Trump vs Obama: Executive Orders

Donald Trump has been a long-time critic of President Obama’s executive orders having given interviews and speeches on the subject.  He even at one point tweeted, “Why is @BarackObama constantly issuing executive orders” (Trump Twitter).

Let’s take some time to look into how many executive orders Trump has since signed as President compared to Obama, and other former Presidents.

Trump Compared to Obama

As of February 24, 2017, President Trump has signed 13 executive orders (  President Obama in his first term signed 147 executive orders.  In Obama’s second term he signed 129 executive orders.  Averaging the numbers together… on average Obama issued 138 executive orders per term and 34.5 executive orders each year (

February 24th marks Trump’s 36th day in office, or 9.9% of his first year in office.  36 days into the Presidency, Trump has issued 38% as many executive orders as Obama did on average each year.  If Trump were to continue to issue orders at this pace he would issue 132 executive orders over the course of his first year in office.  That would mean Trump would issue more executive orders than Barrack Obama enacted in his entire second term and a 400% as many executive orders as President Obama per year.(

Based on this information, although Donald Trump was against Obama issuing executive orders , but much like Trump’s negative opinions on Obama’s vacation spending, Trump seems to be the bigger offender in this area

Trump Compared to Other Presidents

To further investigate let’s see where the former President Obama and President Trump line up against other Presidents in the number of executive orders that they issued.

According to the Executive Orders Disposition Tables Index, to find last President to have a higher average than Trump’s currently projected 132 orders per year we would have to go back to 1933 when Franklin D. Roosevelt started his term and issued a whopping 307.8 executive orders per year average.

Presidents executive orders issued per year from FDR to president day are as follows:

Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Richard Nixon Gerald Ford
Orders per Year 307.8 116.7 60.5 75.4 62.9 62.3 69.1
Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan George H. W. Bush Bill Clinton George W. Bush Barack Obama Donald Trump
Orders per Year 80 47.6 41.5 45.5 36.4 34.6 132


The average orders issued per year as President starting with FDR was 83.24.  President Obama issued 34.6 orders per year.  Compared to the average, Obama issued 58% less as many orders than the average President; or less than half.

President Trump is currently projecting average of 132 executive orders a year which puts Donald Trump on a pace to issue 157% as many executive orders compared to an average President from 1933.  President Trump is also on pace to issue 400% as many executive orders as former President Obama.

This would suggest now-sitting President Trump no longer feels executive orders are such a bad thing anymore.

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