Democratic nominee Joe Biden recently rejected the notion that he should use executive authority to accomplish policy goals pushed by his “progressive friends,” noting he doesn’t want the “next guy” to come along and be able to undo everything.
What are the details?
Biden’s remarks — which came during a closed-door meeting with several civil rights leaders including Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Cedric Richmond — were obtained by The Intercept’s Ryan Grim and published Thursday morning on his podcast, “Deconstructed.”
During the meeting, a defiant Biden pushed back at suggestions from the civil rights leaders that he use executive orders to accomplish objectives, such as setting up a national database on police misconduct or banning assault weapons, through executive orders.
Though he did vow to use executive power to “undo every single damn thing” that President Trump has done over the last four years.
“So there’s some things that I’m going to be able to do by executive order, [and] I’m not going to hesitate to do it,” he said. “But what I’m not going to do is I’m not going to do … when you’d have some of the people you were supporting saying, ‘On day one I’m gonna have an executive order to do this!’ Not within the constitutional authority. I am not going to violate the Constitution.”
“Executive authority that my progressive friends talk about is way beyond the bounds,” he continued.
“As one of you said, maybe it was you, Reverend Al, whether it’s far left or far, right, there is a Constitution. It’s our only hope. Our only hope and the way to deal with it is, where I have executive authority, I will use it to undo every single damn thing this guy has done by executive authority,” Biden stated.
“But I’m not going to exercise executive authority where it’s a question, where I can come along and say, I can do away with assault weapons. There’s no executive authority to do away that,” he continued. “And no one has fought harder to get rid of assault weapons than me, me, but you can’t do it by executive order. We do that, [the] next guy comes along and says, ‘Well, guess what? By executive order, I guess everybody can have machine guns again.’ So we gotta be careful.”
Biden’s remarks could have serious implications for how the Democratic Party goes about enacting changes over the next couple years should he become president, and will likely frustrate the left wing of the party.
Progressives likes Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have urged Biden to bypass Congress and exercise his executive power on a number of issues, including “civil rights protections, student debt cancellation, raising the national minimum wage, and prioritizing the climate and clean energy,” the Daily Caller reported.
In response to the leaked audio, one progressive commentator called Biden “a dope” and “a f**k.”
“Biden’s worried if he overuses executive authority the next guy will do even worse. The next guy is going to end democracy unless you take really aggressive steps to safeguard it, you dope,” the commentator wrote on Twitter.
In another interesting segment, Biden warned leaders that the Democratic Party should be more careful about how they go about implementing police reform.
He claimed that the Republican Party’s ability to define the party as in favor of defunding the police is “how they beat the living hell out of us across the country.”