Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK99dRpL9WQ
Television report on the historical development of the US president’s powers, into what is now referred to by some as the ‘Imperial Presidency’.
Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube)
Date: November 27, 2020
When the Americans managed to defeat Britain and achieve their independence (on the 4th of July, 1776), some proposed to George Washington that he be the king of the new (American) state. However, this (suggestion) was not implemented. Rather, Americans adopted a presidential system that separated powers between three branches of government.
While the judicial and legislative branches are composed of a number of councils and (governing) bodies, in contrast, the executive branch is headed by only one person who simultaneously plays the role of the head of state, and the head of the (ruling) administration. This person enjoys broad powers extending to politics, military affairs, economics, and foreign affairs, powers that even monarchs in other countries do not enjoy.
Under the constitution, the (US) president is responsible for signing and approving laws; he is the commander in chief of the armed forces; he decides how the country’s nuclear arsenal is used; he nominates candidates to become federal court judges, particularly those of the Supreme Court. Moreover, the president directs the country’s foreign policies; appoints ambassadors; has the final take on international agreements/treaties; and many other powers.
The president can also appoint his staff of aides made up of ministers, advisers, and officials at different levels of the state. He has under his command 4 million government staff workers.
The (country’s) presidential powers developed over time. The president’s personality, the circumstances surrounding his respective ruling term, and especially the (various) wars (and their effects), played a huge role in growing these powers and expanding their influence, to the point of what is now known as the “Imperial Presidency”, especially ever since the 1930s. This sole, absolute-like power of the president was and still is a focal point for political debate in America, particularly as to how this power could be abused.
These concerns intensified after Trump took office and exercised this “absolute power”, articulating thousands of lies and backing extremist and racial ideologies, along with firing a record number of ministers and officials unprecedented for any former administration. Some officials were dismissed for merely disagreeing with the president’s point of view, or for merely making statements that the president did not like.
So following its experience with Trump, will America reconsider the range of powers granted to only one person?