Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Presidential Executive Orders and the Constitution: What Can Trump Really Do?

What is an executive order and what can presidents such as Trump do with them?
            Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution describes the process for how a bill becomes a law.  The process requires both houses of Congress to pass legislation with identical language and for it to be signed by the president.  In the alternative, Congress by two-thirds majorities in both Houses can override a presidential veto to make something a law, and in some cases bills the president has not signed but not vetoed and returned to Congress may also become a law (if the president refuses to return a bill adopted in the last 10 days of a session, the president has exercised what is known as a pocket veto). Once a bill becomes a law it is legally binding, enforceable by the executive branch.
            Yet the congressional route is not the only way law is created.  Orders by the courts become binding and enforceable as law by the courts.  In some circumstances, orders issued by the President of the United States too carry the force of law.  These executive orders have been issued by presidents since the time George Washington became president, and over time they have been used by almost every president, often either with support or controversy.
            The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has several sources.  The first is in Article II, Section I, Clause 1,which vests in the president the executive power, and  Article II, Section 3, which requires that presidents “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”   While lacking precise definition, the executive power gives  presidents broad enforcement authority to use their discretion to determine how to enforce the law or to otherwise manage the resources and staff of the executive department.  Second, executive orders have a legal basis in power delegated by Congress to the president or executive department agencies.  Congress may delegate to the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, authority to make determinations about what constitutes clean air or water under the Clean Water Act of 1972 or Clean Air Act of 1973. This delegation power is subject to the constitutional limits outlined by a host of Supreme Court decision.
           Third, since the adoption of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in 1946, there is a complex process and structure for how administrative agencies and members of the executive branch can make rules and have then become legally binding.  Taken together, these constitutional clauses, specific congressional delegation, and the rule making process of the APA form the legal basis of presidential executive orders.
            With the exception of President William Henry Harrison who died barely a month after being sworn into office, every president has issued executive orders.  George Washington issued the first one, directing officers of the Articles of Confederation government to compose a report for his administration on the status or state of affairs of America.  Other famous orders included Thomas Jefferson ordering the Louisiana Purchase, James Knox Polk ordering the annexation of Texas, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Franklin Roosevelt ordering the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and John Kennedy creating the Peace Corps.  The numbering of executive orders began in 1907, and not until the Federal Registration Act of 1936 was there a formal process for recording executive orders.  Prior to 1936 and 1907 executive orders were issued less formally.
            From 1789 to the end of the Obama presidency there have been nearly 14,000 executive orders. Franklin Roosevelt holds the record with 3,721 orders, with second place going to Woodrow Wilson at 1,803, and third place to Calvin Coolidge with 1,203.  Among recent presidents, Bill Clinton issued 364, George Bush 291, and Barack Obama fill in.  The American Presidency Project at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php maintains a list of all executive orders.
            In the last several years, partisan and political gridlock between Congress and the president has led the latter into using executive orders as a way of addressing issues or creating rules of laws in the absence of explicit congressional action.  The Obama Administration through the EPA issued rules regulating carbon emissions. Yet in Murray Energy Company v. Environmental Protection Agency,      U.S.,      ;136 S.Ct. 999; 194 L.Ed.2d 18 (2016) in a suit brought by more than two dozen states and several utility company, the Supreme Court in a 5-3 vote issued a stay on the rules pending review by the Court of Appeals.  In United States v. Texas,      ___ U.S.     ; 136 S.Ct. 2271 (2016), the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 and issued a per curiam decision that upheld a lower decision that issued an injunction to prevent enforcement of an executive order or program entitled Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), which would provide legal presence for illegal immigrants who were parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents.  This decision effectively ended President Obama’s effort to use an executive order to effect immigration reform.  The lower court decision is provided in this book.
      While many criticize executive orders as a way to circumvent Congress and the separation of powers process, there is no question that these orders are a major part of federal executive power that is unlikely to disappear in the future.  However, as should be clear, presidents are not kings and do not have any inherent power to issue orders.  Their authority must come from the Constitution or law, subject to limits.  Nor are presidents like Captain Pikard able simply to say “Make it so” and it will happen.  Once presidents do issue executive orders they carry the binding force of law and they are hard to repeal or undue.  This  will make it difficult for Trump to undo except a very few of Obama’s recent executive orders.  Conversely, moving forward , any of Trump’s orders will have to follow a specific process to have the force of law, and there are many things he simply cannot order.
