Scholars of the unilateral presidency are left with an empirical puzzle regarding whether and how divided government influences presidential use of executive orders. While the strategic model suggests that presidents should issue more executive orders when faced with an adverse situation vis-à-vis Congress, most of the research finds just the opposite. We offer a more appropriate test of the strategic model by examining how presidential-congressional adversity influences presidential decisions to issue symbolic, routine, and major policy executive orders. We find support for the strategic model and present new findings to demonstrate that presidents behave differently with respect to distinct types of executive orders during periods of unified and divided government.