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What Can Trump Achieve or Get Away with During Lame Duck Presidency?

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Central New York political science professors are weighing in on what might happen over the several remaining weeks of President Trump’s time in office. Syracuse University professor Shana Gadarian says while a new COVID relief package might be prioritized, New Yorkers shouldn’t expect results.

“It is possible but improbable that you would get more COVID relief if not for every day citizens and maybe for airlines or big businesses that have been clamoring for more relief.”

Author and SUNY Cortland professor Robert Spitzer adds there is a possibility President Trump uses a string of executive orders to implement last second policy changes.

“Trump would still have his power of executive orders. He might do that to eliminate employees to further politized the executive branch to do what he could, perhaps, to further erode the affordable care act.”

Gadarian and Spitzer both agree that President Trump is likely to extend pardons to many of his allies in his final two months of office.

“It is very likely we will see a whole bunch of pardons, because that is one power Trump likes to use. Quite frankly, I would expect Trump to pardon the over a dozen current and former Trump people who have been indicted or convicted of criminal action.”

Congress returned to session yesterday, but their attention might not be focused any of these issues. They first must contend with a December 11th government funding deadline. Failure to reach a deal before that date would result in a government shutdown, and the president has not stated if he would sign a new spending bill.


While the numbers are still coming in and there is a lot of uncertainty in the air, President-elect Joe Biden is coming into the White House facing many challenges. Trump’s lame-duck period could bring upon more challenges with refusing to concede the election, a coronavirus nationwide spike, and the impending shutdown deadline. The Washington Post reports that it will be a challenge for both sides to find common ground on what to focus on in these upcoming weeks. 

Furthermore, The Guardian reports that President Trump is in a compromised position going into this lame duck period, but can still cause damage in these next eleven weeks.  The paper suggests more envoiornmental and industrial regualtions could be rolled back, along with legal challenges on numerous fronts, not just the election outcome.