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All the Times Obama Called for a National Emergency

AP Photo/David Dermer

With President Trump's controversial decision to call a state of emergency at the border, there has been a predictable amount of backlash. There is even a lawsuit between 16 states against the president to challenge his use of emergency powers. In the midst of all this, let us take a look back at the king of executive decisions: Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.


Well, saying Obama is the king of executive orders is a bit misleading. In reality, he's tied for that crown with George W. Bush before him. The two presidents each enacted 12 national emergencies during their time in the White House.

  1. Declaration of a National Emergency With Respect to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic: This was the first public health emergency declared by Obama in his premiere term. This empowered the secretary of Health and Human Services to issues waivers that allowed overcrowded hospitals to move swine flu patients to satellite facilities or other hospitals. This is one of two executive emergencies which were completed by the time Obama left office.
  2. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia: This was intended to help combat Somali pirates. Because Somalian pirates are totally going to cross the US border.
  3. Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya: This imposed sanctions of Muammar Gaddafi, his family and Libyan officials after protestors were killed by government forces.
  4. Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations: This sanction was levied against four criminal organizations: Los Zetas, the Brothers' Circle, the Yakuza and the Camorra. This included freezing assets, barring ownership of American real estate and implementing travel bans on members or associated persons.
  5. Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security or Stability of Yemen: This sanction was intended to counter unrest in Yemen in the aftermath of the Yemeni Revolution.
  6. Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation Relating to the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted From Nuclear Weapons: Imposed sanctions on Russia over the disposal of highly enriched uranium. This is the second of Obama's sanctions to not survive past his presidency.
  7. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine: Imposed sanctions, including restricting visas, in concert with the European Union and the international community against Russia after its invasion and occupation of Crimea.
  8. Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan: This action enabled economic sanctions to be placed due to the civil war in South Sudan.
  9. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic: This imposed sanctions against former Central African Republic president François Bozizé. This followed similar actions from the United Nations Security Council. Also contains provisions against the use of child soldiers.
  10. Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela: Imposed sanctions on seven high-ranking Venezuelan government officials.
  11. Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities: Intended to allow sanctions to be levied on foreign individuals determined by the Department of the Treasury to have engaged in cyber-crime or cyber-terrorism.
  12. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi: Imposed sanctions on four Burundi nationals in the wake of widespread unrest.

The point of this, obviously, is to point out Obama's large amount of executive actions that went unnoticed and unpunished by the general public. Meanwhile, Trump's fourth executive decision is being raked across the coals, even earning him a lawsuit. At this point, however, we just need to accept that this is the way of the world. Birds fly, British food is terrible and the media attacks Republicans for doing things Democrats did.

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