Presidents dig into their executive action toolbox
The first two times President Trump imposed a travel ban, he used an executive order. The third time, he wrote it as a proclamation.
He has signed 48 executive orders and dozens of presidential memoranda. Once, he used a memorandum to change an executive order.
He has created a form of directive known as a national security presidential memorandum.
All modern presidents have used these tools to manage the executive branch and set policy. As Congress has become more deadlocked, presidents have turned to executive action as a substitute for legislation.
Proclamations are the oldest form of presidential directive, and theoretically the most sweeping. They’re often directed at citizens — not just government officials — and may call on them to take a specific action.
Executive orders have the force of law — but only on the executive branch. They’re numbered and published in the Federal Register.
Traditionally, presidents have used memoranda to give formal orders to Cabinet secretaries. That order could be as routine as preparing a report or as significant as drawing up regulations on wage and hour laws, firearms or coal power plants.
National security presidential memoranda generally operate like executive orders but in the area of national security.