No Joke, Trump Is About to Dismantle the Executive Branch

Nobody – supporters and critics, alike – would describe the Donald Trump White House as “politics as usual.” If the administration gets its way, however, the Trump administration might very well change the executive branch so drastically that it will never be politics as usual again.

On Monday, the White House released the “Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” Per the order, federal agency heads will have just six months to prepare a formal report assessing their agency’s value to the country and make recommendations on potential changes.

“This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the executive branch,” reads the document.

Cabinet members are encouraged to recommend merging agencies or cutting agencies’ programs and duties. Heck, the order says that it may even be appropriate to recommend eliminating certain agencies altogether – and that’s where things really get worrisome.

Very few would argue that there aren’t overlaps in the executive branch that could use tidying up; the problem is that it’s this particular administration that seems gung-ho to do it.

It should not be ignored that Steve Bannon – Chief White House Strategist and the man regarded by many to be pulling the strings of the executive branch – previously stated that his goal was “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Bannon wants to destroy as many agencies and regulations as possible, and this executive order helps to set the groundwork for that.

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce writes:

“This isn’t a cost-cutting measure. It’s a function-cutting measure. It’s not about what the agencies are. It’s about what they do. This is like handing a group of drunk teenagers a flamethrower and pointing them toward a lumber yard.”

Trump can boast that this executive order will save taxpayers billions of dollars, but that’s not taking into account that most taxpayers want a functioning government. They want agencies that will ensure that the United States has good schools, a clean environment, a strong military, steady food sources and jobs.

The impending diminishing if not outright closing of some agencies would go a long way to explain the bizarre cabinet appointments Trump made, including:

  • Betsy DeVos who runs the education department despite having no experience in public education.
  • Ben Carson, a person who has no housing or urban development experience (or affinity) is now in charge of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Scott Pruitt runs the EPA despite denying climate science and suing the agency over a dozen times.
  • Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, who once famously campaigned on a pledge to eliminate the Department of Energy.

Might some of these people accepted positions they hated with the understanding that they’d soon play a role in undermining these departments altogether? Rather than sabotaging a governmental department for four to eight years, these appointees have the opportunity to damage their effectiveness permanently.

Setting aside potentially nefarious intentions, shouldn’t these appointees have a little more experience in their new roles before making a drastic decision over whether their department should continue to exist?

The good news is that there is some oversight. Just because Trump can sign an executive order requiring these agency reviews does not mean he has the authority to nix departments himself. In fact, he’ll need Congress to agree before he can make any major changes.

The question, then, is whether the Republican majorities in Congress will go along with Trump as they have with many of his other actions so far. On the one hand, they are proponents of smaller government who might like to see change. On the other hand, they are likely to face a lot of pressure from constituents not to dismantle longstanding governmental agencies on the whim of an extremely unpopular president.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

heather g
heather g2 years ago

The Orange Peril is deranged.

David F
David F2 years ago

Paul Carter confusingly says: Quote "CEOs do not need checks and balances or discussion they know they have screwed up when shares in the company lose significant value and the shareholders call out for them to be sacked."

Paul Carter, How is it they would become a CEO or remain a CEO if they "screw up"? Looking after the stockholder needs is looking after the retirement (401K) plans for millions of Americans. It's called Capitalism.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Katie & Bill,
Those are not the people that voted for Trump. They voted for Clinton. The poor and rich tended to vote for her. The middle voted for Trump. Most of middle America is not on government programs. The people that do not support paying higher taxes to fund government spending voted fro Trump. I am criticizing the validity of any of these programs, just detailing who are the recipients of these programs.

Katie & Bill D
Katie & Bill D2 years ago

TRUMPY HAS BEEN IN Nashville Tennessee, making more promises he will not keep. these are the people that Voted for him, he's taking away "meals'on wheel's, heating allotment's, more take a ways. Hope they realize this. The Health care plan he has got will hurt everyone but the Wealthy!

Paul Carter
Paul Carter2 years ago

The USA voted for a country to be run like a business. Businesses are run by a CEO who issues orders and his minions carry them out or are fired. CEOs do not need checks and balances or discussion they know they have screwed up when shares in the company lose significant value and the shareholders call out for them to be sacked. The POTUS is just looking at all the arms of the business that don't have a positive effect on the bottom line for him and his backers and is closing them down. What did you expect, that he would look after your needs? You surely aren't that naive?

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld2 years ago

Diversity also exists on the income front. The Democratic party represents those at both the extreme high and low ends of the income spectrum, while the Republican party represents middle America. Most government programs are geared to either extreme. Hence, the Democrats tend to favor bigger government, has they receive more benefits.

Amanda M
Amanda M2 years ago

I could say a lot about how Twitler and his minions are determined to turn this country into a far-Reich theocracy where the only people who will benefit will be rich white hetero Christian MEN (and before you jump on me about being racist, look at the racial and religious makeup of the Republicans in the Senate and House vs. the Democrats-you'll see which party truly represents the diversity America is supposed to be proud of!). The only reason I'm not is because so many of you beat me to it. Be afraid, people-be VERY afraid! Between Twitler's Cabinet appointments, the Rethuglican Religious Reich's insistence on throwing the ACA and the millions of people it helps under the bus, and Twitler's horrible budget cuts to programs that help ALL of America (and as I told my Trump-voting husband last night, the federal government being in charge of such programs means that ALL states benefit, not just those whose political leanings "match"), EVERYBODY stands to lose if this madness is allowed to continue.

Hey Canada, got room for one more family?

Virginia Miller
Virginia Miller2 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Debbi -
Debbi -2 years ago

So he finally admitted he intends to __Dismantle__, rip apart, dissolve agencies of our government. Hope this scares the crap out of everyone. Now will you google Nazi Germany 1930's??? You'd better. It could be OUR Future if we do not fight back.

Janet poses a good question but she hasn't considered armed Nazis flooding the streets to enforce whatever insane law Ruler or Tyrant Trump or Herr Drumpf decrees.

Trump has to go -- impeachment seems the most likely.