Trump Year One: Executive Orders
We recently examined the history of Presidential executive orders and discovered President Trump signed more executive orders in his first 100 days in office than any U.S. president since World War II. How does his first full year compare to his predecessors?
To find out, we analyzed Westlaw data to determine the number of executive orders issued during each president’s first 365 days, over the past 25 years. Our Westlaw research revealed that Trump issued 58 executive orders, which puts him in second place compared to prior presidents’ first years.
Executive Orders Issued During Presidents’ First Years in Office*
Bill Clinton (1993-1994): 59
Donald Trump (2017-2018): 58
George W. Bush (2001-2002): 56
Barack Obama (2009-2010): 41
George H.W. Bush (1989-1990): 33
* Figures reflect the first 365 days in office for each president, starting with Jan. 20 of the start year until January 19 of the following year.
Trump’s executive orders have addressed the conventional, such as ethic requirements (No. 13770) and drug policies (No. 13784), as well as more controversial areas. For example, he touted his first executive order, No. 13765, as a step towards repealing the Affordable Care Act, while his fourth, No. 13769, has commonly become known as the “Muslim ban.” Among his most recent executive orders is No. 13820, which revoked an executive order he signed in May – No. 13799 – to establish the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity; No. 13820 disbanded the controversial commission Trump created to investigate alleged voter fraud.
However, as Reuters reported in November: “Many of the Republican president’s most significant executive actions, in areas from immigration and transgender rights to energy and the environment, have been impeded by court rulings in cases brought by Democratic state and local officials as well as liberal advocacy groups.”
The same Reuters article noted this response to presidential actions isn’t unusual: “Similarly, important executive actions taken by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama were stymied by lawsuits filed by Republican state attorneys general, including one eventually decided by the Supreme Court that was intended to protect millions of immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.”