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Flashback: Before signing 37 executive actions​ Biden said, 'We need consensus,' and dictators rule by executive orders

 President Joe Biden has signed 24 executive orders and 37 presidential actions in his first week in power. However, during his campaign run, Biden contradictorily stated that democracy needs "consensus" of the people, and those who govern by executive orders are "dictators."


On Oct. 15, only weeks before the election, then-candidate Joe Biden participated in an ABC News town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Biden and ABC News host George Stephanopoulos discussed raising the corporate tax and increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Stephanopoulos asked if Biden's tax increases will happen soon after he gets in office, and he responded, "I've got to get the votes. I got to get the votes."

"I have this strange notion. We are a democracy," Biden said with a smirk.

"Some of my Republican friends and some of my Democratic friends even occasionally say, 'Well, if you can't get the votes by executive order, you're going to do something.' Things you can't do by executive order unless you're a dictator," Biden enunciated.

"We're a democracy," Biden proclaimed at the time. "We need consensus."

Flash forward to his first week in office, and President Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, many of which reverse former President Donald Trump's policies. Biden's executive actions have targeted climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, mask mandates, travel bans, immigration, student loans, transgender issues, and the Keystone XL pipeline.

The number of presidential actions has been unprecedented, as noted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Last week, Rubio blasted President Biden over the barrage of executive orders he had signed.

"Number one, he has issued more executive fiats than anyone in such a short period of time, ever," Rubio said. "More than Obama, more than Trump, anyone."

In the first week of their presidencies, here's how many executive orders the last eight presidents had issued:

  • President Joe Biden: 24 executive orders
  • President Donald Trump: 4 executive orders
  • President Barack Obama: 5 executive orders
  • President George W. Bush: 0 executive orders
  • President Bill Clinton: 2 executive orders
  • President George H.W. Bush: 1 executive order
  • President Ronald Reagan: 0 executive orders
  • President Jimmy Carter: 1 executive order

In his first two days as president, Biden had already signed more executive orders than Trump did in nearly two months in office, according to The Economist.

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee slammed Biden for the explosion of presidential actions out of the gate.

"30 executive orders and actions signed in only 3 days' time," Blackburn tweeted on Tuesday.

"@POTUS, you can't govern with a pen and a phone," Blackburn said, a reference to former President Barack Obama's notable quote from 2014 about using executive orders to advance his agenda in spite of an uncooperating Congress.

Here is how many executive orders past presidents have issued in their time at the White House:

  • President Donald Trump: 220 executive orders (1 Term) - 55 per year
  • President Barack Obama: 276 executive orders (2 Terms) - 35 per year
  • President George W. Bush: 291 executive orders (2 Terms) - 36 per year
  • President Bill Clinton: 364 executive orders (2 Terms) - 46 per year
  • President George H.W. Bush: 166 executive orders (1 Term) - 42 per year
  • President Ronald Reagan: 381 executive orders (2 Terms) - 48 per year
  • President Jimmy Carter: 320 executive orders (1 Term) - 80 per year

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