Presidential Executive Orders Repealed. David and Rick answer listener questions about presidential executive orders, regulations vs. laws, the vice president actually running the Senate, what the President and Congress can do about the income tax, and David’s opinions on President-Elect Trump”€™s appointments so far.

Air Date: 1/5/2017

Guests: David Barton and Rick Green

  • WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.



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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Abraham Lincoln Quote

Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”€

Foundations of Freedom Thursday


It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on Wallbuilders Live today.  As always, I am looking forward to talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture. Always from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We are here with David Barton. He is America’s premier historian and my name is Rick Green I am a former Texas state representative, speaker and author.  You can find out more about us on our organization at and

And, David, speaking of those foundations that”€™s what the name of WallBuilders is all about.  Right out of Nehemiah.  Rebuilding those foundations.

Rebuilding Foundations


It is rebuilding those foundations.  And it’s cool that in doing so they had to go back and rediscover some of their own history and own heritage. I love that when they were rebuilding the walls they even created a place for what they call the Hall of Heroes. It’s a way that they went back and recognized those from previous generations.  Because they’d been in captivity for awhile.

They didn’t have the culture that normally had.  And they had to go back and remember who had been part of that in previous generations. So the rebuilding if you will, the going back and recalling and getting back to first principles.  That’s what we like doing.

Send In Your Questions


We’ve got a great opportunity even now as we have a new administration coming into power in America in the White House to rebuild some of those foundations.  And several of our questions today for those that are new to our program, Thursdays is our chance not only to dive into those foundational principles from the Constitution, the Declaration, of the Word of God, and other founding sources for America.  But also to get your questions.

So we kind let your questions drive the conversation.  And that’s where we take it. And so if you want to send some of those and be sure to e-mail us at [email protected].

How Is Regulation Different From Law

Our first question today comes from Kyle.  He said, “€œI’ve been reading about regulations being put in place by the presidential administration. I understand from listening to your show and reading the Constitution that new federal legislation begins in the legislative branch of the government.

Where does the president have power to introduce regulation? How is the regulation different from a law? What checks exist on the presidential power to create and enforce regulation? Thanks for all you do. I love listening to the program.”€

Kyle, thanks for your question.  We appreciate you sending it in! And of course, David, we’re talking about the fourth branch here.  Where does all this regulation come from?  if it didn’t come first from our legislators, who are supposed to make the law.


There’s two general types of regulation. One type of regulation is that which is done by Congress. The other is that done outside of Congress. Outside of Congress can be a real problem.

Congress Has Abdicated Its Responsibilities

Now Congress has abdicated so many of its responsibilities.  So what it does like as what it did in Obamacare was said, “€œHey we’ve created in this new health insurance system.  And we authorize Department Health and Human Services to create all the regulations necessary to make this thing work.”€

At that point Congress has told an agency that it can create regulations.  And those regulations then have the force of law because Congress authorized those regulations. Now the problem with that is, again, Congress has abdicated its responsibility.

Congress Gave Authority Away To An Agency That Isn”€™t Accountable To The People

It doesn’t know how those regulations are going to look or what they’re going to be. They’ve given all this authority away to an agency that’s not accountable to the people. Congress does not get the final word on those regulations.

And so Congress itself has actually shot itself in the foot time, after time, after time.  By not doing what it’s supposed to. Part of that is because in the Obama administration we went eight years without Congress following the law about creating a budget. That’s the law.  You have to do that every year. But the president didn’t want to do that. So he wouldn’t cooperate with the budget and so they got into this thing of continuing resolutions for about eight years.

Again, Congress abdicated responsibility but it didn’t want to stand up and make the president back up because they would have to shut down government to do that. And then the media would blame Congress rather than the president.  And so they’ve really run out of cowardice for a lot of it.

So a lot of regulations come because Congress hands off their responsibilities. Congress has recognized for doing that.  And they’re seeing regulations come back that they never envisioned. But that’s their problem.  They created it.

Reins Act

So what they’ve tried to do is pass what’s called the Reins Act.  Which says any regulation that has more than a 100 million dollar impact has to come back to Congress to be voted on. Well, every regulation should have been that way.  But it doesn’t always happen now.

