Obama and Trump – who is more authoritarian?
Lost in most of the coverage of President Trump’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s transgender mandates is a fundamental legal reality: The Trump administration just relinquished authority over gender-identity policy in the nation’s federally funded schools and colleges.
In other words, Trump was less authoritarian than Obama. And that’s not the only case.
- Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a man known not just for his intellect and integrity but also for his powerful legal argument against executive-branch overreach. Based on his previous legal writings, if Gorsuch had his way, the federal bureaucracy could well face the most dramatic check on its authority since the early days of the New Deal.
- Trump nominated H. R. McMaster to replace Michael Flynn as his national-security adviser. McMaster made his name on battlefields in the Gulf War and the Iraq War, but he made his name as a scholar by writing a book, “Dereliction of Duty,” that strongly condemned Vietnam-era generals for simply rolling over in the face of Johnson-administration blunders and excesses.
In his view, military leaders owe their civilian commander in chief honest and courageous counsel — even when a president may not want to hear their words.
- When the Ninth Circuit blocked Trump’s immigration executive order (which was certainly an aggressive assertion of presidential power), he responded differently from the Obama administration when it faced similar judicial setbacks.
Rather than race to the Supreme Court in the attempt to expand presidential authority, it told the Ninth Circuit that it intends to rewrite the order to address the most serious judicial concerns and roll back its scope.
Authoritarianism is defined by how a president exercises power, not by the rightness of his goals.
The above is from the National Review.
Monterey Bay Forum: So far, Trump’s bark is much louder than his bite. He certainly controls the news narrative of the day. What will come tomorrow?