Armed with a finding that U.S. presidents fulfill more than 70 percent of their campaign promises, New Yorker contributor Evan Osnos spoke with campaign advisers, associates, economists, war gamers, historians, legal scholars and political figures to ascertain what Donald Trump would do if elected President.
Beginning with the Supreme Court:
William Antholis, a political scientist who directs the Miller Center, at the University of Virginia, pointed out that President Trump would have, at his disposal, “the world’s largest company, staffed with 2.8 million civilians and 1.5 million military employees.” Trump would have the opportunity to alter the Supreme Court, with one vacancy to fill immediately and others likely to follow. Three sitting Justices are in their late seventies or early eighties. …
… Trump could achieve many objectives on his own. A President has the unilateral authority to renegotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, to order a ban on Muslims, and to direct the Justice Department to give priority to certain offenses, with an eye to specific targets. During the campaign, he has accused Amazon of “getting away with murder tax-wise,” and vowed, if he wins, “Oh, do they have problems.” …
… Trump’s advisers are weighing several options for the First Day Project: He can renounce the Paris Agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions, much as George W. Bush, in 2002, “unsigned” American support for the International Criminal Court. He can re-start exploration of the Keystone pipeline, suspend the Syrian refugee program, and direct the Commerce Department to bring trade cases against China. Or, to loosen restrictions on gun purchases, he can relax background checks.
Julie Myers Wood, who headed Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Bush Administration, told me that she is appalled by parts of Trump’s immigration plan and cautioned critics not to assume that it is impossible. “It’s not as binary as some people suggest,” she said. “You could think of some very outside-the-box options.” A President Trump could permit ice officers to get access to I.R.S. files that contain home addresses. (Undocumented immigrants who pay taxes often list real addresses, in order to receive tax-refund checks.) He could invoke provision 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, in order to detail thousands of local and state agents and police officers to the deportation effort. “You’d put people on a train,” she said. “Again, I’m not recommending this. You could have a cruise ship.”
And as captain of the economy:
The other half of Trump’s economic thinking is his view that “we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us.” As President, he would have the legal authority to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the North American Free Trade Agreement, to impose tariffs on categories of goods from China, and—if the World Trade Organization objects to his actions—to withdraw from the W.T.O., just as President Bush withdrew from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, in 2002.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly