It is hard to believe that it has been just one week since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States. Even Trump’s opponents have to admit that the former real estate magnate and reality television star has gotten a lot accomplished in such a short time frame. Trump’s high level of productivity demonstrates that he wants to show the American people that his inauguration speech was more than just rhetoric. “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action”, Trump told the American people shortly after he was sworn into office.
It has been difficult to keep up with President Trump’s dizzying pace. First of all, he has been issuing executive orders on a near daily basis which address every major issue including relaxing the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, withdrawing the US from the Transpacific Partnership, implementing a hiring freeze on all non-military federal employees and also cutting the EPA employees by half, greenlighting the Keystone XL Pipeline and of course authorizing the construction of the famous wall on the southern border.
On Friday January 27, Trump signed one of his more controversial executive orders, titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” or what is informally known as “extreme vetting” which bans persons from certain terror-prone countries including Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering the United States for 90 days and suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days until it is reinstated “only for nationals of countries for whom” the Trump Administration can sufficiently vet. Entry of refugees from Syria has been suspended indefinitely.
The number of refugees entering the US during 2017 has now been capped at 50,000, down from its previous level of 110,000. “I am establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” Trump said during the signing. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”
Trump also announced that he had narrowed down his choice for a Supreme Court justice nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia and that he would make the formal announcement the week of January 30.
Trump has wasted no time in scheduling or in some cases cancelling high profile meetings. On Friday January 27, President Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May at The White House, his first official meeting with a foreign head of state. As the world knows now, Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, which was originally scheduled to take place at The White House on January 31, has been cancelled. The cancellation came in the wake of dueling tweets from the Trump and the Mexican president with Pena Nieto insisting that he wasn’t paying for the wall and Trump responding by saying that there was no point in the meeting if Mexico wasn’t paying for the wall.
That being said, the idea that Mexico is going to pay for the wall is hardly a closed issue in that Trump’s latest communication suggests that he will impose a 20% tax on Mexican imports. According Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a 20% tax on Mexican imports could easily generate $10 billion year and “easily pay for the wall”. Mexico’s latest response to the wall brouhaha is to impose boycotts against American products and stage anti-Trump protests.
Trump also had a busy Saturday which included what has been described as “an historic phone call” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump’s day also included phone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Before Trump officially became President Trump, there was lot of speculation as to how he would manage his relationship with the media. Would he continue to use Twitter? Well, we certainly know the answer to that question. Trump continues to send out daily tweets about his key activities demonstrating to the world that no one was going to take the blue bird away from him. Or said another way, President Trump is going to continue to talk directly to the American people without the media getting in his way.
Speaking of the media, President Trump is using the media to his advantage just as he did on the campaign trail. In addition to creating a media event around every executive order or high profile meeting including his meetings with business leaders, union leaders and the Republican leadership, Trump also sat down for two prime time interviews at The White House during his first week respectfully with ABC’s David Muir and Fox News’s Sean Hannity.
And Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s interactions also demonstrate that this President wants a very different relationship with the media than that of his predecessors. Spicer has broken with the past protocol of first calling on the AP reporters and the representatives of the major television networks in favor of other news outlets. For instance, on day one, the first person to ask a question was Daniel Halper of the New York Post. Fox News’s John Roberts is also frequently called upon. There are also plans to add four skype seats to the press briefing room.
Yes. There is no doubt about it. Donald Trump has certainly made an impression during his first official week in The White House.