Jack Goldsmith

Lawfare: The Failure of Presidential Reform for a Second Trump Presidency

May 15, 2023

Presidential Reform Project co-chair Jack Goldsmith wrote the following article in Lawfare in which he examines why presidential reform is vital in the case of a second Trump presidency.

Yes, “a second Trump administration would be much worse,” as the Vox headline said after Trump’s CNN town hall meeting. And yes, “Trump’s Second-Term Goal” would be to “Shatter[] the Norms He Didn’t Already Break,” as the New York Times reported following the same event.

Yet the “news” in the CNN town hall has long been obvious. Trump’s norm-breaking grew during his presidency (and Trump got better over time at manipulating the bureaucracy). It continued after the 2020 presidential vote and before President Biden was inaugurated, most notably on Jan. 6, but not just then. It has persisted and grown in his post-presidency, most notably (but not exclusively) in how Trump handled classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. And as  Isaac Arnsdorf and Jeff Stein at the Washington Post have documented, Trump in videos and speeches has been outlining a second-term agenda that portends a very aggressive and in many ways novel conception of the presidency.

Of course Trump’s second term will be worse on the norms and legal compliance front.

Keep reading at Lawfare.