President Joe Biden’s allies inside and outside the administration are hitting back at The New York Times over a Wednesday editorial calling for him to work with Congress.
The Times editorial board knocked Biden for pushing his agenda through dozens of executive actions in the days following his inauguration—something Trump was accused of when he first took office in 2016–rather than wheeling and dealing with lawmakers in Congress. The Times also addressed how Biden deploying his executive authority through these orders can be undone by the next president who takes over the Oval Office.
The editorial board, in a piece titled “Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe,” writes:
But this is no way to make law. A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation. They are intended to provide guidance to the government and need to work within the discretion granted the executive by existing law or the Constitution. They do not create new law — though executive orders carry the force of law — and they are not meant to serve as an end run around the will of Congress. By design, such actions are more limited in what they can achieve than legislation, and presidents who overreach invite intervention by the courts.
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield hit back at the Times on Thursday morning, accusing them of hypocrisy and asserting that the White House is working with Congress on a number of things.
“As the NYT ed board criticizes President Biden this am for taking swift executive action to reverse the most egregious actions of the Trump Admin, I can’t help but recall that during the primary they encouraged voters to consider what a president could accomplish through [executive action],” Bedingfield wrote in Twitter. “So my question is which actions that the President took to reverse Donald Trump’s executive orders would they have liked to see him not pursue?”
“Of course we are also pursuing our agenda through legislation. It’s why we are working so hard to get the American Rescue Plan passed, for starters!” she added.
Biden campaign pollster John Anzalone accused the Times’ editorial board of being completely out of touch with Americans.
“It’s tough being so high up in the ivory tower. You can’t really make sound judgment because you can’t see the ground,” he told Politico.
A former Biden campaign official called the paper a “barometer for where not to be.”
“Unfortunately, the New York Times editorial board is often a barometer for where not to be, provided you want to win elections in real life instead of on Beltway Twitter,” the former campaign official told Politico. “There are some in the progressive movement who increasingly define themselves — sometimes intentionally — by embracing attitudes and positions that needlessly alienate gettable voters. It’s incredibly destructive to the causes we fight for.”
Early in the 2020 presidential campaign, the Times’ editorial board slighted Biden with its endorsement, instead choosing to back former Democratic candidates Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).