Published by USATODAY.COM
Summary generated on August 10, 2020
President Donald Trump clearly needs a little refresher courtesy of "Schoolhouse Rock!" He signed three pandemic-related memorandums and an executive order Saturday and referred to them twice as "Bills." Whatever you call them, they are mostly ineffective fluff intended to showcase Trump's supposedly bold leadership in the face of congressional gridlock and boost his flagging presidential campaign.
It may well not be, but Trump is attempting to use the president's emergency power in ways "No one has ever seen before," to use one of Trump's favorite phrases, and it will be for the courts to decide which side of legal that is on.
Unwise, dangerous and possibly legal There is a more fundamental question that goes beyond whether what Trump has done is legal.
Donald Trump is playing politics with the Constitution.
A year and a half ago, Trump declared an emergency because Congress would not give him money for his wall.
For another, Trump set up his new program through a previously unimagined twisting of the Stafford Act that gives the president authority to take discrete actions to do things like provide housing and other assistance in the event of an emergency.
Congress has authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to spend up to $70 billion on these kinds of programs through its Disaster Relief Fund, and that's where Trump is getting the money to pay for this.
The very worst thing about what Trump has done is that this is exactly what wanna-be dictators do when they are trying to erode the rule of law and rule by decree.
Ridiculous, you say? Here's what Trump had to say in the memorandum itself: "But Democratic Members of Congress have twice blocked temporary extensions of supplemental unemployment benefits. Political games that harm American lives are unacceptable, especially during a global pandemic, and therefore I am taking action to provide financial security to Americans."
With very few exceptions, Trump has Republican "Leaders" thoroughly domesticated now.