It is misleading to compare executive orders signed by an elected president to the actions of a dictator.
Soon after President Biden took to office, a post claiming that he has signed 40 executive orders in his first week in the office started making rounds on social media. The viral post terms Biden as a “hypocrite," and compares him to Adolf Hitler. The post adds that Trump signed only five executive orders during his first week in office and that Obama signed nine. The post also shows a speech bubble quoting Biden as saying, “Only a dictator legislates to executive orders.”
According to the National Archives of the Federal Register of April 1, Biden has signed a total of 37 executive orders. Many of these orders have been aimed at revoking policies implemented by former President Donald Trump.
USA Today reported these policies mainly focused on areas such as immigration, health care, the environment, and equity. However, Biden passed these orders over three months. Considering Biden’s first week in office, between January 20 and 27, he signed 24 executive orders.
It is essential to note that signing 40 executive orders in a week doesn’t amount to tyranny. Hitler being a dictator, had no tolerance for political pluralism or independent media. In 1934, he declared himself as a Führer: the leader of Germany. According to BBC news, Hitler eliminated all sources of opposition both within the Nazi party and in the whole of Germany. During his rule, he reorganized the government, abolished trade unions, and set up Nazi people’s courts where judges had to swear an oath of loyalty to the Nazis.
According to the American Bar Association, an executive order is a signed, written, and published directive from the President of the United States that manages operations of the federal government.
Executive orders are not legislation; they require no Congress approval, and Congress cannot simply overturn them. However, Congress may pass legislation that might make it difficult, or even impossible, to carry out the order, such as removing funding. Only a sitting U.S. president may overturn an existing executive order by issuing another executive order to that effect.
Also, the courts may strike down executive orders because it exceeds president authority and in cases where the order is found to be unconstitutional in substance, according to the Federal Judicial Centre.