Finally, when one looks at the executive orders Trump has already issued, they really are so vague and general that they really do not do anything.  His first on Obamacare did not really order anyone to do anything, and the executive order on the Mexican wall too was vacuous and could not really command anything, especially when it required an appropriation of money that Trump did not have.  In many cases these “executive orders” seem more like press releases or public relations than real legally-binding executive orders.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The case against billing protesters

Today's blog appeared originally in the Pioneer Press.

Respect for individual rights is the hallmark of a constitutional democracy such as the United States. Among the most sacred of those rights are the expressive ones found in the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech, press, petition, and association. Free societies require free expression, including the ability of individuals to protest government action they find wrong. That is why legislation aimed at billing protesters for the costs of policing when they break the law in a nonviolent fashion is ethically and constitutionally wrong.
The price of a free society is permitting and respecting individuals’ rights to express their views through civil disobedience, including peaceful breaking of the law. America’s independence begins with an act of civil disobedience when colonists in 1773 dumped tea in Boston harbor to protest an unjust British tax. It includes abolitionists Henry David Thoreau who challenged slavery by refusing to pay taxes, civil rights advocates who sat at lunch counters and at the front of buses to contest Jim Crow laws, and pro-life individuals who blocked the entrances of abortion clinics to defend the rights of the unborn. Not all of us necessarily agree with their causes, but those who broke these laws were not common criminals. Common criminals are individuals who break the law for personal gain, with the intent to harm others, or simply for the sake of breaking the law. Protesters who break the law do so for different reasons and should be treated differently than common criminals.
Protesters break the law to demonstrate that a law is unjust, or that the government is acting wrongly or unconstitutionally. They break the law to appeal to the sense of morality or justice of the political community, demanding the government or others to recognize the injustice and correct it. The power of civil disobedience is the willingness of individuals to face punishment for a cause, testing both the content of their character and the courage of their convictions that they believe are moral and political wrongs. This is not mere hooliganism, it is a patriotic act of political action, aimed at invoking the deeply held constitutional values of American society, demanding that the current law or practices be changed.
Such activity is critical to the functioning of a free society as the United States. Such protest is consistent with and furthers the constitutional morality upon which this nation was founded.
That is why legislation aimed at billing individuals for the costs of their protests is wrong.
Across the country and in Minnesota elected officials are introducing bills that would do that, or enhancing penalties for breaking the law when protesting. Even if the laws were limited to billing individuals convicted of breaking the law, that is still wrong. In cases where the validity of the laws is doubtful one should never bill protesters for civil disobedience because such activity serves to chill expressive rights. It is an effort to squash the ability of individuals to act in ways to draw attention to unjust or unconstitutional activity and thereby prevent social and political change.
Even in cases where the law is clear and protesters have clearly broken the law, yes, in many cases they should be charged and convicted for breaking the law, but they should not be billed for policing or face enhanced penalties. These protesters are not criminals as defined above; they are challenging laws for ethical and constitutional purposes. Even in violating laws that are valid they perform an important function in exposing wrong. Imagine if abolitionists were billed for policing, or if Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were assessed. American society is better for their actions, our constitutional system is stronger, our respect for individual rights more entrenched, and our respect for human dignity furthered.
These laws establish bad precedents. Why not bill for the cost of police protection for the 100,000 who marched in St Paul against Donald Trump or for the thousands who showed up for his airport rally last November? Assess a process fee for petitions submitted to the government? Bill the press for time government officials spend answering their questions? These acts are core to a free society and billing for them would damage First Amendment rights.
The price of a free society is respecting differences of opinion. It recognizes that dissent – including breaking the law – is often capable of being more ethical and just than blindly and passively obeying it. In some cases, breaking the law invokes and promotes a shared sense of ethics that underlies the legal regime of the United States. That is why it would be wrong to treat protesters as mere criminals and force them to pay for the exercise of their First Amendment rights.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Donald Trump and the End of America’s Century

Donald Trump’s call to place “America first” as he declared in his inaugural speech is propelling him
into direct conflict with his campaign slogan to “Make America great again.”  Already in his first week in office he has undertaken a series of actions that do more to weaken rather than strengthen the United States.
It was Time publisher Henry Luce who proclaimed in a 1941 Life Magazine editorial that the twentieth century would be the “American Century.”  And to a large extent it became so after World War II and then clearly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.  In the former case the USA emerged from WW II as the strongest country in the world, in the latter, it was ,as Francis Fukuyama declared in The End of History and the Last Man, because of its dominance as the last standing superpower in the world that had won the Cold War and the battle for ideological ideas.
