Buckle up: Trump plans to waste no time fulfilling promises

New president intends to sign a raft of executive orders undoing Obama policies

Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, who said Trump “is committed to not just day one, but day two, day three, of enacting an agenda of real change.” Photograph: Sam Hodgson/New York Times

Donald Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, who said Trump “is committed to not just day one, but day two, day three, of enacting an agenda of real change.” Photograph: Sam Hodgson/New York Times

 

When US vice president Mike Pence stopped by his old stomping ground on Capitol Hill the week after the election, he told congressional Republicans to “buckle up” for Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.

Before being sworn in as president, Trump pledged to waste no time in following through on his campaign motto to “Make America Great Again” with tangible actions. His transition team aides pointed to a very busy first few days for Trump in the White House, including executive actions on day one. The president himself has said that Monday will be his first business day after the inauguration festivities.

On the eve of the inauguration his staff said the 45th president would sign executive actions to implement policies without requiring the approval of Congress, starting right after he takes office.

“He is committed to not just day one, but day two, day three, of enacting an agenda of real change,” his press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday. “And I think that you’re gonna see that in the days and weeks to come. What he’s trying to do is ensure a proper sequencing.”

More than 200 executive orders touching on subjects from immigration to healthcare have been vetted for the new president. Signing off on them will give Trump some early wins to brag about on Twitter, showing that the outsider can, as he promised, shake up Washington politics and get things done.

Deport up to three million people

In November, he set out an ambitious plan for his first 100 days in charge: he wants to withdraw from negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, overturn Barack Obama’s environmental regulations on the coal and shale industry, reduce regulations on business, set up a team to protect against cyber-attacks, investigate abuses in immigrant visa programmes and introduce rules on lobbyists.

In his first TV interview after the election, Trump told CBS programme 60 Minutes that he planned to deport up to three million illegal immigrants with criminal records in one of his first acts as president.

During the election campaign the property tycoon made bold and often contradictory statements about what he would do as president. Now that he is in office, his actions will be closely followed and the first days and weeks of the Trump administration promise much drama.

On trade, Spicer said that Trump would act “very shortly” to meet his promises to withdraw from the TPP deal and give notice that he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both will please his blue-collar supporters who supported the Republican’s opposition to international free trade agreements that he blamed for shipping American jobs overseas to countries where labour was cheaper.

“We will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back to American shores,” Trump said in a YouTube video outlining his early priorities in office.

Ruffled feathers

Fulfilling a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, the 44th president’s landmark healthcare scheme extending health insurance, and building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, may be prove much tricker. He must wait for Congress and the often glacial process ofpassing legislation.

Congressional Republicans have already taken steps to dismantle Obamacare through budget changes but they are uneasy about the prospect of 20 million Americans losing their health insurance and the political fallout that would accompany that. Replacing the law with Trump’s own could be complicated.

Corporate tax reform and agreeing a $1 trillion infrastructure programme may be achieved more quickly as Democrats are supportive of it, though the parties disagree on the details on how to overhaul the tax code.

Among Trump’s first meetings will be a visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on Saturday. He has ruffled feathers with the US intelligence agencies by doubting their view that Russia tried to influence the election with hacking and by accusing them of leaking false and salacious information about him.

The meeting will be an important first step if the new president is to patch up his differences with government agencies that he will lead and rely on for information about the threats to national security.

Beyond his first days in office, expect Trump to announce within weeks a nominee to fill the vacant ninth seat on the Supreme Court left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia who died last year.

There is also the question of a trade deal with the UK. He told the Times and Germany’s Bild in an interview last week that he was going to work “very hard” to reach an agreement “very fast” with London that would help the British prime minister Theresa May make Brexit a “great success”.

Spicer has said that Trump will not meet any world leaders in his first week as president.

In his first act as US president, Trump signed legislation at the US Capitol shortly after being sworn into office that allowed retired general James Mattis to serve as defence secretary and formally appointing other cabinet picks and some ambassadors.

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