On January 20th, Donald J. Trump will become America’s 45th President. We’ve all heard a lot about what Trump plans to do as Commander-in-Chief from his lively campaign – build a wall, bring back jobs, drain the swamp, lock her up (maybe not so much). We know being president has its perks – getting to take unlimited vaca on Air Force One and rolling around with a fleet of shiny black suburbans, but the reality is the president can’t actually do whatever he wants, when he wants to do it. Womp womp. So what can the president actually do?
The Commander-in-Chief gets his power from Article II of the Constitution and is in charge of enforcing laws written by Congress. Of course, the president has some say in what new laws he will be enforcing, as he has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress. Congress can then check the president’s power by overriding a veto with a two-thirds vote of both Houses. The president can also negotiate and sign treaties (this time with the Senate’s “advice and consent” – see a pattern here?) and can issue executive orders.
The president does not have the power to declare war (only Congress has this power) but Presidents past have used force abroad without authorization from Congress since World War II. The president’s power isn’t unlimited, though – under the Constitution the president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
If you thought Election 2016 was the bloody car accident that you couldn’t look away from, this video is the silver lining. And if you’re a federal employee living in Washington D.C., you get an extra holiday on Inauguration Day. 65.8 million of us will be crying, 62.9 million of us will be celebrating, but all of us will need a drink, and everyone can agree these patriotic cocktails are delish. I know Mojitos are technically Cuban, but John Adams, America’s 2nd President, got busted in college for drinking rum, so that’s something, right?