theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Sunday, January 31, 2021

SENATE Is Playing THE DANGEROUS GAME With The 14th Amendment

                                                                    Artist Unknown


After a vote suggesting that about half of the Senate has constitutional or prudential concerns over the trial of former President Trump, members are discussing censure as an alternative. I previously supported a censure resolution, but this is censure with a twist. Senator Tim Kaine would add yet another controversy to an array of constitutional issues by electorally barring Trump under the 14th Amendment. With the snap impeachment and a retroactive Senate trial, the country needs another constitutional controversy like Wall Street needs another Reddit stock tip.

Censure is not mentioned in the Constitution because it is a resolution with the view of Congress. Such a statement could allow for bipartisan condemnation. It is also now seen as a type of shadow impeachment. A Senate trial could work to the advantage of Trump if it ends in acquittal. For the first time ever, the House used a snap impeachment and sent the Senate no record to support its article. As before, the Senate can refuse to call witnesses and vote on the record or lack thereof, meaning a brief trial and about half of the Senate rejecting the case. It has led some members back to censure as the effective substitute for conviction.

Part of the controversy of this snap impeachment is using a trial solely for electoral disbarment. The Constitution refers to the trial as to decide on whether to remove “the president” and so that leads some of us to doubt any retroactive trial, while disbarment is an optional punishment for after removal. The Constitution limits the power of the Senate in impeachment trials to “removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

Retroactive trials remain a close issue even for most scholars who have reached conclusions on either side. Now Kaine and others suggest the Senate can avoid the need for the trial but achieve the same result by a majority vote on censure. At issue is the 14th Amendment section that bars people from holding office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

According to Kaine, his censure resolution would make two findings “that it was an insurrection and that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.” While this would be a workaround of an unattainable impeachment conviction, it would be defended as part of the authority of Congress over any citizen under the 14th Amendment.

This has never been used to disqualify a former president, and it is not clear Congress has carte blanche authority to bar a citizen from office by majority vote. The Constitution refers to individuals determined to have engaged in treasonous acts. Under this theory, it would be relatively easy to disqualify someone from office and declare him a traitor, but difficult to lift their electoral disbarment. Further, it would also flip the burden of the supermajority vote from a protection for the accused in impeachment trials into a barrier for those disenfranchised by Congress.

Kaine is open about his motivation for “an alternative that would impose, in my view, a similar consequence” without a trial and supermajority vote. But that is why this tactic is so dangerous. The party in control could bar dozens of its opponents from running for federal office. Some Democrats are now demanding such action against Republicans who challenged the election of Joe Biden. This is common in authoritarian countries such as Iran, where leaders often bar their opponents from office.

Kaine could be making a case for Trump in claiming the 14th Amendment as an alternative to conviction at trial. Academics have echoed this view, and some insist Congress clearly has authority to bar Trump from office. Columbia University professor Eric Foner says the 14th Amendment “is very applicable” and “would only require a majority vote in Congress.” Such statements leave little doubt that the motivation is to achieve the penalty of impeachment without the burden of a conviction.

It would be a first impression for a court, but Trump would have a credible case. If he were to prevail, he could cite the decision as vindication and perhaps enhance his claims of being an establishment target. When the 14th Amendment was ratified, it was easy to see its applicability to those who swore allegiance to the confederacy or fought for it. A court today would face the issue of whether Congress has total discretion to make such a finding or if, as I believe, it is subject to judicial review.

The Framers, with their ban on bills of attainder, had opposed individual punishment meted out by Congress. Such bills were used in Great Britain to punish individuals through Parliament rather than the courts. Years ago I had litigated one of the few successful bills of attainder cases in striking down the Elizabeth Morgan Act, which punished my client with stripping him of parental rights. This proposed censure resolution would achieve the same purpose to mete out punishment by popular vote.

Using the 14th Amendment is too clever by half. Our raging politics blinds many to what could be a dangerous precedent of barring opponents from office. When many people call for blacklists and retaliation against anyone “complicit” with Trump in the last four years, such a power would be ripe for abuse. There is an alternative, which is a censure resolution that can garner overwhelming support as a bipartisan condemnation rather than a circumvention of impeachment. We can then leave the Constitution alone, and leave the future of Trump to voters and to history.

*Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law with George Washington University and served as the last lead counsel during a Senate impeachment trial. He testified as an expert for the impeachment hearings of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.


