “A Team” of closest advisors (via Brookings) and Trump has often been vocal about those who he thinks have served him poorly. Most recently we can see this in the November 9th forced resignation of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who famously clashed with the President’s wish to send troops to city protests as part of the Insurrection Act (via Vanity Fair). And who might be next? Check for updates on the people Trump has recently voiced disappointment with on Twitter: disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel, and Attorney General William Barr.
But check on Trump’s friends too. Most exiting presidents use their pardon power during this time, and Trump has already shown a willingness to pardon controversial figures like former Sheriff Joe Arpaio (via Justice.gov).
We can also feel confident predicting the exiting President will spend a significant amount of time on the golf course. Trump has played golf on at least 142 occasions since taking office (via Trump Golf Count). Detroit News reports that the POTUS typically travels to Mar-a-Lago for the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays, and speculates that he may extend this vacation.
And no matter what happens, we’ll probably hear about it all on Twitter.
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