There’s regulations that get created outside of Congress.  And that is executive orders. Executive orders can be constitutional or unconstitutional.  Executive orders is nothing more than the president telling his people and the CEO of his branch telling them what they will and won’t do.

For example, as head of WallBuilders I can create an executive order that says, “€œThis is from the executive David Barton and whenever the phone rings I want you to answer by the third ring.”€ That’s a regulation I’ve created.  You answer the phone properly when it rings.

That doesn’t have the force of law and the next CEO comes in after me he can say, “€œWell, I want it answered by the second ring.”€ I can tell people within my office and my branch what to do. That’s okay as long as it does not violate federal law.

For example, if I say, “€œEvery phone call that comes and I want you to tape those phone calls without telling anybody you’re taping them.”€ Now we’ve got a problem.  Because that violates law that’s out there.

So the president can do a lot of that. What this president has done is use the executive orders to create policy. To go around Congress.  To ignore what Congress says.  Instead of upholding the Take Care clause which says, “€œThe president will take care to make sure that laws are faithfully enforced.”€ He ignores those on a regular basis.

Many Regulations Now Are Coming Out With Fines And Jail Time, Just Like A Law

Those are wrong. The difference between regulation and a law can be a lot but doesn’t have to be a lot. Many of regulations that come out now have jail time attached to them. They also have penalties attached to them and fines attached to them. That’s like a law.

But if it’s a regulation that says, “€œAnswer the phone by the third ring.”€ That’s not a law. So a lot of it depends on whether the president takes regulations and uses them the way they’re supposed to be used. Then they’re very different from a law.  They’re just internal policy.  Or if he tries to make them into a law which is unconstitutional.  Because laws do originate in the legislative branch, as Kyle noted here.

So that’s really kind of the difference between the two of them. And you know, we’ll see what happens here. I know that when President Elect Trump comes in, he’s already got a list of things he’s going to do by executive order. A lot of that is repeal a lot of the law type of things that President Obama did that he should not have done.

We have a law in place that says, “€œMexico City policy.  You cannot use federal funds to fund abortions overseas.”€

Well, the president does that on a regular basis. So Trump will come in and he will say, “€œWe’re going back to the Mexico City policy.”€  Which says we’re going back to following the law. So I know that Trump will have a line of executive orders to do.  And they’re going to be taking us back to actually following the law and getting away from that activism that was there.

So to answer the question, there sometimes is no difference between a regulation and a law.  And sometimes there is a big difference.  It depends on whether it follows its constitutional design. If it follows that design then there is a big difference between a regulation and a law.


And so with regard to that Constitution al design then the biggest question is, is it legal?  And is it constitutional? And so whether it’s a regulation or a law I guess the basic question is does that person or that entity have authority to make that regulation or law?

Congress definitely does have authority to make law within those 17 enumerated powers. And the president does have authority to implement and to take care that those laws that are executed.  But when they go outside of that and create new regulations or new laws that they never were given permission by the American people to do.  Then it’s an unconstitutional whether regulation.  It’s an unconstitutional regulation or an unconstitutional law, either way.

Parents Have a God Given Mandate


True. To add to that.  Congress does have the constitutional authority to give away its power. That’s a stupid thing to do. But they do that on a regular basis.

It’s the same with parents. Parents have the God given mandate to raise their own children.  To bring them up in the nurture and admonition the Lord.

Sometimes parents say, “€œWell I’m going to let the schools do that for me.”€ That’s a stupid decision. God put it in your hands.  He told you to do it. You give it away and you wonder why your kids turn Left after going to college.  And you can’t figure out why.

Well, it”€™s  just because you did not do what you were supposed to do. So that’s the same with Congress. Congress does have the constitutional authority to give away its power if it wants to. But why would you do that? And it’s same with all of us as well.


That’s right. Of course, I know what you were saying.  And I know some of our listeners are going to say, “€œDavid Barton said don’t let your kids go to college.”€ Which is not what he said, folks.  What he said was. “€œDon’t just send them off to college and let the colleges raise them. Make sure you know where you’re sending your kids.  And that it’s supporting what you’ve been teaching at home.”€  That’s what you meant, right?


Exactly right. Thank you for clarifying that.