FBI Claimed 'FACTUAL BASIS' For Opening Trump COUNTERINTEL Probe, Newly Released DOCUMENT Reveals

                Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  Rowan Scarborough

The FBI opened a counterintelligence probe into then-President Donald Trump in May 2017 based on “an articulable factual basis” that he might be secretly working on behalf of the Kremlin, according to a bureau document. 

The disclosure is contained in an April 8, 2019, FBI memo that appears to close out the entire Russia probe a month after Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his investigation. Mr. Mueller did not accuse Mr. Trump or any associate in a Russian conspiracy.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe acknowledged in February 2019 that he opened the counterintelligence investigation into Mr. Trump as a response to the president firing former FBI Director James Comey amid the Russia probe. 

The Washington Times obtained the three-page “closing communication” under a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI.

Concerning Mr. Trump, the document states:

“Using predetermined criteria established by the Crossfire Hurricane investigation team, the FBI opened [deleted] based on an articulable factual basis that reasonably indicated that President Donald J. Trump may be or had been, wittingly or unwittingly, involved in activities for or on behalf of the government of the Russian Federation which may have constituted violations of federal criminal law or threats to the national security of the United States.”

A day after the FBI opened the Trump inquiry on May 16, 2017, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller.

Whether Mr. Mueller conducted any type of counterintelligence probe into Mr. Trump is not mentioned in his voluminous report. There is no evidence in the report that he was involved in Russian computer hacking and a social media information campaign against Hillary Clinton. 

Mr. Rosenstein said in a June 2018 letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican:

“Special Counsel Mueller is authorized to investigate potential criminal offenses. Counterintelligence investigations involving any current or future Russian election interference are not the Special Counsel’s responsibility.”

In May 2017, the FBI was heavily invested in Christopher Steele’s dossier and its list of about a dozen felony claims against Mr. Trump and his allies. The FBI came to believe the allegations, financed by the Democratic Party, were untrue and that some parts were Russian disinformation. 

Mr. Trump, a builder of hotels, condos and golf courses, has had limited business interest in Russia. He looked at several options but has never constructed any project there. A New York Times report on his tax returns did not show any money from Russian banks. 

The New York Times first reported on the FBI’s Trump probe in January 2019 and Mr. McCabe confirmed it a month later. He was fired as deputy director for not being forthcoming in an unrelated Justice Department inspector general investigation into press leaks. 

Mr. Rosenstein sent Mr. Mueller a scoping memo in August 2017 that singled out four Trump campaign associates as the Russia probe’s focus. The memo, with some redactions, was released by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.

Sen. Graham has harshly criticized the FBI, saying there was no evidence any of the targeted Trump allies had colluded with Russia.

SEE ALSO: FBI 'closing communication'

“Former FBI Director Comey and his deputy Mr. McCabe, through their incompetence and bias, have done a great disservice to the FBI and DOJ, and the senior DOJ leadership who signed off on the work product called the Crossfire Hurricane investigation have created a stain on the department’s reputation that can only be erased by true reform,” Mr. Graham said.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Netflix-Sponsored ‘ANTIRACIST’ Grifter Ibram Kendi Supports TOTALITARIAN Government

Kendi suggested Justice Amy Coney Barrett was a 'white colonizer' for adopting children from Haiti. Apparently, he thinks we need a Department of Antiracism to stop behavior like that.

Elle Reynolds

You’ve probably heard that Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How To Be An Antiracist,” just teamed up with Netflix to create films and animated shorts about racism for adults through preschoolers.

You may not have heard some of Kendi’s other ideas, such as his proposal to create a federal Department of Antiracism to go after speech and policies that don’t fit Kendi’s definition of “antiracist.”

In Kendi’s paradigm, by the way, there is no such thing as simply being “not racist.” If you are not actively advocating Kendi’s brand of antiracism, he suggests, you are by definition being racist.

The Department Of Policy And Speech Police

Kendi has proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would make “racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials” unconstitutional. Inequity, of course, is different to leftists than inequality. As Vice President Kamala Harris explained in a video that inspired comparisons to communism, to leftists equity means government rigging equal outcomes.

Racial inequities, Kendi says, are “evidence of racist policy.” That means if a young woman who isn’t white is making less money than a white woman of the same age, that inequity of income must be a result of policies that are racist.

