Trump Envisions Fundamental Shakeup in Presidential Power

'New York Times' reports that his campaign plans to make the presidency far more powerful
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2023 8:27 AM CDT
Trump Aims to Make Presidents Way More Powerful
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Turning Point Action conference, Saturday, July 15, 2023, in West Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The New York Times is out with a story sure to simultaneously delight the supporters of former President Trump and strike fear into his critics. The lengthy piece, based on his campaign's public proposals and interviews with insiders, lays out how Trump plans to dramatically increase the power of the presidency should he be elected to a second term. The goal is to "alter the balance of power by increasing the president's authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House," write Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Swan, and Charlie Savage. For example:

  • Independent agencies such as the FCC and the FTC would operate under the president's control.
  • Presidents would be able to refuse to spend money authorized by Congress on programs they don't like—the practice is called "impounding" funds, and lawmakers banned it under Richard Nixon.
  • Tens of thousands of civil servants would lose their job protection, making it easier for a president to fire them.
"What we're trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them," explains Trump ally Russell Vought, who ran the Office of Management and Budget under Trump. John Kelly, one of Trump's former chief of staffs, predicts a term of chaos should Trump be re-elected. "It would be a nonstop gunfight with the Congress and the courts." Read the full story, which digs into the thinking behind "unitary executive theory" and its opposition to traditional checks and balances. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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