Prior to entering the White House, Donald Trump pledged an energetic “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” How much will he be able to accomplish, and how will his accomplishments compare to his promises? To shed light on these questions, we survey President Trump’s executive orders and other actions as president in the following chronology, updated daily.
Days 65 & 66 (Sat., March 25 & Sun., March 26)
• ObamaCare: President Trump sent out a couple tweets over the weekend about the withdrawal of the House Republican ObamaCare replacement bill on Friday. On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!” And on Sunday, he blasted the House Freedom Caucus for its failure to get behind the bill: “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!” In truth, members of the House Freedom Caucus are pro-life and anti-ObamaCare, but they viewed the Trump-backed ObamaCare replacement bill as ObamaCare lite. For more inforemation, click here.
Day 64 (Fri., March 24)
• House ObamaCare replacement bill withdrawn: After the House Republican ObamaCare replacement bill was withdrawn because it lacked the votes to pass, President Trump stated that “we were very close, and it was a very tight margin,” but “we had no Democrat support.” However, the Trump administration’s and GOP House leadership’s failure to win sufficient support for their replacement bill also had to do to with the fact that many conservative Republican congressmen, particularly in the House Freedom Caucus, viewed the Republican alternative as ObamaCare lite. For more information, click here.
• Keystone XL Pipeline: President Trump announced from the Oval Office today the official approval of the presidential permit for the Keystone KL Pipeline today. “It’s a great day for American jobs and a historic moment for North American and energy independence,” the president said. “This announcement is part of a new era of American energy policy that will lower costs for American families — and very significantly — reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create thousands of jobs right here in America.” For more information, click here.
Day 63 (Thurs., March 23)
• Repealing and replacing ObamaCare: President Trump met today with more than 30 members of the House Freedom Caucus to discuss repealing and replacing ObamaCare. “Members of the House Freedom Caucus thanked the President for engaging with them throughout the negotiations,” according to a White House statement. “The President thanked the group for their willingness to work closely with the White House and their colleagues in Congress to craft the strongest possible bill. The group agreed that their ultimate goal is to implement a system that will drive down costs and increase access to healthcare for millions of Americans. This meeting was a positive step toward that goal.”
Day 62 (Wed., March 22)
• American Health Care Act of 2017: The White House released a “statement of administration policy” today in support of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, the ObamaCare replacement bill that the administration had been promoting since it was introduced. “The AHCA makes significant and important changes as part of a three step process to repeal and replace the ACA [Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare]," the new White House statement said. For more information about the American Health Care Act, click here.
• EU-U.S. relations: Vice President Mike Pence meet today with EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini. “The Vice President reaffirmed the United States' partnership with the European Union,” the White House reported. “The leaders underscored their commitment to work together to address transnational threats and discussed issues of mutual concern including Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran, and North Korea.”
• White House to make financial disclosures public: The White House announced today that, “fulfilling the President’s commitment to ensure an ethical and transparent government, on March 31, 2017, the White House will be making the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Form 278 financial disclosure reports filed by high-level officials in the White House Office available to the public.” The statement continued: “Additionally, in the future, members of the public will be able to make requests through an online portal and receive access to the public financial disclosure reports of officials who have filed their form at least 30 days prior to the date of the request.”
Day 61 (Tues., March 21)
• NASA: President Trump signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Transition Authorization Act of 2017 (S. 442). The act establishes a budget of $19.5 billion for NASA for the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. As described by a White House statement, the act “authorizes the development and execution of a long-range plan for deep space human exploration; invests in robust science, technology and aeronautics portfolios; and endorses the Agency’s successful efforts to nurture a new commercial market that will boost our economy and create more jobs.” During the signing ceremony for the bill, Trump said: “With this legislation, we support NASA’s scientists, engineers, astronauts and their pursuit of discovery. America’s space program has been a blessing to our people and to the entire world. Almost half a century ago, our brave astronauts first planted the American flag on the moon. That was a big moment in our history. Now this nation is ready to be the first in space once again. Today we’re taking the initial steps toward a bold and brave new future for American space flight.”