All right.  We’re going to take a quick break.  Stay with us, folks. We’ve got lots of great questions.  And we’d love to hear from you as well.  So send in your questions with regard to the foundations of our country, how our Constitution works, how our government works, and sometimes what you can do about it.  And how you can be involved.

Send those to us R[email protected].  We’ll be right back. You”€™re listening to WallBuilders Live.

George Washington Quote

George Washington said, “€œThe Constitution approaches nearer to perfection than any other government instituted document among man.”€

Pastors Only Briefing Trip


Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.

We get to go to the Capitol at night.  And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties  and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington D.C.

If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at  And there’s a link that’s for scheduling.  If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor”€™s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.

Samuel Adams Quote

Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€

Can Mike Pence Brush Aside McConnell?


Welcome back.  Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday! Today we are taking your questions.  So be sure and send those into [email protected].

Our next one comes from Scott from Kentucky.  He says, “€œGiven that Mitch McConnell has no backbone and assuming he won’t grow one.  Can the V.P. Mike Pence constitutionally assumed the leadership role.  Brushing aside McConnell.  To say, using the nuclear option to get all nominees passed, etc.”€

And of course, David, I guess he you know he’s talking about in Article 1 Section 3 that the vice president of the United States is president of the Senate.  And can he just basically walk in and say, “€œOk I’m kind of like the Senate majority leader now.  And we’re going with the nuclear option.”€ Which simply means majority wins on all these approval of nominees.


Yes and no. To respond to that, yes. I definitely agree/ McConnell has no backbone.  However, he has surprised me since the election back in November. He has come out and said, “€œWe are going to repeal Obamacare.”€ Things that he refused to do for eight years.  He is now– and I don”€™t know if the election sent a message to him or whatever it is– but he now is moving in a direction that is quite surprising to me.

Run the Senate


I agree with you, man.  And I will say.  As many times as he’s disappointed me.  The fact that he held the line on not replacing Scalia with an Obama appointee for 10 months or however long it was. That won back some favor for me.  I was like, “€œOh yeah. That’s a big deal.”€


That’s right. And so I’ve seen the vestiges of perhaps a backbone transplant starting to take root somewhere.  I don’t know where it came from, when he got the transplant.

But having said that, one of the things back in the primaries when I was helping run the super PAC for Ted Cruz.  One of the things we specifically looked at was when Cruz said, “€œHey Carly Fiorina would be my V.P.”€

We were working at that point in time to say, “€œHey, let’s show her exactly how to run the Senate.”€ Because if she goes in, then Mitch McConnell will be the majority leader. But he won’t be running the Senate.

And that’s the way Thomas Jefferson used to do it when he was Vice President of the United States under John Adams.  He would run the Senate. And that’s why the rules of the Senate were largely created by Thomas Jefferson.  Because he was there on a regular basis and did that.

Now we got into a tradition where that’s kind of a figurehead now.  And the vice president only comes in if there’s a 50/50 tie.  And they do need a vote to be cast to break the tie.

But definitely yes.  You can constitutionally go back and historically you can go back and do that. And it would make a big difference.

Now here’s the other thing is that you have to play with the rules that you’ve passed on yourself. In other words, if I’m part of the National Football League and we’ve approved the rules the owners, and etc. I can’t go into the fourth quarter and say, “€œYou know as a quarterback, I’m going to change the rules. I’m now going to get five downs instead of four to do this.”€

It Takes the Senate to Change the Rules

So part of the problem is the Senate has agreed to bind itself by a certain set of rules. And when you do that it takes the Senate to change those rules to unbind what it’s done to itself.

Now there’s lots of ways of working within those rules that McConnell did not use. You had Harry Reid who said, “€œWe’re going to choose the nuclear option. I am interpreting the rules as not apply to the filibuster, cloture rules does not apply to federal judges.”€

All right. So that’s something that can be done.  But you can’t just throw the rules out because you don’t like them.  Or because they defend or protect your cowardice, so to speak.  And many of those rules do. That’s what both parties hide behind at times, those rules.

You have to be willing to change the rules before you can change the game plan. And that’s where it takes outside pressure from people. But definitely, you can have Mike Pence go in and run the Senate. No question about it. And if McConnell chooses to have a relapse of no backbone, that is certainly an option that’s out there.


