Everything the Trump administration has done so far

  • Withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial, multilateral trade deal that would have benefited its 12 member nations with stronger economic ties and a general boost to trade. The agreement made a point of including countries bordering the Pacific Ocean while deliberately excluding China, and as such could have bolstered America’s strategic strength in the Asia-Pacific region. Despite the desires of remaining key countries like Australia and Japan, the deal is unlikely to go forward without the US.
  • Commenced the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, by signing an executive order that instructed the secretary of health and other relevant agencies to do anything within the law to minimise the “burden” of the healthcare policy. While it does not repeal the Act entirely, it does signal Trump’s commitment to dismantle his predecessors system over the coming months. As of yet, the Republican President has not offered an alternative health insurance system.
  • Repeatedly attacked and undermined the media for “dishonest” and false reporting. Only hours after Trump’s inauguration, Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused the press of lying about the size of the crowds that attended the ceremony, despite evidence clearly verifying the media’s reports, and vowed to “hold the press accountable” in the future. As he was doing so, millions of people around the world marched for the rights of women, prompting President Trump to respond with little more than two tweets. Some time later, Counsellor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer’s comments by referring to them as “alternative facts” and, in recent days, chief White House Strategist Stephen Bannon told the media “to keep its mouth shut for a while”.
  • Reinstated the Mexico City abortion policy, otherwise known as the global gag rule, which allows the government to freeze funding of American NGOs abroad if they “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning”. This applies even if these NGOs fund their abortion practices independently. First created in 1984 by President Reagan, this controversial provision has historically been supported by Republican Presidents and repealed by Democratic Presidents, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. According to Vox, Trump’s gag rule goes further than any previous administration.
  • Advanced the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, two projects that last year instigated a widespread protest movement and were eventually suspended due to their potential to severely harm the environment and infringe on traditional Native American sites. While President Trump has said the pipelines could create up to 28,000 jobs, controversy has arisen about Trump’s alleged financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners, the construction company behind the Dakota Access pipeline.
  • Ordered a general freeze of federal hiring, except for positions in the military or associated with national security or public safety, so as to manage the growth of the government until a long-term plan to reduce government work forces can be implemented. Some union leaders, such as the President of the American Federation of Government Employees David Cox Sr., have met this news with concern. “This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems,” Mr Cox said.
  • Authorised the construction of a wall along the 2000 mile US-Mexico border as part of a stated crackdown on illegal immigrants or “removable aliens” crossing into the US, as well as the formation of more detention centres and the suspension of the practice of “catch and release” which has seen apprehended immigrants temporarily let free before deportation. President Trump has consistently stressed that Mexico would foot the bill for this project, be it through a 20% tax on Mexican imported goods or another yet unpublicised strategy. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has said this will not be the case and recently cancelled a scheduled meeting with President Trump in Washington as a sign of resistance.
  • Vowed to halt federal funding to sanctuary cities that have and continue to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation by federal law enforcement officials. In total, there are over 140 sanctuary cities and counties within the country, including New York, San Francisco, LA, Miami, Boston and others, and the withdrawal of federal financial aid could cost each billions.
  • Moved to severely limit immigration and refugee intake by signing executive orders that would suspend the admission of refugees from Syria and possibly other nations for at least 120 days and limit access to the US by people from a number of majority Muslim and other countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The full details of these orders have not yet been released. Regarding Syria, President Trump also made known his desire to establish “safe zones” within Syria that would ideally reduce America’s need to settle refugees within its own borders and stated he would like to prioritise Syrian Christians when it comes to handing out refugee status. Russia cautioned President Trump to consult the Kremlin before making such announcements.

UPDATE: The executive orders pertaining to immigration and refugees have been signed causing widespread chaos at airports around the world. ABC News has more the order’s details.

  • Called for a major investigation into voter fraud which previous studies have consistently shown is practically non existent within the US. This comes following President Trump’s repeated assertion that he, and not Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, would have won the election’s popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”.  Trump also mistakenly stated that voting while being registered to vote in two states constitutes voter fraud. In reality, legitimate voter fraud refers to when a single person votes more than once or in a deceased person’s name.
  • Suggested it would re-open CIA “black sites” and potentially lift bans on torture in a three page draft executive order obtained by The New York Times. If President Trump signs these orders, the US may be on the way to re-establishing detention facilities, such as the controversial Guantánamo Bay facility, around the world, as well as reviving torture tactics such as water-boarding, which Trump said he would bring back during his campaign. The order would also see the revocation of an Obama directive that requires the International Committee of the Red Cross to have constant access to any detainees to ensure their human rights are protected. Recently, however, Trump has said he will not force his “pro-torture” views on his new Defence Secretary General James Mattis, who has been vocally opposed to the practice.
  • Signalled a move towards bilateralism, away from international institutions by drafting an executive order instructing the administration to “review… all current and pending treaties with more than one nation” and find ways to reduce America’s role in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations. While the former of these directions apply only to multilateral treaties or agencies that are not directly concerned with national security, international trade or extradition, it still throws into doubt the future of agreements like 2015’s Paris climate agreement which do not focus solely on trade or security. Regarding the latter, the draft order called for “at least a 40 percent” reduction of US financing of international organisations. President Trump’s inaugural address was heavy with allusions to an isolationist America that prefers to deal with other countries on a one-on-one basis. Such a tactic may make way for the rise of alternative world superpowers more accepting of globalisation, such as China.
  • Communicated with a number of foreign leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, most recently, UK Prime Minister Theresa May. President Trump referred to India as a “true friend” to America, told Prime Minister Netanyahu that America’s plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would not occur “imminently”, and discussed continued support for the US-UK alliance with Prime Minister May. In the same talk, he reaffirmed his “unshakeable commitment” to NATO and fervent support of Brexit.  President Trump also plans to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the coming days.
  • Limited the power of the Environmental Protection Agency by suspending new scientific research grants, which the EPA usually gives out annually to fund research into issues like global warming, ordering the agency to remove its climate change website, and banning the agency from giving updates to social media or journalists. Other government agencies, such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Agriculture have been met with similar demands.
  • Ordered the “great rebuilding” of the US military in an executive order outlining plans for the development of “new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools”. In the same order, President Trump instructed the Pentagon to carry out an assessment of the role nuclear weapons may play in American security tactics.
  • Referred to whistleblower Chelsea Manning as an “ungrateful traitor” after the imprisoned former intelligence analyst penned a column for The Guardian in which she claimed Obama’s presidency was not “bold enough”. The former President commuted Manning’s 35 year prison sentence, which she had received for leaking classified government information concerning America’s conduct in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks, mere days before leaving office.
  • Approved federal disaster assistance for Georgia after the state was hit with a series of deadly storms and severe weather that has killed at least 15 people since January 2nd. This is the first national disaster that the Trump administration has had to deal with.

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