President Trump’s cabinet has not yet been approved. Only six of his nominees have been confirmed by the Senate, while thirteen nominees are still waiting for approval. The cabinet’s main function is to advise the president. Thus, an efficient government needs secretaries who are experts in their areas. This raises a question: is president Donald Trump making all of his recent executive orders by himself? In an autocratic style? The answer is no; despite his apparent excessive use of executive orders and his lack of advisors, he is far from being a dictator, although some of his policies resemble those of tyrants and dictators.
In the first 12 days of Trump’s administration, he has signed 18 executive orders and memorandums. However, this is normal. The Obama administration signed 19 executive orders and memorandums during the same period of time, but they focused on totally different issues, such as the end of torture and closure of Guantanamo Bay. President Trump’s orders focus on banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim countries, repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and beginning the construction of a wall along the Mexican border. Although President Trump appears to be abusing his executive power, he is not.
However, are his mandates completely nonsensical or discriminatory? The answer is yes and no at the same time. Under the eyes of international law and community they are. They are seen in a similar way by numerous centrists, leftists and independents as well as some conservatives and human rights groups. This is not going to stop Trump or make the government reconsider its policies because of two reasons. First, the United States does not care about what other countries think. If this were the case, then we would not be one of the most powerful countries in the world. Second, the American people elected Donald Trump because of his campaign promises. It is ironic to label a democratically elected president as a fascist because he is fulfilling his campaign promises or because of his commentaries about minorities and women; during his campaign, he could have been stopped, but the media and Secretary Hillary Clinton ensured that he was not. He is our president now, and if we are suddenly discontent with this, the most we can do is stress the need for a positive change in the White House.
In addition, an incomplete cabinet does not necessarily mean that the president is running the government by himself. According to Olga Pierce, ProPublica’s deputy data editor, “The incoming administration has the power to designate acting heads of the various departments until the confirmation process is complete. Usually those acting secretaries are long-term civil servants, but they can also be lower-level appointees of the old or new administration.” The nominees can still advise the president, but they are not the permanent heads of their departments. If a nomination fails, the president can resubmit it. However, most of the cabinet nominees will likely be confirmed, as the Senate is controlled by Republicans. Rejecting a large number of cabinet nominees is improbable as it would weaken the current president.
My solution to Trump’s lack of confirmations and his controversial ideas is not to try to force a change in Trump’s administration by rejecting all his nominees, but by rejecting some of them. America needs a full cabinet for its government to function, but some of his nominees lack the necessary experience for the job. If all of his nominees were rejected, the government would be debilitated without chiefs in the executive departments. On the other hand, some nominees not only lack experience, but also the empathy and knowledge necessary to uphold important policies concerning the population like minimum wage and climate change. Instead, these nominations should be replaced with more experienced figures in their field and in government management.
President Trump’s administration is not a dictatorship. He was elected democratically and has fulfilled his electoral promises in a legal manner. But his policies are worrisome. If President Trump wants a second mandate, he has to start softening his policies as they create controversy and division in the American society. Otherwise he will probably lose to a Democratic opponent in 2020.
Sebastian Suarez is a third-year political science major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.