• The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017: The White House released a statement expressing the administration’s support for H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017. “H.R. 372 would amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to ensure that Federal antitrust laws apply to the business of health insurance,” the White House said in its statement. “The bill supports the goal of giving American families and businesses more control over their own healthcare choices by promoting greater health insurance competition. The bill would specifically prohibit businesses from engaging in anti-competitive practices, including price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation that could drive up healthcare costs.”
Day 60 (Mon., March 20)
• FBI investigating Russian interference in the election: In his appearance today before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI “is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 president election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.” Comey also said he has “no information” supporting President Trump’s tweets alleging that President Obama had wiretapped his phones in the Trump Tower during the campaign. NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers also testified today. Both he and Comey were asked if they had any evidence that Russia had changed vote tallies in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, or Ohio. Both said no. Trump tweeted regarding those responses, “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process,” and he included with his tweet a video clip of that segment of the hearing.
• Iraq-U.S. relations: President Trump welcomed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Oval Office to, in the words of a White House statement, “reaffirm America’s support for Iraq and the Iraqi people in our shared fight against the terrorist group ISIS/Da’esh.” “Together with our partners in the 68-member Global Coalition against ISIS/Da’esh, the United States will continue training and support for Iraqi forces to bring about the terrorist group’s decisive and enduring defeat and further build the capabilities of Iraqi forces,” the White House stated. “This security partnership is a vital component of the national security of both the United States and Iraq.”
Days 58 & 59 (Sat., March 18 & Sun., March 19)
NATO: In a two-part tweet on Saturday, President Trump stated: “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”
Day 57 (Fri., March 17)
• NATO: At a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Trump said that he “reiterated” to the chancellor his “strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense.” He added: “I thanked Chancellor Merkel for the German government’s commitment to increase defense spending and work toward contributing at least 2 percent of GDP.”
• Vocational training: During a roundtable discussion at the White House on vocational training with U.S. and German business leaders, Trump said that “the German apprenticeship model is one of the proven programs to developing a highly skilled workforce.” He continued: “Germany has been amazing at this, and I’m glad that the leaders of so many companies represented today have recently launched successful programs right here in the United States…. I believe that both countries will be stronger if we continue to deepen our bilateral cooperation on vocational training as we build off the best ideas, create the greatest opportunity for growth, and improve the lives of so many workers.” Among those present was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
• U.S.-Irish relations: President Trump met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland “to discuss United States-Ireland economic and cultural ties as part of the White House St. Patrick's Day celebration,” the White House reported. “They agreed on the importance of Northern Ireland's political parties finding a way forward on a shared regional government in order to sustain the peace process launched by the Good Friday Agreement.”
Day 56 (Thurs., March 16)
• Budget “blueprint” released: President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) unveiled “America First — A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” noting that the president’s actual budget for fiscal year 2018 will be released in May. In his message at the beginning of the document, Trump said his blueprint “provides for one of the largest increases in defense spending without increasing the debt”; “significantly increases the budget for immigration enforcement”; “includes additional resources for a wall on the Southern border with Mexico”; “increases funding to address violent crime”; and “puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home.” His plan is to fund the $54 billion increase in defense spending through “targeted reductions elsewhere.” He didn’t mention in his message that “elsewhere” is severely limited to about one-sixth of the total budget, thanks to “mandatory” spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) and interest payments on the national debt. He did not suggest the size of the budget to be presented in May, nor did he refer to former President Obama’s last budget, which spent $4.15 trillion while collecting far less than that, resulting in a deficit approaching $600 billion. The blueprint does call for defunding a number of agencies including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, but the savings would be minuscule compared to the total size of the federal budget. For more information, click here.