We’re going to take a quick break. We’ve got more questions coming up when we return. You”€™re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Thomas Jefferson Quote

Thomas Jefferson said,  “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves.  That it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

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Entitled To Freedom Of Person, Religion, Property, And Press

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves.  That it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

What Can Trump Really Do About Taxes


Welcome back.  Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday today.Your questions are what we’re answering on these foundational freedoms.  And you can send some of those questions in, if you like, to [email protected].

Next question comes from Darelle.  And it is about what Donald Trump could do as president with regard to the oppressive federal income tax. He says, “€œWhen Donald Trump becomes president, could he force Congresses hand to replace the oppressive federal income tax through executive orders.  Canceling collection efforts and levies, and issuing pardons to everyone convicted of currently charged with a criminal tax crime.”€

He said in his question, “€œObviously, Congress and media would howl about this.  But it would bring out this so-called voluntary compliance.”€

And he goes on to ask also, David, what would be the right replacement if you could get rid of the federal income tax? Should we go with the fair tax or a sales tax? So really the question is what can Trump do as president do to try to push for a true overhaul of the income tax?


You know, the issue of whether the 16th Amendment, the income tax is voluntary tax has been debated back and forth. There are historically those who say it is and they show you how to get out the voluntary tax.

But whether it is or isn’t  I’m not in favor of pardoning people who lied specifically or who committed fraud. I don’t care whether you think it’s a voluntary tax or not. If you’re going to do something, don’t fill out your papers and lie.  And don’t try to cheat.

And so that’s a whole different issue. I see those two as unrelated.

Income Tax Reform

The 16th Amendment was passed to allow Congress to pass an income tax.  But it does not require Congress to pass an income tax. So the president is not the one who can go in and say we’re not going to have an income tax.  That comes through Congress. Congress passed authorizing legislation for that. It needs to be Congress who fixes that.

What’s the solution? What do we go to for a fix? I’m a huge fan of anything but what we have right now. Because what we have right now requires the government to focus on groups.

We have, I think at this point, five different groups that you can fall into to pay an income tax. And we treat you differently based on which group you’re in.

Now the Founding Fathers, prior to the 16th Amendment the Founding Fathers had what was called a capitation tax.  And that tax meant it had to be spread among all the people proportionally across the United States.  So everybody paid their, if you will, fair share.

A fair share use to mean was that everybody paid it, not just the rich. And that’s the problem with the income taxes.  Again, we break you into groups.  And we treat you differently. We treat the middle class different from the poor, different from the rich, different the upper middle, and different from the lower middle.

Some Groups Have More Rights Than Others

That’s not the way supposed to be. When God did a tax in the Bible.  If you want to you can call a tithe a tax.  Because He says, “€œEverybody pay 10 percent.”€

Well, if you’re poor and you only make $10 a year, you’ll be paying $1 a year. If you make $100 million a year, you’re going to pay $10 million a year as your tax, your tithe, or your 10 percent.

So the rich will always pay more than the poor but they’re always treated exactly the same. Everybody’s got that 10 percent mark. And so that’s where in the Scripture Jesus says, “€œLook, God causes the sun to shine on the righteous and the unrighteous and the rain to fall on the wicked and just.”€ Got treats everybody the same. And that way everybody is treated even handedly.

That was the individual thing we had in the Declaration. All men are created and they all have certain inalienable rights. Today we think some groups have more rights than others. So I’m a huge opponent of the 16th Amendment because it broke America into groups.

But again you don’t have to repeal the 16th Amendment to get rid of the IRS and the income tax. 16th Amendment only authorizes Congress to pass a tax. If Congress goes back and repeals that tax that’s great.

America Would See Benefits Economically

By the way, if they were to repeal the 16th Amendment, what they’ve done is they’ve tied the hands of the future Congresses not being able to come back and use that group approach to taxation.  And that would be a great deal as well.  Because then you’d have to pass a constitutional amendment to get it back in.

But all that to say what President Trump can do with the income tax is really based on what Congress does with that.  Because it’s all statutorily based. It’s enabling legislation that’s authorized by the 16th Amendment. But Congress can repeal that if they want to.  And I think they should come up with any other system than the current income tax system.