America’s  strength was not just measured by military might but also by being the  richest and largest economy in the world.  America’s power was also measured by it cultural exporting of its values, it role as the leader of the free world, the leading democracy, and moral leader of the world.  Its willingness to engage in alliances, trade, and political adventures across the world gave it what historian Paul Kennedy in the Rise and Fall of Great Powers the soft power to be great.  To be a world leader the USA had to be hegemonic, and it was.
But the worlds of 1946, 1989, or 1991 are far different than the one that exists today.  The  political world is not bi or monopolar but multipolar.  The EU has a larger GDP and economy than the US, as does China.  Whether anyone likes it or not, the global economy is global as Thomas Friedman pointed to in The World is Flat, with a degree of global interconnectedness that in many ways is impossible to reverse.  And the USA is no longer the best educated, most technologically advanced, or singularly-dominant country in the world.   The USA is a first nation among rivals and friends, and America’s ability to remain a leader resides in adapting to a changing world and continuing to engage with others.
This is what Trump fails to understand.  Whatever “Making America Great Again” means  it is impossible and perhaps undesirable to turn the clock back to some halcyon days of old the US dominated the world, when White guys worked in union scale manufacturing and mining jobs that built  cars, steel, and dug coal, and women stayed home and dressed in heels and skirts like Donna Reed while raising 2.3 children.  That world does not exist anymore and no matter what one does, it is not coming back.  The same is true internationally, especially if Trump continues along the path he has already taken.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Trump. LL Bean, and American Politics in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

The politicization of LL Bean is only the latest in the ongoing culture war in the United States.
Here, because of contributions by an heir and one of the board members to LL Bean who has supported Trump have  been attributed to the company itself, it has led to a boycott against the company among some who dislike Trump.  It did not help that Trump tweeted endorsement for LL Bean and encouraged consumers to support it. Earlier in the week it was the Golden Globes and Meryl Streep v. Streep.   Both instances point to the politicization and polarization of practically everything in American society.  How did this happen?  The simple answer lies in how our culture has been stripped of its independence and captured by economics.  This is exactly what Walter Benjamin predicted and described.
Walter Benjamin was a pre-World War II social and political critic who was part of the German Critical School.   One of the most influential essays he ever wrote–and well known to many in the arts and cultural theory–was his “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  Here he argued that t he capacity to mass reproduce original art changed it.    Market reproduction and sale of art would strip the original “aura” or context of an object and art, placing it within a new context and thereby change its meaning also.  Context for art, means everything.  The recently deceased John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is classic in pointing to this, and much of Andy Warhol’s  art–such as with Campbells Soup cans–also articulates how stripping objects out of their original context can convey new meanings.
But Benjamin’s essay asks if mass reproduction of art has striped art of its aura, what has replaced it?  Politics.  He saw in fascism the merger of politics and aesthetics.  But Benjamin’s arguments about art’s reproducability is not simply about art.  His deeper critique is also about the power of market forces to transform the world.  It was Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto who declared of the power of capitalism to render “ All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.”  For Marx the commodification of all of life–work, home, family, and the arts–is what made for part of the class war.  Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci in his Prison Notebooks noted the same phenomena–the use of cultural landmarks as lines in the hegemonic  political wars over class struggles. Capitalization would eviscerate the walls the distinguished what Daniel Bell argued in the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism  once described as the three distinct spheres of culture–politics, economics, and civil society.  Everything would be commodified, everything politicized.  If as political theorist Michael Walzer once argued that the essence of modern society was the art of separation–ensuring that we draw limits on various activities and institutions–we no longer see that separation.
The politicization of everything as it plays out in the United States seems less class-based  and more partisan.  It was brought on by the failure of our society, in part, to put firm fire walls in place that separate the economic marketplace from the political marketplace.  Allowing for personal  wealth to translate into political influence, letting corporations make political expenditures, and permitting businesses and corporations to speak as if they were real persons, all have contributed to this. But the same is true in letting pop culture and its icons make political statements or use art for political purposes.  Of course the First Amendment protects that right but the side effect is that everything has become or potentially could become a political statement.
