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The Donald Trump presidency is now a week old and already we are seeing sweeping changes from the New York billionaire. Trump wasted no time in trying to implement his campaign promises through numerous executive orders (17 so far).
Trump has yet to introduce any piece of legislation to Congress, and is instead opting to achieve his vision for America through executive action.
An executive order (EO) is a power held solely by the president of the U.S. as the head of the executive branch of government. The president has the power to issue executive orders which are meant to guide federal employees in how to interpret current U.S. laws. Every U.S. president in history has used this power, some more than others.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt currently holds the record for most executive actions with 3,721 orders. Of the most recent presidents, Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders, Bill Clinton had 364, George W. Bush issued 291 and Barack Obama had some of the fewest at 276, according to the American Presidency Project. Trump has issued 17 in seven days. That pace over his four year term would see him eclipse the numbers of Obama and Bush II.
Typically, executive orders are implemented slowly, and take weeks to prepare in order to analyze every facet of the order to ensure a proper implementation and proper understanding. Obama was notorious for spending up to six months on a single executive order and having private law firms lend their expertise to each one, so that every possible outcome of the order was taken into account. Trump has seemingly taken the opposite approach.
The power of executive orders can vary greatly, as proven by Trump’s initial offerings. Some can be entirely symbolic and meant to immediately indulge apprehensive supporters, while some can have immediate, unforeseen consequences on millions of people. This list of Trump’s EO’s will start with the most relevant and perhaps controversial order, the so called “Muslim Ban.”
1.) Jan. 27 – Trump issued an executive order that made drastic changes to the way refugees enter the U.S. from seven particular middle-eastern countries. A temporary ban on refugees in predominantly Muslim countries was ordered. Refugee admissions from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia have been suspended for a period of 120 days. Syria, which is still in the midst of a brutal civil war, is barred from sending any refugees for an indefinite period of time. The order also bars immigration from these countries for 90 days.
The order has caused a global uproar, as multiple national leaders have issued statements admonishing Trump’s actions, millions of protesters gathered in airports across the country and numerous lawsuits were filed against Trump and the federal government.
The backlash to the order was so furious and swift that part of Trump’s order has already been suspended by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly, who ruled that anyone being detained in U.S. airports is immune from being deported, handing Trump his first political defeat.
A number of residents who have lived in the U.S. for multiple years are being detained because of reported confusion by U.S. officials unsure of how to implement the order. One of the detainees is Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an Iraqi national who served 10 years with the 101st Airborne Division as a translator. Darweesh was detained at JFK Airport for 18 hours, according to The New York Times.
2.) Jan. 20 – On his first day, Trump signed an EO calling for “relief” from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The EO allows the Department of Health and Human Services to delay the implementation of any further ACA provisions. The provisions are only eligible for delay or waiving entirely if they are perceived as putting a “financial burden” on any state or restriction on an individual. The EO is an attempt to begin rolling back the ACA entirely.
3.) Jan. 20 – Another inauguration day EO, this one freezes all pending federal regulations until they are approved directly by the Trump administration. This is meant to decrease the overall size and reach of the federal government as Trump talked about many times during his campaign.
4.) Jan. 23 – The “Mexico City Policy” is somewhat of a tradition for incoming presidents. It is either reinstated or abolished by new administrations depending on their political affiliation. Trump has reinstated the policy, which blocks the U.S. federal government from funding foreign non-governmental establishments that either perform or promote abortions.
5.) Jan. 23 – Trump issued an EO that pulled the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), a multinational agreement that the U.S. has been involved with throughout the Obama administration. The agreement was never ratified by the Senate, and therefore never fully implemented, but would have eliminated about 18,000 tariffs to promote trade amongst the pacific countries.
6.) Jan. 23 – Trump issued an EO to freeze the hiring of any new federal employees “across the board.” The EO does not apply to military personnel and will lift when a plan is presented to “reduce the size of the Federal Government’s workforce through attrition.” The order only expires upon implementation of the plan, but calls for a plan within 90 days from the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
7 & 8.) Jan. 24 – Trump issued two EO’s this day, respectively pertaining to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. Both pipelines were halted by the Obama administration after they garnered national attention. Obama vetoed the Keystone pipeline, and the Dakota pipeline saw furious protests halting its construction by order of Obama.
9.) Jan. 24 – This EO calls for expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high priority infrastructure projects. The order says America is more competitive when it has a focus on expanding infrastructure, but that environmental reviews delay the expansion of said infrastructure unnecessarily.
10.) Jan. 24 – This EO called for oil pipelines being constructed in the U.S. be built using American-made steel and metal. This order is still in question for its legality, as it is unclear how Trump plans to force companies to use American steel.
11.) Jan. 24 – Trump issued an EO to instruct the Secretary of Commerce to review the effects of federal regulations on domestic manufacturing in order to promote permitting manufacturers faster.
12.) Jan. 25 – Trump issued an EO meant to increase security along the U.S.’ southern border by calling for 5,000 additional border patrol agents. This order is a tad ironic because of the federal hiring freeze he implemented one day prior. This EO also lays the legal groundwork for his proposed border wall.
13.) Jan. 25 – This EO, called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” calls for the end of “asylum cities.” These are cities where local officials refuse to enforce federal immigration laws pertaining to illegal immigrants, including Miami and San Francisco. The order also calls for the hiring of 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
14.) Jan. 27 – Trump issued an EO calling for the “readiness conditions” of the U.S. military. The order means to strengthen the military by having newly appointed Secretary of Defense James Mattis conduct a review on the military’s readiness in the next 30 days, as well as develop a budget for improvement. The order also calls for a review of the country’s nuclear and missile-defense capabilities.
15.) Jan. 28 – This EO calls for a reorganization of the National Security Council by making it more digitally-focused. The order also gives explicit permission to Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon access to any and all NSC meetings.
16.) Jan. 28 – This order bans every executive appointee in every executive agency from lobbying activities in respect to that agency for five years after leaving the agency. Obama’s initial ban on these situations lasted two years.
17.) Jan. 28 – This EO called for Mattis to create a plan to defeat ISIS and have it in Trump’s hands within the next 30 days. During the signing, Trump said he believes the plan will be “very successful” although the plan has not yet been formulated.
Trump’s approval rating currently stands at a historically low 36 percent for his first five days, according to Politico.