With about one month to go before he leaves office, President Barack Obama gave some exit interview-type advice to his successor Donald Trump: Don’t rely too heavily on executive orders.
In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Thursday that aired in its entirety Monday on Morning Edition, Obama said it’s preferable to work with Congress.
“Keep in mind, though, that my strong preference has always been to legislate when I can get legislation done,” Obama said from the Cabinet Room in the White House. “In my first two years, I wasn’t relying on executive powers, because I had big majorities in the Congress and we were able to get bills done, get bills passed. And even after we lost the majorities in Congress, I bent over backwards consistently to try to find compromise and a legislative solution to some of the big problems that we’ve got — a classic example being immigration reform, where I held off for years in taking some of the executive actions that I ultimately took in pursuit of a bipartisan solution — one that, by the way, did pass through the Senate on a bipartisan basis with our help.”
In 2014, Obama signed executive orders that shielded millions living in the country illegally from deportation.
The 44th president is aware that the executive orders by the 45th president can undo his achievements over eight years in office.
“I think that he is entirely within his lawful power to do so,” Obama said.
But just as easily, Trump’s orders can also be wiped out.
“So my suggestion to the president-elect is, you know, going through the legislative process is always better, in part because it’s harder to undo,” he said.
“And that doesn’t mean, though, that he is not going to come in and look at the various agencies and see the rules we’ve passed and if he wants to reverse some of those rules, that’s part of the democratic process. That’s, you know, why I tell people to vote because it turns out elections mean something.”
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