Thus, there is nothing now that is not politicized along partisan lines.  Driving Suburu cars versus snow mobiles, shopping at Whole Foods versus eating at Cracker Barrel, watching Duck Dynasty v. Modern Family, all of the are predictors of partisanship as much as registering or voting Democrat or Republican.  In many cases, these fights are side shows, diversions for more fundamental issues that actually should be fought and addressed; yet people become so consumed with the sideshow they ignore the deeper problems of poverty, racism, sexism, and unequal divisions of political and economic power that are the real sources of division in America today.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Trump Meets Reality: Why his presidency will be weaker than many hoped or feared

            One of the ironies of American politics is that while the US presidency is arguably the most powerful elected position in the world, the office is also surprisingly weak.  As Donald Trump prepares to take office he may be surprised that for all that he says he wants to do, he may be less power to accomplish them than he and his supporters hoped, or his detractors feared.    The truth is that there are many constraints on US presidential power, dictated by the Constitution and the reality of American politics, international relations, and the precedents set by his predecessors.
            Richard Neustadt’s 1960 Presidential Power arguably endures as the single best book every written on the American presidency.  It opens with a quote from Harry Truman in 1952, offering advice to the incoming president and former general Dwight Eisenhower: “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army. He’ll find it very frustrating.”  Neustadt’s use of the Truman quote was to underscore a reality of the American president who cannot simply order people about like kings or business CEOs.  Instead the power of the presidency is the power to persuade.
            Article II of the US Constitution defines the formal constitutional powers of the president that have not changed since George Washington.  But as Neustadt and James David Barber in his President Character contend, it the personality or character of the person who is president, along with a host of other factors that define the ability of presidents to persuade Congress, the media, foreign countries, and the American people to follow them.    These factors include rhetorical and media skills, margins of political victory, knowledge and experience of government, public support, the strength of political opposition, and perhaps the overall likeablity of the persons.  Presidential power is to the power to persuade, but that persuasive power is a form of bargaining power.  Some presidents such as Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan were powerful because of these factors.
            From the New Deal until perhaps recently there was a fear of what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., termed the “imperial presidency.”  Born of the New Deal regulatory state and the reality of the Cold War and Vietnam, presidents were viewed as dangerously powerful and prone to abuse their authority, as did Richard Nixon.  But we are a long way from days of the imperial presidency and as Stephen Skowronek points out in Presidential Leadership in Political Time: Reprise and Reappraisal, context too demarcates the limits of presidential power.  Today, as a result of Supreme Court decisions–many of which clipped Obama’s power when it came to executive orders and Bill Clinton when it came to issues about legal accountability for personal behavior–Trump inherits a far weaker office than it was a generation ago.
            Soon if not already Trump is about to confront this reality.  He and his supporters and his detractors seem to have forgotten that there is this thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights which defines the power of the presidency.  Both contain concepts such as separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and the basic rights and liberties which presidents cannot violate.  There are some things President Trump cannot do alone with executive orders or even with legislation. He cannot order states and cities around, he cannot order citizens to do things that are illegal.  And even though Congress is of the same party as he is and he will get to appoint federal judges and a new Supreme Court justice, the logic of the political system that the American constitutional framers designed is one that is resistant to sudden and dramatic change.  Congress and the Supreme Court will have their own institutional identities and interests that will make them resistant to being ordered around by President Trump.
            Moreover, while the attraction of many to Trump was him being an outsider, yet unskilled in Washington politics will make it hard to govern.  President Jimmy Carter was an outsider whose presidency was compromised by his lack of Washington skills even though he was a governor.  Trump does not even have that and many of his senior appointees lack that too. They will soon find themselves out maneuvered by the federal bureaucracy, the senior executive service, and all the others who really run the government and know how to make it work.
            So long as Trump continues to fight the reality of American politics he will get nowhere.  Conversely, as the confirmation hearings are starting to show, in areas such as foreign affairs and intelligence gathering there is a powerful establishment and bureaucracy that will crush Trump if he does not learn how to work with them.  Presidents really have little freedom to change the course of American foreign affairs, with the best predictor of what a new president will do is to look at the previous one.  Besides the constraints of domestic politics, international contexts such as real politics and the support or opposition of allies and enemies dictate narrow courses of action for any president.
            All of the above suggests that Trump is about ready to be inaugurated and confront reality.  He will have to operate in a context that would limit any president.  But now also consider that he is a minority president who did not win the popular vote and had one of the narrowest electoral college victories in history.  He was never popular as a candidate with nearly 60% disapproving of him, and recent polls suggest an approval rating of 37%.  Presidents normally are sworn in with lots of good will, Trump will not have that. He enters a weakened office as a weakened president, lacking the traits that Neustadt, Barber, and Skowronek describe as key to presidential success.   It is not an imperial presidency located in Trump Tower that Trump inherits, but a weak office that can do far less to produce jobs, force Mexico to build a wall and pay for it, and abrogate unilaterally trade agreements without facing political and legal problems.    

