CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Trump Isn’t the First Presidential Power Grabber

American Chief Executives Have Always Tried to Act as They Wish. But Has the Practice Gone Too Far?

King George III imposed taxation on the American colonies without representation. Franklin D. Roosevelt unilaterally exiled Japanese Americans to internment camps. Barack Obama declared his intent to bypass a perpetually gridlocked Congress by exercising executive power: “I have a phone and I have a pen.” Since the earliest days of the United States, America’s commanders-in-chief have sought to increase their power to act as they pleased—despite the objections of Congress, the rulings of courts, or the wishes of the public. But now, under President Donald Trump, that long-simmering trend is reaching a boiling point that some believe could threaten the separation of powers and undermine the nation’s cherished system of checks and balances. On Tuesday night, an overflow crowd at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles turned out for a lively Zócalo/UCLA event in which an expert …