9 toothless Trump executive orders done strictly for PR value

Trump signing document with a Sharpie

Screenshot / YouTube

Donald Trump sure does like to show off his signature, which looks far more like a badger with a magic marker duct-taped to his paw hovering over a piece of paper during an earthquake than anything a human produced.

Don the Con also loves to sign executive orders — as if the mere sight of his name affixed to something is mission accomplished, baby! And he does it. A lot. Even though issuing them was something he was opposed to in the past:

We have a president that can’t get anything done so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place.

He seems to be singing a different tune now…183 orders later.

Let’s check out our impeached President’s greatest hits — which are mostly misses — of Executive Orders.

Extended unemployment

Woman holding a sign that says "I lost my job due to coronavirus"


Effectiveness: Negligible

Trump’s executive order would allegedly provide an additional $400 in benefits for unemployed Americans. First of all, it’s not as hefty as it seems, cutting $200 off the $600 a week bill that the GOP refused to renew. Second, it’s not really $400. It’s $300 plus an additional $100 that the states are required to kick in. But the states are broke.

And Trump has no authority over the states, anyway, so even if they had the extra cash to kick in, they wouldn’t need to. Oh, and some more fuzzy math from the six-time bankruptcy king: the extra $300 from the fed would be taken from THE FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF FUND! How convenient! Just as hurricane and fire season is upon us.

Incidentally, the pool of money (reminder, taken from THE FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF FUND!) would run out in about five weeks.


A homeless person digging in a trash can on a busy street.

Screenshot / YouTube

Effectiveness: Worthless

“We don’t want people being evicted. And the bill — the act that I’m signing will solve that problem, largely — hopefully, completely,? was the bold claim the impeached President Donald J. Trump made.

Spoiler alert: It won’t solve the problem.

This one — which IS actually an executive order — is a big waste of everybody’s time. Toothless and non-enforceable, it calls on government agencies to “consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions of any tenants for failure to pay rent are reasonably necessary.? And it attempts to “encourage and provide assistance to authorities, owners, landlords, and [others] in minimizing evictions and foreclosures.?

Zero money is provided.

Zero. Not a single dollar. It asks the reliably unreliable Steve Mnunchin to “see? if he can find any money. It promises nothing. It also asks Health and Human Services and the CDC to “consider? whether an eviction ban is needed. Then I guess the evicted can “consider? whether or not they’ll be homeless too.

Payroll tax

Calculator and pen laying on a chart.


Effectiveness: Laughable

First of all, Trump lied about it even being an executive order. It’s a memo. And it’s a TEMPORARY suspension of payroll taxes just through the end of the year. Which — if you’re lucky enough to be employed — you will NEED TO REPAY next year.

If you’re currently one of the unemployed, this DOES NOTHING TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE YOUR LIFE. Not a thing. Oh, and guess what? If you don’t repay these payroll taxes — which are used to fund Medicare and Social Security — those programs will be starved for cash.

Student loan deferrals

Betsy Devos at an event

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Effectiveness: Pause button on one’s 23rd most essential expense

Again, it’s a memo, not an executive order as Trump indicated.

Payments will be delayed until the end of the year, but full payments will resume on January 1st. This will not apply to private student loan borrowers and may not be available for some students. Because, of course not. We don’t want life to get too cushy here for educated Americans.

Student loan repayments are in the lower echelon of budgeting importance, well behind food, gas, rent, electricity, car payments, and health insurance. After all, nobody is going to break into your head and remove what you learned in school.

Monument protection

Theodore Roosevelt statue will be removed from the front steps of the Museum of Natural History


Effectiveness: Ridiculous and Redundant

This executive order is nearly identical to the already existing Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act. It merely instructs the attorney general to enforce the law that was already there.

Now, if only Trump would concentrate on protecting objects that are real, like, y’ know, people.

Combating anti-Semitism

A photograph of men marching with Nazi and Confederate flags.


Effectiveness: Um… not very good

See Charlottesville, the rise of synagogue shootings, normalization of Neo-Nazis, and every MAGA rally.

Protecting Medicare

Elderly woman with her eyes closed

Unsplash / Cristian Newman

Effectiveness: Great, if you want to help kill people and help the drug companies

Trump hates poor people and old people and especially old, poor people. His indifferent (at best) COVID response, lack of respect for older war vets (no mask-wearing, no social distancing), and complete lack of empathy for the sick make this a no-brainer in non-advancement of the cause.

You know when the Center for Medicare Advocacy is none too thrilled at an Executive Order with the word “Medicare? in it, it’s not helping anyone who needs it.

Here’s their conclusion:

There is much in the President’s Executive Order that is unclear and must be further defined in order to assess its impact. Most of the provisions that are discernable, however, are not consumer-friendly. Instead, they are a gift to both the Medicare Advantage insurance industry and beneficiaries who are wealthy enough to pay for their own health care.

COVID medical resources anti-hoarding bill

Jared Kushner at an event

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Effectiveness: Hilarious

I guess Jared never got the memo.

Department of the Interior Line of Succession

Trump and Barr shaking hands


Effectiveness: It reverses something Obama did making it was a grand-slam for Trump. For any sane person, not so much.

The order changes the line of succession for the Department of Justice. It specifically reverses changes made to the DOJ line of succession that Obama made in executive order 13762.

And these nine EOs are just the tip of the iceberg!

You May Also Like:

Back To Front Page