If you've been feeling like some of Donald Trump's recent executive orders are a bit surprising even for him, well, you're not alone. According to a report by Politico, two guys named Steve are essentially running Trump's government by writing the content of the executive orders he's been signing — without even running them by other White House aides. In the same report, they also say that whether or not to sign the orders has often been an impulsive decision even for the president himself.
The two Steves in question are Steve Bannon, Trump's highly problematic chief strategist, and Stephen Miller, his senior adviser for policy. Miller doesn't quite have the same history of running a website that sometimes publishes anti-semitic, white supremacist content, nor has he been accused of domestic abuse, outright misogyny, and hatred of the media as Bannon has. However, Miller was the one who used to introduce Trump at his beloved rallies, so you can hazard a guess that he's not exactly committed to a progressive agenda — to say the least.
The two Steves' politics are one issue, but the way they're pushing through executive orders without any outside influence is entirely another. If the Politico report is correct, then these executive orders are much less democratic even than President Obama's, which he used to put through a very long feedback process involving people from many sectors before signing. Trump, it appears, is signing far-reaching executive orders that may have been seen by exactly three pairs of eyes: Trump's, Miller's, and Bannon's.
This does make the content of some of the executive orders slightly less startling. The order concerning a weekly list of immigrant crimes, for example, has Bannon all over it. His website Breitbart, the voice of the alt-right, keeps track of "black-on-black crime," a feature eerily reminiscent of how the Nazis kept track of "crimes committed by Jews." This will now be a feature of the U.S. government, a constant reminder that immigrants are unfortunately considered "The Other" to many.
It's one thing for a right-wing "news" source to do something like that; freedom of the press means that anyone is allowed to publish anything short of hate speech. It's entirely another for this to become official U.S. government policy, without any discussion or argument allowed before its enactment.
While these executive orders start to threaten everything from the environment to women's health to the safety of immigrants living in America, legally or illegally, it's definitely worth remembering who's most likely behind them. Trump proved himself to be a very contentious man during the campaign — but the team he's put together behind him, including these two guys named Steve, have now multiplied how dangerous his executive orders will be many times over.