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Trump’s Fast Start Using Executive Actions: QuickTake Q&A

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Trump Urges GOP to Move Fast on His Agenda

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As often happens at the start of a presidency, Donald Trump is making full use of the unilateral powers he now wields. By the end of his first full week, he had issued 14 executive actions -- orders and memoranda -- which can instantly change the course of American governance without any involvement by Congress. Use of such presidential directives ballooned in the early-to-mid 20th century. Some critics worry they can be overused, even abused, by the inhabitant of the White House.

It’s a signed directive from the president that can guide operations of the federal government and carry the force of law. The most formal and best known is the executive order. Presidents also can issue memoranda, to direct administrative matters, and proclamations, which can address ceremonial matters (like federal observances) or substantive ones (like trade policy).