Alarms raised that a re-elected Trump 'will do worse things' if Congress doesn't act
Donald Trump (Photo by Sual Loeb for AFP)

Government reform experts are raising red flags that Congress has done little in the way of creating "guardrails" that would rein in the chaos Donald Trump visited upon the country during his four years in office that culminated in his attempt to overturn his election loss which led to an attack on the Capitol by his supporters.

According to a report from Politico's Michael Schaffer, a book called After Trump that written just before the 2020 presidential election by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith suggested a menu of reforms that would set create new rules when it comes to a wide range of issues from presidential pardons, filling executive branch vacancies, and the use of emergency powers.

While Congress has pondered some reforms, little has been done which is leading to no small amount of angst and alarm now that it appears Donald Trump may get a third shot at the Oval Office.

As the Politico report notes, the presidency has changed "minimally, if at all” since Trump was ousted by President Joe Biden with Goldsmith stating lawmakers haven't taken his and Bauer's proposed reforms seriously enough.

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"Almost every reform that we propose in that book ended up being in a bill in Congress,” he explained. “Basically, with a couple of exceptions, neither Congress nor the executive branch have done anything concrete to address the many gaps in norms and legal constraints that Trump made apparent during his first term. There was a lot of discussion about how we had to have reform. It just wasn’t a priority.”

The attorney then warned, "If he runs and wins after his performance in office in his first term, and after what it clearly appears that he’s running on, which is a platform meant to include pledges to break norms — he can claim that the American people have approved, that his agenda is to rethink the executive branch, the nature of the presidency and the civil service, the deep state. And he’ll have a very good argument, frankly.”

Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen agreed.

“I think it’s a real fear that an unaccountable president who has been re-empowered in his position will do worse things. I think the checks we’ve managed to apply for President Trump have not yet proven effective,” she lamented.

According to Goldsmith, there was tremendous interest in making changes right after the election and the attempted coup, but that faded and lawmakers seem in no hurry to pick up the crusade despite the looming 2024 presidential election.

“The book came out in September, and everyone was extremely interested. And then after Jan. 6, and after Biden became president, people became less interested. It came down to the priority. It seemed like less of a problem," he complained.

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