The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Six times Trump said executive orders were bad before he decided they were actually good

President Trump poses for a portrait in the Oval Office on April 19. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The White House says Trump “has accomplished more in his first 100 days than any other President since Franklin Roosevelt.”

Their proof: He signed 28 pieces of legislation, many of which were simple rollbacks of Obama-era regulations.

More White House proof: Trump has signed more executive orders (30) in his opening 100 days than did former president Obama (19), former president George W. Bush (11) or even former president Lyndon Johnson (26).

The White House also botched the tally of executive orders issued by Franklin Roosevelt in his first 100 days, but that's a different story.

Setting aside the question of whether a raw tally of executive orders is an effective metric of accomplishment, the move represents a particularly brazen about-face on messaging. Like many Republicans, Trump was deeply critical of Obama's use of executive orders despite the fact that Obama issued them at a slower pace than any president since Grover Cleveland.

Here's what he has said about them in the past.

Feb. 19, 2016: “Obama goes around signing executive orders. He can't even get along with the Democrats. He goes around signing all these executive orders. It's a basic disaster. You can't do it.”

Jan. 26, 2016: “We have a president that can't get anything done so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place.”

Jan. 26, 2016: “I hate what Obama does with gun legislation. He doesn't talk to anybody. He goes out and signs executive orders. In theory you're supposed to the old fashioned way, get everybody into a room and get something people agree on.”

Dec. 12, 2015: “I don't think [Obama] even tries anymore. I think he just signs executive actions.”

Nov. 10, 2015: “Nobody wants to listen to [Obama], including the Democrats, so he just goes around signing executive orders.”

July 10, 2012:

But now that Trump is in office, executive orders are good again. We've seen this sort of unabashed flip-flop from this Trump before on the issue federal job statistics, which he derided as “fake” up until the day they made him look good.

In Trump's defense, he did warn us: In January of last year, he told “Meet the Press” that Obama “led the way” on executive orders and he'd have no qualms about following suit with orders of his own.

“But I’m going to use them much better and they’re going to serve a much better purpose than he’s done,” he added.