• Travel ban: During his press briefing today, Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that “we intend to appeal the flawed rulings” issued by a federal judge in Hawaii Wednesday and a federal judge in Maryland on Thursday blocking nationwide all or substantial provisions of President Trump’s March 6 executive order that banned foreign nationals from six countries identified as being state sponsors of terrorism or havens for terrorists. The executive order was scheduled to go into effect today. Spicer noted that “the Court didn't even bother to quote the relevant statute in its opinion, which could have plainly shown that the President clearly has this authority.” He then quoted the relevant part of the statute (8 U.S. Code 1182), which states: “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” For more information about the rulings, click here.
• Miliary and DHS spending request: President Trump sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asking Congress to consider appropriating additional spending for the current fiscal year (fiscal year 2017) ending September 30. Specifically, his requested “an additional $30 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) to rebuild the U.S. Armed Forces and accelerate the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and an additional $3 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for urgent border protection activities.” In his letter, he also stated, “In conjunction with this request, I recommend that the Congress enact non-defense discretionary reductions of $18 billion in FY 2017, which would fully offset the amounts proposed for DHS and would offset half of the amounts proposed for DOD.”
Day 55 (Wed., March 15)
• CAFE standards: During a speech to automobile company executives and workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, President Trump promised to restore the federal government’s mid-term review of the federal fuel efficiency standards that former President Obama cancelled just before leaving office. “I’m sure you've all heard the big news that we're going to work on the CAFE standards, so you can make cars in America again. We’re going to help the companies, and they’re going to help you,” Trump said. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. CAFE standards are regulations first enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1975 after the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo that required improved average fuel economy of cars and light trucks produced for sale in the United States. The standards have been increased over time. For more information, click here.
• Snoop Dogg: Responding to a new music video in which Snoop Dogg mock-assassinates clown “Ronald Klump,” who is obviously intended to represent Donald Trump, the president responded: “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”
• Tax returns leak: Regarding yesterday’s release of two pages of his tax returns for 2005, President Trump tweeted: “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!”
Day 54 (Tues., March 14)
• Tax returns leak: MSNBC released two pages of President Trump’s tax returns for 2005, with host Rachel Maddow saying that they were obtained from journalist David Cay Johnston, who said he received them in his mail box. Shortly before the Rachel Maddow Show aired, the White House responded preemptively. “You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” a White House official stated. “That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.” The official continued: “Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.”
Day 53 (Mon., March 13)
• Reorganizing the executive branch: President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” “This order is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the executive branch by directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director) to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies …, components of agencies, and agency programs,” the document says. It specifies that “within 180 days …, the head of each agency shall submit to the Director a proposed plan to reorganize the agency, if appropriate, in order to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of that agency.”
• First Cabinet meeting: President Trump held his first Cabinet meeting today. “Unfortunately, not all of our Cabinet members could join us,” Trump said. “We have four empty seats — which is a terrible thing — because the Senate Democrats are continuing to obstruct the confirmation of our nominees for the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, the Director of National Intelligence, and the United States Trade Representative, somebody I want very badly.”
Days 51 & 52 (Sat., March 11 & Sun., March 12)
• ObamaCare: Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Louisville, Kentucky, Sunday on the subject of ObamaCare. “For us to seize this opportunity to repeal and replace ObamaCare once and for all, we need every Republican in Congress — and we’re counting on Kentucky,” Pence said. Interestingly, although he positively referenced Senator Mitch McConnell (and other Kentucky lawmakers who support the president’s repeal-and-replace plan) during his speech, he did not mention the state's other U.S. senator, Rand Paul, who has called the Trump-backed House Republican ObamaCare replacement bill, the American Health Care Act, "ObamaCare Lite" and has offered his own plan. Regarding McConnell, Pence said: “And I got to tell you it’s great to be in the home state of the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. He’s a true friend to me, to our President, and to the people of America.” Click here for information about the American Health Care Act and here for information about Paul’s plan.
