46th President of the United States

The Breakdown

The US president has different types of authority: He has powers granted by the constitution, powers granted by congress, implied powers, and soft powers.

Constitutional Power
  • Commander-in-chief of United States Armed Forces

    • directs military operations

    • deploy troops in foreign countries

    • launch nuclear weapons

  • Issue Executive Orders (rules, regulations or instructions for federal agencies)

  • Veto power of bills from congress

  • Appoint thousands of federal positions including heads of agencies like CIA or NASA

  • Clemency (Pardon of an acknowledged crime)

  • Head of foreign relations, including appointing diplomats

  • Call and adjourn special sessions of congress

Acts of Congress
  • During national emergencies, congress can grant presidential power to manage the economy and protect US security

  • All powers held by congress can be granted to the president through acts of congress

Implied Powers
  • Emergency Powers, or ability to seize extra powers during times of war, unrest or extraordinary situations

  • Executive privilege, or ability to withhold information from the public, congress, and courts in matters of national security or diplomatic relations.

Soft Powers
  • “Bully pulpit” or the idea that issues the President raises inevitably become a national public debate

  • The most important person in our nation's capital (influencing all matters of lawmaking and federal affairs)

  • One of the most famous and influential Americans

  • Ability to influence culture, foreign policy, and political values abroad

President Donald Trump
  • Owner of The Trump Organization, a group of 500 business entities

  • First president elected without any previous military or governmental service

  • Produced and hosted The Apprentice television show from 2003 to 2015

  • Wants to open schools for in-person learning to minimize economic damages to economy

  • Has been criticized for downplaying the severity of the virus 

  • Issued executive orders to extend unemployment assistance at $300 a month and created a payroll tax holiday

  • Created commission to review extent of voter fraud after 2016 election

  • Created task force to review USPS in lead up to 2020 election

  • Has taken a stance against mail-in ballots, citing fraud

  • Repealed the Obama-era individual mandate (the requirement for all to have insurance)

  • Declared opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency

Criminal Justice
  • Declared himself the “president of law and order”

  • Recommended that states deploy the National Guard in order to stop recent protests 

  • Signed The First Step Act into law which seeks to take small steps towards decreasing prison populations

  • Implemented family separation policy for families caught unlawfully crossing Mexico-US border

  • Declared a national emergency to secure funding for Mexico-US border wall

  • Reduced refugee ceiling from 110,000 (2016) to 18,000 (2020)

  • Exited Paris Agreement on climate change

  • Repealed 68 environmental protection policies related to air pollution, drilling, water pollution, toxic substances and animals

  • Actively working to repeal 32 more environmental protection policies

  • Only president to have removed more public lands than protected

Former Vice President
Joe Biden
  • US Senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009

  • As Vice President, oversaw infrastructure spending and negotiated tax relief and budget control in response to 2008 financial crisis

  • Led Gun Violence Task Force following Sandy Hook shooting

  • Calls for wide availability of free testing

  • Wants to eliminate cost barriers for preventative care and treatment of COVID-19

  • Plans to put economic measures in place to aid workers, families and businesses affected by the pandemic to stabilize economy

  • Plans to eliminate private donations from federal campaigns

  • Plans to strengthen prohibitions on foreign funding of campaigns

  • Has called for increased mail-in ballots in response to coronavirus concerns

  • Plans to expand ACA (Obamacare) by creating a Medicare-like public health care option

  • Plans to extend coverage to more Americans regardless of income and cap health insurance costs at 8.5% of family income

Criminal Justice
  • Plans to reinvigorate the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) with a $300 million investment

  • Would fight to put an end to mandatory minimums, private prisons and cash bail and support automatic expungement for marijuana offenses

  • As a Senator, authored the 1994 crime bill and pushed for mandatory minimum sentences

  • Will reverse remaining family separation policies

  • As Vice President, championed DACA and other family-oriented immigration policies

  • Plans to end national emergency funding for border wall

  • Will restore asylum laws that protect those fleeing persecution

  • Plans to build 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050

  • Will recommit to Paris Agreement

  • Vows to conserve 30% of US lands and waters by 2030

  • Promises to save consumers money through appliance and energy efficiency standards