While policies that produce inequity should certainly be scrutinized (and their political proponents held accountable), the assumption that any significant difference in outcomes is a result of racism is wildly divorced from the American belief in personal responsibility. All Americans deserve the opportunity to pursue happiness; that doesn’t mean the government measures out doses of it.

Policies that enable abortions are extremely racially inequitable, and leftists never call the results racist. While black Americans make up just over 13 percent of the population, 36 percent of abortions in America kill black babies. In 2015, there were almost as many abortions of black babies in America as white babies, even though white Americans make up over three-fourths of the population. By Kendi’s logic, Planned Parenthood clearly has to go — but somehow I don’t think that’s what he has in mind.

So what policies would Kendi’s Department of Antiracism go after? It would have to “preclear,” Kendi says, “all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity.” That means a bureaucratic agency composed of completely unelected “experts” can nuke any policy, from a law passed by Congress to a local school board decision, that it predicts will cause “inequity.”

Not only would Kendi’s department appoint itself over every government policy from Washington, D.C. to the Kalamazoo School Board, it would also “investigate private racist policies.” So if your local homeowners’ association, homeless shelter, or private preschool is perpetuating policies that the Department of Antiracism thinks cause inequitable results, it won’t be long before the G-men show up.

Kendi’s proposal doesn’t stop with policies. It would also police public officials’ speech. “The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas,” Kendi says. Threatening government discipline against people who don’t “voluntarily” change their ideas sounds, well, like regimes the United States used to fight wars against.

Fighting Capitalism and Adoptive Parents

Kendi’s proposal to eradicate policies or speech he deems racist begs the question: what does he think is racist?

“In order to truly be antiracist,” Kendi has insisted, “you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” The logic suggests that any policies promoting capitalism would certainly not make it past the Department of Antiracism.

Kendi has also leveled criticism at now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for adopting black children from Haiti. “Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children,” he tweeted shortly after President Trump nominated Barrett. “They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity,” Kendi continued. If Kendi considers adoption of black children by white parents racist, would it be allowed under his proposed agency?

Kendi also openly advocates for racial discrimination in the name of “antiracism.” “If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist,” he says. “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” Perhaps, then, Kendi would have the Department of Antiracism create racially discriminatory policies in the name of fighting racism.

Bureaucracy Doesn’t Solve a Sin Problem

“The fundamental problem is policy,” Kendi says in a two-minute video clip posted by Politico. Policies are always imperfect, but the fundamental problem of society has never been policy. Even in the dark days when some Americans enslaved other human beings, the fundamental problem was not policy but sin.

Still today, problems in society exist because man is a sinful creature, desperately in need of the grace and restoration which come not from federal agencies but from God.

Of course, all Americans should oppose racism wherever they encounter it. But that doesn’t mean labeling free-market economics or adoption as racist. It doesn’t mean having unelected bureaucrats shut down speech and policies with which they disagree.

It does mean recognizing the fallen nature of man, examining our own hearts with sincerity, and loving our neighbor regardless of his skin color. That’s not a job for a new federal agency. That’s a job for us.


The Marxist WAR On ART And America

The leftist mobs targeting public statuary are aiming -- quite successfully -- for a much bigger target.

Paul Krause

Have the Marxists won, even though the Soviet Union lost? America’s moral courage in confronting the “evil empire” was a truly heroic act; but in the aftermath of the Soviet bloc’s dissolution and America’s unrestrained bid for liberal hegemony over the world, we let our guard down. Not to external foes, but to internal ones.

Over the summer and fall of 2020, America’s cities and public landscape burned and were vandalized. As Nancy Pelosi said when questioned about whether these vandals would be sought and prosecuted for wanton destruction of private and federal property, “I don’t care that much about statues.” Her attitude, perhaps symptomatic of many Americans, needs to be repudiated because it is a blank check for destroying our heritage, history, and moral consensus.

Plato, in his Republic, infamously banned the poets and artists. Why? Because Plato argued, they offered a false vision of the truth and the good life. Plato was himself an artist. He wanted to be a dramatist before turning to the nascent seed called philosophy. His animus against art wasn’t against art, per se, but was against the story that the artists and poets of his time communicated. What Plato understood is what Marxists understand and most Americans sadly can’t see: Art tells a story.