Day 50 (Fri., March 10)
• “Three-Pronged Approach to Repeal and Replace Obamacare”: The administration posted a summary of its three-prong approach on the White House website today. The first prong is enactment of the American Health Care Act, the Republican plan that was introduced in the House this week. (For more information, click here.) The other prongs include “2. Provide Essential Regulatory Relief” and “3. Reform Healthcare Through Additional Legislation.” The latter prong includes “allow[ing] health insurance to be sold across state lines,” and “streamlin[ing] processes at the FDA, removing the red tape that slows down approvals of generic competitors to high-price drugs in order to lower the cost of medicine.”
Day 49 (Thurs., March 9)
• U.S. military intervention in Syria: During the daily press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked twice about U.S. boots being put on the ground in Syria. The deployment, first reported by the Washington Post Wednesday, was done without either pubic knowledge or congressional debate or authorization. “During the campaign President Trump was not shy about his desire to get the United States out of these Middle Eastern wars, yet … we just sent 250 Marines into Syria,” one reporter noted. He then asked: “Is President Trump committed to going to Congress to receiving authorization for an AUMF [Authorization for Use of Military Force] or a declaration of war if we continue to deploy United States troops overseas?” Spicier responded: “I think there’s a big difference between an authorization of war than sending a few hundred advisors…. I think that’s a big difference between a hostile action and going in to address some certain concerns.” But “a few hundred advisors” does not adequately describe the nature of the deployment, which includes artillery batteries and heavily armed armored vehicles. For more information, click here.
Day 48 (Wed., March 8)
• Job growth: President Trump tweeted regarding the growth in jobs reported today by the monthly LinkedIn Workforce Report: “LinkedIn Workforce Report: January and February were the strongest consecutive months for hiring since August and September 2015.” The same day this report was released, the ADP/Moody’s jobs report was also released, showing job growth 50-percent ahead of Wall Street’s expectations: 298,000 jobs were created in February versus expectations of less than 200,000 by economists polled by the Wall Street Journal. The job growth was all across the spectrum, with construction and manufacturing sectors adding 106,000 new jobs. For more information, click here.
• International Women’s Day: The White House released a “Statement from the Press Secretary in Honor of International Women’s Day.” “International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon the meaningful progress women have made throughout society,” the statement said, “while also acknowledging that there is still much work that remains to be done to ensure the complete and consequential participation of women in all spheres of economic, political, and public life.” In an early morning tweet, President Trump stated: “On International Women’s Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world.”
Day 47 (Tues., March 7)
• House Republicans’ ObamaCare replacement bill: President Trump tweeted, regarding the House Republican proposal unveiled Monday to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare): “Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!” The House Republican bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), would repeal the individual and employer mandates, along with many of ObamaCare’s taxes. However, it would also impose its own mandates and leave some of ObamaCare’s worst features in place, including the regulations requiring insurers to charge the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions and the provision allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26. Instead of staking out a bold position in favor of the Constitution and free markets, the GOP has chosen to offer up, in the words of Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.), “ObamaCare 2.0.” For more information, click here.
• Senator Rand Paul: President Trump tweeted: “I feel sure that my friend @RandPaul will come along with the new and great health care program because he knows Obamacare is a disaster!” Senator Paul, who refered to the House Republican ObamaCare replacement bill as “ObamaCare Lite,” has offered his own plan to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a system relying on the market for price controls and coverage guidelines. For more information, click here.
