Already in this young year, Republican presidential candidates have decried President Obama’s use of executive power—this time for his plan to unilaterally tighten gun background checks.
But many of the GOP hopefuls have also made clear they would be willing to wield the presidential pen themselves if elected—whether to go around Congress and make new policy, or simply to roll back the Obama actions they most despise.
This weekend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Fox that the president is behaving like “a petulant child” who wants to act like a “king” or “dictator,” before charging that the expected actions were illegal. At a Mississippi rally, Donald Trump said, “There’s an assault on the Second Amendment.” And Sen. Marco Rubio told a New Hampshire crowd that Obama has “waged war on the Constitution.” They all pledged to reverse the expected move—Rubio on Day One and Trump “so fast”—through executive action.
The fight over the nation’s gun laws is just the latest example in a series of battles over Obama’s use of his pen and phone. For a year, Republican candidates have promised to roll back the past seven years—Congress be damned—particularly in the realms of immigration, foreign affairs, and environmental policy.