7 things Donald Trump did in his first week as president
Shut the White House’s public phone line
The White House has shut down its public comment phone line, instead telling callers, with an automated message, that they should contact the administration via Facebook Messenger instead. Even though there is no current active Facebook Messenger account.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said they’re still building the website.
He is introducing a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants in the US
On Wednesday 25, he issued another executive order titled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” which included an instruction that the Secretary for Homeland Security should “on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens” in the US.
The list will also name so-called “sanctuary cities” that are refusing to hand over immigrant residents for deportation, as well as freeze funding and grants to them. These so far include New York, Chicago and Seattle.
The order said:
“To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”
Additionally, he ended a “catch and release” policy under which some immigrants are released from detention while they await a hearing with an immigration judge.
Signed an executive order to build a border wall
One of the main campaign points for Trump was that he was going to build a “great, great wall” to keep all the “bad hombres” out of his great nation.
This week he actually moved toward it, signing an executive order on Wednesday 25 to begin construction of the wall on the border within months.
Just FYI, because he’s been signature happy on these as soon as he got through the door and they’ll be coming up a lot, Professor Aziz Huq (law lecturer at University of Chicago) defines an executive order as:
“Executive order is an instruction in writing issued from the White House by the president that is usually directed at an agency or department within the government that...when it jumps through certain procedural hoops has the force of law.”
The construction of the wall is estimated to cost $14billion which wasn’t quite what his voters had bargained for. Throughout the campaign, he promised Mexico would pay for the wall, not America or Americans, but Mexico has (rightly) straight-up said no.
Trump has just kept repeating that he’ll make them pay for it but noone is quite sure how. When Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto came out to say no again, Trump told him not to bother coming to a meeting they’d planned:
The Mexican president then cancelled his trip. Trump responded by saying they’d increase import tax to 20 per cent on Mexican products, which Mexico pointed out would mean your average American Joe would have to pay more for fridges, washing machines and most importantly, avocados not Mexico. Which might be just the push California needs to go independent.
While we’re on international relations, the White House spokesman Sean Spicer managed to rile up China when responding to comments made by Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (the former Exxon Mobil Corp chairman and chief executive).
Tillerson had said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. It’s an area of contention between China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei thanks to access to shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and oil reserves.
When questioned whether the White House agreed with Tillerson, Spicer said:
“The US is going to make sure that we protect our interests there.
“It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country.”
To which China responded:
“The United States is not a party to the South China Sea dispute.”
It’s a signal of change, swapping caution for brutishness in a historically tense relationship.
Started to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
Within hours of being sworn in, Trump signed an executive order to repeal Obamacare – which if it actually happens will effect over 20 million Americans.
Trump claims they’re going to replace it with ‘something terrific’ but no-one knows what yet. The act is a sprawling legal legislature which will not be easy to dismantle but Trump sure is going to try, taking the first step almost immediately.
That order grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Department of the Treasury, and the IRS all authority available under the current law of the act to roll back the pieces that make it work and directs the secretary to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation”.
Cleared the way for the Dakota pipeline
On Tuesday 24, Trump ordered the re-authorization and rapid completion of the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines, two controversial underground infrastructure projects that will make it easier to transport fossil fuels across North America.
The pipeline projects were suspended last year after the route was diverted to go through Native American land against the will of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (who should be autonomous). The pipelines have previously leaked, killing wildlife and contaminating water sources and following months of protesting, the US Army Corps of Engineers, which has approval authority, suspended the project saying further analysis was needed.
Trump reversed that decision as long as American steel is used in the build...Steel necessary, regard for First Nations not.
Signed a temporary visa ban for people from 7 MENA countries coming into the US, and put a temporary block on refugees
As expected, President Trump has signed an executive order to ban visas for citizens of seven MENA (Middle East and Africa) countries. More than 130 million people from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days. And over the weekend, this caused mass confusion in US airports. More on that below.