• Defense Department appropriations: The White House released a statement saying that the administration supports House passage of H.R. 1301, the Department of Defense appropriations bill for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017. The statement, posted on WhiteHouse.gov, said that “the bill funds critical national security needs.” The statement did not mention the amount of funding, which was summarized on the House floor by Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) the following day: “In total, this bill provides $577.9 billion in funding for the Department of Defense — $516.1 billion in base discretionary funding, and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations and Global War on Terrorism funding. When combined with the funding provided in the continuing resolution supplemental enacted in December, total Defense funding for FY17 equals $584 billion — consistent with the topline provided in the National Defense Authorization Act, and $10.9 billion more than fiscal year 2016 levels.” But military spending for fiscal 2017 will be increased further, if the Trump administration gets its way. The White House statement quoted above explains: “In the coming weeks, the Administration plans to request additional FY 2017 appropriations to improve the warfighting readiness of the military and provide the resources needed to accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”
Day 46 (Mon., March 6)
• New Immigration executive order: President Trump signed an executive order “to protect the Nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.” The new order differs from an earlier order restricting travel to the United States that Trump had signed on January 27, but was soon suspended by a temporary restraining order imposed by a federal court. The new executive order that Trump signed drops Iraq from the nations listed in the previous order — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In place of the ban, Iraq will “increase cooperation with the US government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States,” said an administration fact sheet. In an effort to avoid some of the conflict that led to the court ruling that blocked the original order, the new executive order specifies that lawful permanent residents (those who hold green cards) are excluded from any travel ban, said White House advisor Kellyanne Conway speaking on Fox and Friends. Those with validly issued visas will also be exempt from the ban. For more information, click here.
Day 45 (Sun., March 5)
• What Obama told the Russian president: Amid the controversy about allegations that Russia hacked last year's presidential election and that then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who had endorsed Trump, had communications with the Russian ambassador, Trump tweeted: “Who was it that secretly said to Russian President, ‘Tell Vladimir that after the election I'll have more flexibility?’ @foxandfriends.” Trump was referring to a private conversation between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that was caught on a hot mic on March 26, 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. As captured by the mic, Obama, apparently unaware that he was being recorded, told Medvedev: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” To which Medvedev responded “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].” To watch a YouTube video of the exchange, click here.
Day 44 (Sat. March 4)
• Did Obama wiretap Trump? President Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets today accusing President Obama of "wire tapping" his phones in the Trump Tower during his presidential bid. In the first tweet, Trump said: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” In another tweet he said, “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” And in another, he said: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” For more information, click here.
Day 43 (Fri., March 3)
• Who hasn’t met the Russian ambassador?! President Trump sent two tweets today related to the controversy about Attorney General Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador when he was a U.S. senator. In the first tweet, Trump said: “We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!” The tweet included a photo of Senator Chuck Shumer with Putin. In the second tweet, Trump added: “I hereby demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia, and lying about it.” The latter tweet included a photo, from Politico, of Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi seated with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and others, as well as the Politico headline: “Photo contradicts Pelosi’s statement about not meeting Kislyak.”
• School choice: President Trump visited St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, where he remarked: “As I've often said in my address to Congress and just about anyplace else I can speak, education is the civil rights issue of our time. And it's why I've asked Congress to support a school-choice bill.”
Day 42 (Thurs., March 2)
• “Jeff Sessions is an honest man”: Responding to allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about communications with the Russian ambassador, President Trump said in a series of tweets: “Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total ‘witch hunt!’” For more information about the controversy surrounding Sessions, click here.
• Visiting the USS Gerald R. Ford: President Trump visited the soon-to-be commissioned aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport, Virginia, where he told sailors: “We will give our military the tools you need to prevent war and, if required, to fight war and only do one thing — you know what that is? Win! Win!” He described the carrier fleet as “the centerpiece of American military might overseas” and said “we are standing today on 4.5 acres of combat power and sovereign U.S. territory, the likes of which there is nothing to compete.” He also said his plans for military buildup include a 12-carrier fleet.
Day 41 (Wed., March 1)
• Women’s History Month: President Trump proclaimed March 2017 “Women’s History Month,” stating in his proclamation: “America will continue to fight for women's rights and equality across the country and around the world. Though poverty holds back many women, America cannot and will not allow this to persist. We will empower all women to pursue their American dreams, to live, work and thrive in safe communities that allow them to protect and provide for themselves and their families.”
