A quick guide to every executive action Trump has taken
The 45th president has signed 19 executive actions so far, with far-reaching effects on Americans' lives.
While many of them have been billed as executive orders in the popular vernacular, most of them were technically presidential memoranda or proclamations.The three types of executive actions have different authority and effects, with executive orders holding the most prestige:
- Executive orders are assigned numbers and published in the federal register, similar to laws passed by Congress, and typically direct members of the executive branch to follow a new policy or directive.
- Presidential memoranda do not have to be published or numbered (though they can be), and usually delegate tasks that Congress has already assigned the president to members of the executive branch.
- Finally, while some proclamations - like President Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation - have carried enormous weight, most are ceremonial observances of federal holidays or awareness months.
Scholars have typically used the number of executive orders per term to measure how much presidents have exercised their power. George Washington only signed eight his entire time in office, according to the American Presidency Project, while FDR penned over 3,700.
In his two terms, President Barack Obama issued 277 executive orders, a total number on par with his modern predecessors, but the lowest per year average in 120 years.