            He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Donald—it won’t be a bit like The Apprentice. He’ll find it very frustrating.”  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Donald Trump's Coup

Note:  On June 30, 2015, I posted this work of political fiction as my blog.  I thought it would be fun to repost  and see how much I got right and wrong.  Thoughts?

It was not so much that he made America great again, but when Donald Trump was elected president on November 8, 2016 he transformed the United States in ways that few, including he, could have imagined.
Right from the start establishment politicians and pundits just never understand Trump.  He was consistently derided as having no chance.  First it was that his repeated insults against John McCain, Megyn Kelly and women, immigrants, or Muslims that would doom him. But with each insult his fame only grew.  Then it was the claim that he could not win in Iowa but he did.  Or that his loss in Wisconsin would doom him.  Or that his tirades against the media, his name calling of Hillary Clinton, or even selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate would surely kill his campaign.  Back in June of 2016  as stories mounted about how little money he had raised, or that Clinton had double digit leads in some polls, he was still dismissed.  Nat Silver, the whiz kids of political money ball, said that Trump had barely a 20% chance of winning and who could doubt the person who had so brilliantly declared that Clinton was a cinch to win the Michigan primary .
Even as late as the July Republican convention, despite the riots and arrests outside and one final push by party elites to use the rules to oust him, some thought that Trump would not get the nomination.  But he did.
Trump’s success was in exploiting fear, prejudice, and ignorance.  These are the core elements of what most advertising does–appeal out our vanity insecurities,  and fears.  Trump as the consummate  salesman understood that.  But he also exploited the failures of the Republican and Democratic parties which for the last generation or more has sold the public on free trade, globalization, and open borders, saying that it would benefit us all.  Somewhere along the way these promises did not add up and mainstream national journalists, living in New York City, socializing on the upper east side, and vacationing in the Hamptons, for some reason just did not realize that average people were not reaping the benefits of NAFTA and free trade.  Perhaps they were too busy attending or covering the six figure speeches Hillary Clinton was giving to Wall Street to notice that most people were making less money now while working harder than they did twenty years ago.  Yes as F Scott Fitzgerald once said, the rich are different–they do have more money–but with money comes attitude and Trump played on resentment toward them and the elitism that they, the media, and the Washington establishment all represented.
Trump also understood they way that politics and entertainment had converged.  Politicians  no longer campaigned and the media no longer covered politics–both were marketed.  Trump understood the for-profit spectacle that politics had become and which the news industry wished to deny but depended on. He knew that CNN, MSNBC, and the rest could not resist a good headline and that if he dropped a comment–no matter how outrageous–the media would pick it up and it would fill the news cycle for an entire day.  Trump thus understood how getting headlines for him also meant the media  would get ratings.  They were trapped, and forced to market the presidential elections on Trump’s terms.
But Trump also benefited from running against for many a hugely unpopular and uninspiring candidate who was the face of the establishment and status quo in a year where   neither was a plus.  Clinton struggled to win the Democratic nomination against an aging self-described socialist who  never considered himself a Democrat until he decided to run for president.  Clinton should have easily defeated him, but her difficulties revealed how poor of a candidate she was.  She started a race with 70% approvals and a 50%+ lead over Sanders only to see it disappear.  Some of it yes was sexism.  No doubt there is about 30% of Americans who will never vote for a woman and thus Clinton faced problems from the start.  But she also had many other problems they were not the result of sexism but self-inflicted.
At the end of the day Clinton had no narrative for her campaign.  It was all about breaking the glass ceiling and being the first female president.  That did not cut it with young people, including women, who preferred someone who shared their politics and not simply their gender.  Additionally, whatever narrative Clinton had was one that was either too conservative for an emerging Millennial generation of voters, or one that harkened back to her husband.  In so many ways she was still running, as she did in 2008, for Bill’s third term.  Yet times had changed and what was once thought of as good public policy in the 90s was no long seen the same in 2016.
