Trump, the Administrative Presidency, and Federalism

Frank J. Thompson,
Kenneth K. Wong,
Barry G. Rabe
Year of publication
Brookings Institution Press

How Trump has used administrative powers to pursue his policy goals

The presidency of Donald Trump has been unique in many respects. His abrasive personal style, disregard for conventional norms of civil society, and disrespect for factual information are familiar to everyone.

Less familiar are the ways in which Trump has attempted to reverse the policies of his predecessor and advance positions that lack widespread support in Congress.

Trump has been particularly aggressive in the use of executive power, or the “administrative presidency,” to pursue his goals, including executive orders and regulatory changes.

This book analyzes the dynamics and unique qualities of Trump’s administrative presidency in healthcare, climate change, and education. In each of these policy spheres, the Trump administration pursued hostile takeovers in which White House policy goals were advanced through administrative action rather than legislation.

The authors show how Trump took unprecedented steps to undermine and otherwise reshape domestic policy programs through executive action. But the book also emphasizes how the forces of federalism, especially state attorneys general,governors, and legislatures, have often undercut Trump’s executive initiatives and reduced their impact on who gets what from government in the healthcare, climate, and education arenas.

Suggested Citation

Thompson, F.J., Wong, K.K., & Rabe, B.G. (2020). Trump, the Administrative Presidency, and Federalism. . Brookings Institution Press