Walter Benjamin, the chief Prophet of the New Left, wrote that all art is “based on another practice—politics.” What Benjamin unleashed was a new campaign to destroy Western civilization by making us hate our own history and heritage and the story that our public landscape, the treasures of our civilization, told. Or as Griselda Pollock said, “The reality is that anything the Europeans have touched is contaminated by their money and disciplined by their gaze, imprinted with their power, and shaped by their desire.”

Michael Oakeshott, perhaps the world’s foremost conservative philosopher in the mid-twentieth century, is indispensable for us in understanding the left’s destructive impulses. “[T]he real spring of collectivism is not a love of liberty, but war. The anticipation of war is the great incentive, and the conduct of war is the great collectivizing process,” Oakeshott once wrote. And war is the animating spirit of the left. If there is no war, then the left must invent a war.

Our public landscape, statues, sculptures, and paintings tell us a story. It is the story of American grace, progress, and freedom. From the Mayflower to the Founding Fathers, to Abraham Lincoln and the crosses and Stars of David that line Arlington Cemetery, America’s lost moral consensus is manifested in the treasures of our civilization celebrating America’s people, history, and progress from a few courageous pioneers and settlers to a sprawling nation from sea to shining sea that overcame many obstacles to establish a more perfect union and continued to create a more perfect union as time went by.

The left’s sudden vandalizing spirit to our public memorials and landscape should not be surprising. For America’s public landscape is the treasure of all, but insofar as it tells the real story of freedom, progress, and opportunity, the left understands that it must banish or, better, destroy our statues, paintings, and all that is embodied by our public landscape.

It has been drilled into our heads, ad nauseum, that America is an irredeemably racist country, as well as sexist and economic oppressive. The 1619 Project isn’t the spearhead of this ideology. It is just the latest and most potent manifestation of an ideology that goes back to the mid-twentieth century. But the 1619 Project should be seen as a blessing in disguise for all Patriotic Americans. For it unequivocally proclaims what we must understand: The left hates America and is threatened by our memorials of love and truth.

What the 1619 Project exudes is the very spirit of politicized art and aesthetics that Walter Benjamin advocated. The original sin of slavery taints America’s public life and every aspect of her civilization. What is most ingenious about the left’s language is how it evokes an eschatological, millenarian, and religious struggle—the war for righteousness takes on a spiritual and moral dimension that perfectly preys on people who are abandoning religious practice and find its false substitute in political vandalism, barbarism, and destruction.

But the Marxists in America have a factual problem on their hand. If America is as irredeemably evil as they claim, then why are many of the oppressed and exploited peoples clamoring to find refuge in the country that is still the last best hope for humanity’s aspirations for God, freedom, and opportunity? Well, the Marxists must conjure up some hocus pocus magic and stir it in a cauldron—the masses are enslaved by a false consciousness!

Thankfully, the Marxist elite exists to tell them what they should really believe and feel and join them in the march to the New Jerusalem to be inaugurated on earth once all the vestiges of evil America are destroyed: Christianity, the white middle-class, the patriarchy, free markets, and all those works of art that otherwise remind us of American goodness, grace, freedom, and progress.

Thus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even Frederick Douglass are not safe from the anti-American left’s decapitating mob because, as long as such statues stand, they are an enduring reminder that American Marxists peddle a false story. Washington reminds us that America was not born in slavery but in freedom. Lincoln reminds us that America is always true to that founding spirit of building a more perfect union. And Frederick Douglas reminds us that America bleeds with a spirit of reconciliation and unity.

The stories that these men tell -- and oh, yes, it's problematic that they’re all men, too! -- is a threat to the Marxist story of an evil and irredeemable America, an America that cannot be forgiven and needs to be purged, exterminated, and destroyed. For in a world where grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation do not exist because God does not exist, well, there is only power and extermination as Raskolnikov says before his apotheosis.

Down, then, come the monuments and statues honoring America’s history of grace, freedom, and progress, and up to the new landscape of race, class, gender struggle, and “liberation.” All art will become media of the Marxist story. For the medium is the message.

We must, therefore, counter the Marxists at every stage, turn, and level. For to let them have a monopoly on our cherished and sacred history, monuments, and landscape is to let them have a totalizing monopoly over American life. It won’t be long until the paintings that adorn the Capitol, John Trumbull’s Surrender of General Burgoyne and Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, along with other such important moments of American freedom and progress like William Henry Powell’s Battle of Lake Erie, will be burned because they are testimonies to white supremacy, which is what all Marxists now parrot in unimaginative collective unison.

