In what some might construe as Barack Obama’s most hypocritical statement ever, the nation’s chief executive warned President-elect Donald Trump last weekend to avoid issuing too many executive orders.
He made the recommendation during a wide-ranging interview with NPR after “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep asked him whether Trump ought to “use his executive powers in the same way that you have”
“I think that he is entirely within his lawful power to do so,” Obama first said, before embarking on a long diatribe laying out the reasons the president-elect should avoid emulating the Obama presidency.
“Keep in mind, though, that my strong preference has always been to legislate when I can get legislation done,” he continued. “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,” he added.
Many would disagree with that self-congratulatory assessment. Writing for the Chicago Tribune two years ago, for example, commentator Megan McArdle pointed out that the president’s strategy for dealing with Congress looked more like this: “You can do what I want, or I’ll go ahead and do what I want anyway.”
Of course, Obama felt otherwise — due to either to a lack of introspection or willful ignorance. Either way, his final suggestion to Trump was a true riot.
“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.
To be clear, this is a great piece of advice. It is the fact that it is coming from Mr. Executive Order himself that made it so jarringly outrageous.
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