Still, Rudalevige says that comparing executive orders from one president to the next can provide a misleading snapshot of a president’s propensity for taking executive action.
That’s because presidents also use memoranda and proclamations to achieve policy goals or to get the message out about their priorities.
One president’s executive order might be another’s memoranda, or phone call even.
Obama relied on memoranda and proclamations for some of his most disputed executive actions, so just counting his executive orders understates his efforts to take action without Congress passing a bill.
For example, protections for young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children came about through a Department of Homeland Security memorandum.
That effort allowed eligible individuals to request temporary relief from deportation and apply for authorization to work in the US Obama took the action after Congress had declined to pass the Dream Act, legislation that would have helped a similar group of migrants.
Republicans argued Obama overstepped his constitutional authority.
In November, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments over the Trump administration’s plan to end the program, which has protected roughly 700,000 young immigrants from deportation.
Lower courts have so far blocked the administration from ending the program.
Obama also issued proclamations to declare new national monuments in Utah and Nevada in his final days in office.
In all, he issued 34 monument proclamations, including designating 29 new monuments and enlargement of five existing monuments as he brandished his conservation legacy.
Some of the largest monument designations were heavily criticized by state and local officials.
Rudalevige said that Trump appears to favor the pomp and ceremony that often comes with an executive order.
He routinely makes a speech, administration officials and potentially affected Americans get to thank him for taking action and Trump often signs the order before the cameras, holding it up in the air for photographers to capture the moment.
“I think it fits his personality,” Rudalevige said.