If there had been any truth whatsoever to the left’s bleating claims that Donald Trump is a would-be authoritarian who will use any and every tool at his disposal to turn America into a totalitarian dictatorship, the once-in-a-lifetime coronavirus pandemic would have been just the event to prove those fears true. With the public frightened and dismayed about an invisible threat killing off thousands of people, the stage was perfectly set for Trump to assume emergency powers, make unprecedented orders, and turn himself to the most powerful president in United States history.
Instead, what did he do? He signed an executive order on Tuesday shrinking the government, waiving regulations, and handing off power to the private sector.
In remarks to the Daily Caller, one senior Trump administration official marveled that “this is the first time in living memory that a president has responded to a national crisis by deregulating instead of grabbing more power.”
The website spoke to Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought, who said, “Typically when our country has faced a crisis, Washington responds by grabbing more power. President Trump understands that to get the economy moving, the power needs to be given back to the people and entrepreneurs. If a bureaucratic rule needs to be suspended during a time of crisis to help the American people, we should ask ourselves if it makes sense to keep at all.”
Vought’s thoughts were echoed by Regulatory Affairs administrator Paul Ray, who said that the move to slash regulations was reflective of Trump’s take on the administrative state.
“From antiquity to the present day, emergencies have been used by those in authority to expand their power, too often at the expense of the liberty of the people,” Ray said. “But this President thinks about things differently. He has often attributed the unprecedented prosperity of the first three years of his Administration to the energy and ingenuity of everyday Americans, unleashed by deregulation and tax cuts.”
These gentlemen make excellent points that, really, go well beyond the specific Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery Executive Order. At every turn in his presidency, Trump has resisted any impulse he might have (or his critics might imagine) to gather more power for himself. Indeed, in the early days of this crisis, it was the left-wing media urging him to take over private companies and force them to do the bidding of the federal government. He used those powers with extraordinary reluctance, and only after extensive conversations with the companies involved.
Far from the 21st Century’s answer to Hitler, Trump has shown himself to be a true champion of liberty.
Alas, we’re sure the hysteria will continue unabated.