Flashback: When Joe Biden said only dictators legislate via executive orders

Politicians saying one thing and doing another is a story as old as, well… politics. Some examples are a bit more egregious than others, however. Take for example the burgeoning raft of executive orders being signed by President Biden during his first week in office. Did you know that there was a time when Status Quo Joe didn’t really sound like a fan of circumventing the normal legislative process and ruling by the pen and the phone? Yes, yes… I know what you’re thinking. It’s really not fair to dig up some dusty old quote from a politician that was given when they were much younger. People’s opinions and attitudes can change over time, right? So let’s see. When did Joe Biden complain about how wrong it was to take such actions? Oh, here it is. It was way back in… last October. (Trending Politics)

But one Democrat did speak out: Joe Biden, the candidate, in October.

“I have this strange notion, we are a democracy … if you can’t get the votes … you can’t [legislate] by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus,” he told George Stephanopoulos.

So much for consensus in a democracy, I suppose. But the story actually gets even worse from there. Breitbart has been tracking not only the executive orders of President Biden during his first week in office, but those of his predecessors. By the end of his first full week, Biden had signed 32 executive orders, and that’s not even counting all of the proclamations and memoranda. (NBC News has the full list here as of last night.) And he’s promising many more in various “themes” in the days to come.

So how does that stack up against the previous “dictatorial” president he complained so bitterly about and those who came before him? During their first week in office:

  • Donald Trump signed four executive orders in 2017
  • Barack Obama signed five executive orders in 2009
  • George W. Bush signed zero executive orders in 2001
  • Bill Clinton signed one executive order in 1993.

So Joe Biden signed three times as many executive orders during his first week in office as his four most recent predecessors combined. The linked report goes on to note that the American Presidency Project at the University of California Santa Barbara confirms that no American president has ever signed this many executive orders during their first week in the history of the country. Biden is even ahead of FDR, who was unusually “active” during his first week.

So if Joe Biden felt that Donald Trump’s use of executive orders made him a “dictator,” what do these numbers say about him? Should we be calling him “the new Pol Pot?”