Congress Can Change The Tax Code Right Now Without An Amendment


Yeah.  And that’s such an important point.  Because I’ve even kind of had the perspective that you can’t do much until you actually have a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th.  But what you said is exactly right. That’s not true.

I mean, Congress can do with that what they want right now. They don’t have to have an income tax or they could drop it to almost nothing. I mean, how they implement that is entirely up to them.

A constitutional amendment again, binds future Congresses. But this Congress can make some big changes and I think the American people would see so much benefit from that economically.  They’d want to keep it in future Congresses.

So, we’ll see how far they go on that.  We’re going take a quick break. We’ve got more questions coming from you in our audience when we come back. And by the way, if you want to send one in and you can send it to [email protected]. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.

Thomas Jefferson Quote

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œ In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€

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President Calvin Coolidge Quote

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€

Trump”€™s Key Appointments


Welcome back to Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live. I’m Rick Green here with David Barton.

We”€™ve got time for one more question, David.  This going to be a fun one. This is from Joe.  Joe Shoemaker says, “€œWhat do you think of President-Elect Trump’s choices for key positions so far?”€ David, what do you think of these appointments so far?


I am really, really, really impressed. They’re not just the people that I would have expected from inside the beltway. They are really operative type of people.  For example, over health and human services you have Congressman Tom Price.


He’s been a guest on our program.


Tom’s a good friend. He speaks at pastors”€™ conferences for us all the time. He is one of the physicians in Congress. He knows exactly what Obamacare did.  And he is a strong believing Christian.  He’s a very conservative guy.  His voting record is excellent.

He’s the guy I would have picked to put there.  But I would not have picked the Washington people to have put him there. I mean he is a great, great, great choice.


You’re surprised they did it it.  You would”€™ve done it.  But you’re surprised they did it.

David Would Have Picked 80% of Trump”€™s Choices


And several of these guys that have been chosen are guys that I would have picked.  And they end up getting picked.  It’s like, Wow! This is really cool. I

I’m in Washington all the time but I’m definitely not part of the Beltway Establishment.  And I don’t think the way they do.  And don’t like what they do. And so these are very, very conservative picks.

And then even as you look at Ben Carson who takes HUD.  Well, that’s a good pick.  But under him, his chief of staff is Major General Bob Dees. That’s the best pick you could possibly have in there. The guy who’s running personnel at HUD. I mean, that’s one of our guys.  And we’ve had General Dees on this program several times.


Also a frequent guest, yeah.


So you look at that and it’s really cool.  And then you’ve got 3 of the cabinet level departments now: Department of Energy, Department of Education, and Department of Labor who are headed by secretaries who want to see that department go away.  Which is great.

You know, that means you’re not going to have the expansion of government regulations. And then if you look internally, you’ve got folks like Kellyanne Conway becoming the counselor to the president. Kellyanne Conway?  My gosh! Kellyanne Conway taught at Leadership Institute for how many years?


She taught when I went 20 years ago. She taught one of the classes when I went through their candidate school.


So you’re talking hard core Conservatives here.  And it’s just fascinating. There’s a few people that are kind of, you know.  Elaine Chao, you know.  She’s a retread if you will. She’s been here before. I wouldn’t have picked her but it’s not a bad pick. And that’s fine.

And Tillerson is not the guy I would”€™ve picked for Secretary of State.  But he’s there.  But it’s not a bad pick. And so I look at really, really good picks and other acceptable picks.  And I’m really pleased with what I see so far. Really good.

Making America Great Again


I couldn’t agree more. I thought before.  I was like well hey, we might get… You know 30-50 percent of his appointments might be some decent people that we like. I was not expecting it to be you know, 80 percent great folks that we know.  That are good people and strong Conservatives. Then a handful here that, like you said, are acceptable.  Not bad.  Not necessarily who we would”€™ve picked, but acceptable.

But man, when 85 percent of the same guys you and I would”€™ve picked.  It”€™”€™s very positive.

So for those of you that are looking for some hope, we welcome January.  We welcome 2017.  And we welcome this new administration. Looks like it’s going to be a great year for bringing our country back and restoring those foundations.

Thanks for listening today to Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live!

The American Constitution Is The Greatest Political Privilege Ever Accorded To The Human Race

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€