#6. The Use of Presidential Executive Orders

Under Obama, Ryan was a frequent critic of the use of Executive Orders. He believed that “Making law with executive orders circumvents the Constitution” and he called Obama’s use of Executive Orders a “dangerous trend.” Below is an excerpt from Ryan’s 2014 interview with ABC This Week:

Q: The president called for Congress to act, but said he would use executive orders if they didn’t. You suggested the president is “circumventing the Constitution.” His rate of using executive orders is far behind Presidents Reagan, Bush, & Clinton. RYAN: It’s not the number of executive orders, it’s the scope of the executive orders. It’s the fact that he is actually contradicting law like in the health care case, or proposing new laws without going through congress. Q: So you think he’s violating the constitution? RYAN: We have an increasingly lawless presidency where he is actually doing the job of congress, writing new policies & new laws without going through Congress. Presidents don’t write laws, congress does. That’s not his job. Q: But if you think he’s lawless, circumventing the constitution, are you going to move to impeach? RYAN: No, I’m not. You have some court challenges going to the court this spring. But I think these executive orders are creating a dangerous trend.

Compare that to Ryan’s current stance on Trump’s use of Executive Orders. As NBC News reported in it’s piece Republicans Alarmed Over Obama’s Executive Orders, Cheer Trump’s On, after Trump signed a dozen Executive Orders in only his first few days in office, “Ryan argued that Trump’s executive orders were different — because he agreed with the actions.”

It’s quite the opposite. President Obama used his pen and phone to exceed his powers in our perspective. Everything Obama did by executive order, this president can undo, Ryan said, arguing that Trump could also use executive orders to overcome barriers they’ve encountered in the past when attempting to build a wall on the Southern border.