'It would be chaotic': How Trump plans to annihilate checks and balances if he wins in 2024
Critics of former President Donald Trump have been warning that if he wins the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and goes on to defeat President Joe Biden in the general election, his second term would be even worse than the first.
Trump still has considerable animosity for all the ex-members of his administration he believes were disloyal and let him down — including conservative Republicans who served as vice president (Mike Pence), national security adviser (John Bolton), attorney general (Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions) and secretary of state (Rex Tillerson). During a second term, critics warn, Trump would be sure to only nominate unquestioning loyalists.
But the dangers that a second Trump term would pose, according to the New York Times, go beyond picking obedient, unquestioning MAGA Republicans for his administration.
In an article published on July 17, New York Times reporters Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage and Maggie Haberman detail some ways in which would Trump would remodel the United States' federal government in order to undermine its system of checks and balances.
The journalists emphasize that "Trump and his allies" are "planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025." That includes "reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands" and changing "the balance of power by increasing the president's authority over every part of the federal government that now operates, by either law or tradition, with any measure of independence from political interference by the White House."
Swan, Savage and Haberman explain, "Mr. Trump intends to bring independent agencies — like the Federal Communications Commission, which makes and enforces rules for television and internet companies, and the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces various antitrust and other consumer protection rules against businesses — under direct presidential control…. He intends to strip employment protections from tens of thousands of career civil servants, making it easier to replace them if they are deemed obstacles to his agenda. And he plans to scour the intelligence agencies, the State Department and the defense bureaucracies to remove officials he has vilified as 'the sick political class that hates our country.'"
According to the New York Times reporters, Trump and his loyalists have been openly discussing these plans and outlining them in "white papers." They embrace "the unitary executive theory," which "rejects the idea that the government is composed of three separate branches with overlapping powers to check and balance each other."
Former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly is among the many ex-members of Trump's administration who the former president now rails against.
Kelly, discussing Trump's goals for a second administration, told the Times, "It would be chaotic. It just simply would be chaotic, because he'd continually be trying to exceed his authority, but the sycophants would go along with it. It would be a nonstop gunfight with the Congress and the courts."
The New York Times' full report is available at this link (subscription required).
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