The Marxist war on art is the final campaign for Marxism’s domination of America. Make no mistake, they are waging a war. When the last stories of American freedom, progress, and reconciliation are eliminated, the Marxists will have their monopoly on power; not a dictatorship of the proletariat, but a dictatorship onto themselves. And they will wage another war against all of those who they claim have “contaminated” the world.

Artist: People's Fine Arts Publishing House


Dems Tricked Into SLAMMING Maxine Waters' COMMENTS on HARASSING Trump Officials: 'APPALLING'

                House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., asks a question of S ecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, during a committee hearing, Tuesday Sept. 24, 2019, on Capitol Hill in                       Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ** FILE **

  Jessica Chasmar

Dozens of New York Democrats were tricked by a troll Twitter account into condemning comments Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters made in 2018 about harassing Trump officials in public.

In June 2018, Ms. Waters notoriously called on her supporters to harass members of the Trump administration in response to its separation of illegal immigrant families at the border, saying, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

On Thursday, a Twitter account by the name @CuomoWatch took the same quote and switched the words “that Cabinet” for “the Cuomo Administration,” referring to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and attributed the quote to the fake name “Maxine CuomoWatch.”

Dozens of Democrats, many of them state lawmakers, denounced the comments as igniting tensions in the wake of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Mr. Cuomo’s senior adviser, Rich Azzopardi, retweeted many of the critical comments.

The news comes amid mounting criticism against Mr. Cuomo for his handling of the coronavirus, after a scathing report from the state attorney general said the number of nursing home deaths was undercounted by as much as 50%.


Biden’s ‘RACIAL JUSTICE’ Agenda: Judge EVERYONE By The COLOR Of Their SKIN

                                                                 It's now clear why Susan Rice, hitherto a foreign-policy specialist, was named director of the Domestic Policy Council. Getty Images

  Michael Barone

On Tuesday, six days into Joe Biden’s administration, it became clear why Susan Rice, hitherto a foreign-policy specialist, was named director of the Domestic Policy Council. Rice — unconfirmable for a Cabinet post after her unembarrassed Sunday-show lying about the Benghazi terrorist attack — ventured into the White House press room to preview Biden’s “equity” initiative.

With one possible exception, the specific policies announced were less important than the word ­“equity,” invoked 19 times by Rice and nine by Biden. Ending federal private prison contracts and combating “xenophobia” against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are small potatoes as federal policies.

Not so, perhaps, with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative, started under former President Barack Obama, repealed under former President Donald Trump and now due for spirited revival. The idea is for the feds to reverse local zoning laws and plant low-income housing in suburbs deemed insufficiently diverse.

Actually, discrimination in housing has been reduced since the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act, to the point that in metropolitan areas from Washington to Atlanta to Los Angeles, most blacks now live in suburbs, not in the central cities.

But for Rice and Biden, “equity” requires not equality of opportunity but equality of results. That’s one of the fundamental tenets of critical race theory training banned by outgoing Trumpites and reinstated by Biden on Day 1.

A lower-than-population percentage of blacks in any desirable category, explains critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi, must be the result of “systemic racism” (a term Rice used twice and Biden six times Tuesday). If you don’t agree, you’re guilty of “white fragility” and you must be a “white supremacist.”

As Andrew Sullivan trenchantly observes, “to achieve ‘equity’ you have to first take away equality for individuals who were born in the wrong identity group. Equity means treating individuals unequally so that groups are equal.”

This is exactly contrary to the central thrust of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It could easily be judged, in particular cases, to violate the 14th Amendment. Individuals discriminated against might have standing to go to court.

And there will surely be many such individuals. Rice made clear that the policies mentioned Tuesday are just a start. “Every agency,” she said, with no suggestion of exceptions, “will place equity at the core of their public engagement, their policy design and program delivery to ensure that government resources are reaching Americans of color and all marginalized communities — rural, urban, disabled, LGBTQ+, religious minorities and so many others.”

That’s a lot of preferred categories, but one suspects that, as in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” some preferred groups will be more preferred than others. What we’re being promised is racial quotas and preferences in every conceivable program, in every possible corner of American life.