Hillary–a once youthful Republican turned New Democrat turned sort of progressive during the 2016 primaries and then back to a centrist Democrat who tried to appeal to Republican voters–was perplexed why no one trusted her.  This perplexity was also shared by her core supporters–women over 40–who saw in every criticism of her sexism.  Yet what was also perplexing  in the campaign was why Democrats supported her, let alone women or even people of color.  Clinton  who supported the death penalty, fracking, TPP and globalization , and a militaristic foreign policy, (at least until the primaries), and in the past who supported welfare reform, her husband’s crime bill, and oppose marriage equality until recently, hardly seemed like someone who Democrat or women should support.  Given her positions, it is wonder why she was a Democrat and why so many women who considered themselves progressives supported her beyond the fact that she was a woman. Clinton had a narrative problem along with an identity problem–voters did not trust her and did not like her for sexist and legitimate policy reasons.
Yet Clinton was supposed to win according to pundits and politicians.  But she did not.  She selected Tim Kaine from Virginia and played conventional politics in a year when the normal rules of politics changed.  Similar to Frank Skeffington in the Last Hurrah who never understood how the  New Deal had changed politics and therefore was clueless to how the old rules of campaigning had changed.  Clinton campaigned like it was 1992 again, just like she did in 2008.
The election came down to a core of swing states again, with Ohio and Florida again decisive.  The media and Clinton were distracted by Trump’s huge negatives and by how well she was doing in the popular vote and fund raising comparatively.  She went toe-to-toe negative campaigning but in the end Trump was able to dig deeper, go nastier, and insult better than her. He knew fear, prejudice, and ignorance would make the difference.  Benghazi, her e-mails, and all the other rumors around her stuck along with the image of Crooked Hillary.    In the end, Clinton, like Gore in 2000, won the popular vote by racking up huge majorities in Democrat states, but she lost among swing voters in swing states, handing the Trump-Palin ticket  an Electoral College victory.
Trump’s January 20, inauguration and swearing in were a made for TV event.  The inauguration ball and swearing in was held at the Trump International Hotel at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, newly remodeled and just down the street from the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania  Ave. The cost of doing both was billed to the taxpayers and Trump of course profited from it, serving also Trump champagne and steaks. At his swearing in he also announced that Air Force 1 would be sold to save tax payer money, replaced with a Trump charter jet that would be rented by the government from him.
Trump’s inaugural speech–or rant–was exactly what was expected from him.  He said that his first order of business would be to expel all Muslims from the US, along with deporting all immigrants from Mexico. He also renounced NAFTA and all the free trade agreements with China and issued a 40% tariff on their goods.    He issued orders suspending enforcement of Obamacare and declared all EPA orders null and void. Palin was put in charge of a special task force on energy and the environment, and he declared all federal lands open to mining and drilling for oil. Drill Baby  Drill was now the official policy of America.
Trump thought he could simply push through want he wanted but with a Republican House and Senate that flipped to the Democrats, he found that they were less they willing to do his bidding.  He insulted in bipartisan fashion but it did little good.  As the economy began to tank Trump saw his approval rating slip more.  Legal challenges to his orders and actions mounted, coming from both Congress and citizens.  The cases began to choke the federal courts, necessitating Supreme Court review.  But since the death of Scalia the Court was operating one justice shy and it did not look as if Trump was going to be able to get through his judicial appointments.
But whatever one can say about Trump he finally achieved the impossible–he got the Democrats and Republicans to agree on one thing–his impeachment.  Fed up quickly with his presidency there was bipartisan agreement to impeach him.  By the time Trump was to be impeached Palin had already resigned.  Trump was without a vice-president and his impeachment was for self-dealing and disregarding the Constitution and the Supreme Court which had declared many of his act illegal.  This left Paul Ryan as the successor.  Except Trump refused to leave office, defying both the Congress and the Courts.
But Trump’s troubles did not stop there.  Following up on comments he made during the campaign, he ordered th US out of NATO. He ordered troops out of Japan and South Korea, and he torn up the nuclear agreement with Iran.  Early on  much of the career diplomatic staff at the State Department had resigned, leaving the US with few trained officials.  Trump named almost all of his friends as ambassadors, but they shared a common Trump trait–no diplomatic tact.  Soon the US was rhetorically fighting with everyone–even Great Britain who elected their own Trump like figure after Brexit, and President Le Pen in France. Tensions escalated in the Middle East as reaction to the Muslim US ban kicked in and domestic and international terrorist attacks against the US mounted.  Tensions with Iran, China, and North Korea reached a fever pitch, and finally Trump began talking  about nuclear weapons to be used to resolve all these disputes.
Finally the day came, July 4, to be exact.   Trump ordered the military leaders to act or face removal. With the Joint Chiefs of Staff worried about what Trump would do next, and seeing that Congress and the Courts were unable to restrain him, they did they only thing they thought patriotic to save the United States.