It may be objected that the United States is already well on its way to such a state of affairs. Quotas and preferences are firmly, almost fanatically, ensconced in higher education. Corporate America’s human resources departments, Kendi’s most eager clients, revel in imposing quotas and enforcing “equity” orthodoxy.

Even so, something still sticks in the craws of most Americans about treating some people differently on account of race or ethnic identity. “You don’t get to unite the country by dividing it along these deep and inflammatory issues of identity,” Sullivan writes.

Proof of this came from the unlikely precincts of California last Nov. 3. Democratic politicians under the influence of critical race theory asked voters to vote yes on Proposition 16 to overturn Proposition 209 barring state government, including universities, from discriminating on the basis of race.

Some $20 million was spent to pass this Proposition 16, versus only $1 million to uphold Proposition 209. Yet Prop 16 — and the legalization of racial quotas and preferences — was rejected by California voters 57 percent to 43 percent.

That’s an even wider margin than the 55 percent to 45 percent by which 209 won in 1996, even though California has become far more Democratic since then.

That suggests the Biden and corporate elite project to create a United States of Racial Quotas and Preferences is in conflict with a strong underlying current of American opinion that favors equal rights under law.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Biden REFUSES To Take QUESTIONS As Executive Order CRITCISM Grows


Ebony Bowden

WASHINGTON — Amid mounting criticism of his record-pace executive order blitz — including from liberal media outlets like the New York Times — President Biden refused to take questions from reporters Thursday as he signed two more such actions.

The president’s latest orders will open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and end the “Mexico City Policy” that bans US federal funding for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling.

“Today I’m about to sign two executive orders to, basically, the best way to describe them, undo the damage Trump has done,” Biden told pool reporters.

In a bid to undo many of the initiatives of the previous Trump administration, Biden has signed a record 40 executive actions in his first week in office.

The legally binding orders have set new guidelines around racial equity, sought to squash America’s fossil fuel emissions, ended the Muslim travel ban, and introduced a 100-day federal mask mandate.

President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders on health care, in the Oval Office on January 28, 2021.
President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders on health care, in the Oval Office on January 28, 2021.

But the unilateral actions have seen the president catch heat from some of his biggest allies, including the Times, which on Thursday urged Biden to “ease up” and instead of ruling by fiat, legislate via the narrowly divided Congress.

Executive actions can be easily reversed by the following commander-in-chief.

“[T]his is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage,” the Times editorial board wrote in an op-ed published Thursday.

Joe Biden speaking in the Oval Office on January 28, 2021.
Joe Biden speaking in the Oval Office on January 28, 2021.

“These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation.”

At a briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on questions from reporters suggesting that Biden’s slew of executive actions went against his own calls for “unity” in Washington.

Psaki said Biden had made clear that he didn’t believe executive action should be used for everything, but claimed the president needed to move quickly to undo the signature policies of the Trump administration.  

“There are steps, including overturning some of the harmful, detrimental, and, yes, immoral actions of the prior administration that he felt he could not wait to overturn, and that’s exactly what he did,” Psaki insisted.

“Any historian will tell you that he walked into the presidency at one of the most difficult moments in history that required additional executive action in order to get immediate relief to the American people,” she said, adding that Biden believed in working with Congress and was going to “use the levers that every president in history has used.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell last week said Biden’s EO blitz was the “wrong direction,” while even Biden himself appeared to be against presidential overuse of executive actions.

“We are a democracy,” Biden said during a town hall with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on the campaign trail in October.

“Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even occasionally say, ‘Well, if you can’t get the votes, by executive order, you’re going to do something,'” he went on.

“Things you can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus,” he said.

Last week, Kay James, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said she was disappointed by the “unprecedented scope” of Biden’s orders.

“Executive actions short circuit the democratic process by cutting out Congress and leaving no room for debate or dissent,” James said in a statement.

As he signed two more orders in the space of two minutes Thursday, Biden refused to take shouted questions from reporters as they were hustled out of the Oval Office.

Joe Biden seen wearing a mask in the White House on January 28, 2021.
Joe Biden seen wearing a mask in the White House on January 28, 2021.

“We’ve got a lot to do and the first thing I’ve got to do is get this COVID package passed,” he said of his enormous $1.9 trillion rescue package, which Republicans have already bristled at.