Day 40 (Tues., Feb. 28)
• Speech to a joint session of Congress: “My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America,” President Trump told a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, reemphasizing his campaign theme of putting America First. And he pointedly told Congress and the watching American public that it is not the proper role of the United States to impose its will on other sovereign nations: "Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. We know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more." The speech covered many of the same themes the new president often spoke of during his rather unorthodox campaign, which ended in his upset victory last November: rewriting global trade rules, halting illegal immigration, repealing ObamaCare, reducing government regulation of private enterprise, defeating “radical Islamic terrorism,” rebuilding the American military, and supporting the police. “We’ve defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross,” Trump asserted. “By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone.” “For that reason,” Trump continued, “we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border.” For more information, click here.
• First step toward eliminating “Waters of the United States” power grab: President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review and reconsider the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulation, a radical decree issued by the Obama administration purporting to regulate virtually all water and much of the land across America. “The Clean Water Act says that the EPA can regulate ‘navigable waters’ — meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce,” Trump explained before signing the order. “But a few years ago, the EPA decided that ‘navigable waters’ can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land.” Trump called this rule a “massive power grab,” adding: “The EPA’s regulators were putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands, and regulations and permits started treating our wonderful small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter.” He cited as an example a Wyoming rancher who “was fined $37,000 a day by the EPA for digging a small watering hole for his cattle.” While stopping short of quashing the controversial rule altogether, analysts described Trump's executive order as a first step in that process. “With today’s executive order, I’m directing the EPA to take action, paving the way for the elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule,” Trump said. The latest order comes amid media reports that Trump is readying another executive order to dismantle Obama's “climate” regulations purporting to limit emissions of the “gas of life” carbon dioxide. For more information, click here.
• Protecting the Second Amendment: President Trump signed a bill (House Joint Resolution 40) nullifying a Social Security Administration rule that (as described by a White House statement dated February 1) “would prevent some Americans with disabilities from purchasing or possessing firearms based on their decision to seek Social Security benefits.” For more information, click here.
Day 39 (Mon., Feb. 27)
• Meeting with National Governors Association: President Trump held a White House meeting with the nation’s governors, telling them that “many of you have shared past frustrations with waiting for permission from the federal government and agencies,” that this has been “catastrophic for some of your states,” and that “we’re going to speed it up.” Why? “Because that's not how a partnership is supposed to work. The government should not stand in your way in delivering needed reforms and services — and it won't.” He also promised the governors, “We’re also going to do whatever we can to restore the authority of the states when that is the appropriate thing to do. We’re going to give you back a lot of the powers that have been taken away from states and great people and great governors.” Under the U.S. Constitution, the powers delegated to the federal government are (in the words of James Madison) “few and defined,” while those retained by the states are “many and indefinite.” But over many years, during both Republican and Democrat administrations, the federal government has increasingly intruded in areas outside the proper (constitutional) scope of federal authority — from public education to housing. And since the person (or entity) who pays the piper calls the tune, the aid that the federal government has provided for state-administered programs has come with the proverbial strings attached. In his meeting with the governors, Trump also talked about the budget he would be proposing for the U.S. government, describing it as “a public safety and national security budget” that would include a “historic increase in defense spending.”
• Listening session with health insurance CEOs: President Trump held a “listening session” at the White House with CEOs of health insurance companies. He told them, “We must work together to save Americans from Obamacare — you people know that, and everyone knows that at this point — to create more competition and to bring down the prices substantially.”
Day 38 (Sun., Feb. 26)
• DNC race “rigged”: President Trump tweeted, regarding yesterday’s election of Thomas Perez over Keith Ellison for DNC chairman: “The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally ‘rigged.’ Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!”
Day 37 (Sat., Feb. 25)
• White House Correspondents’ Dinner: President Trump tweeted: “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” White House Correspondents’ Association president Jeff Mason responded in a statement: “The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump’s announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic.” This year’s annual dinner is scheduled for April 29.
• Reaction to race for new DNC chairman: After former secretary of Labor Thomas Perez edged out U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (Minn.) in two rounds of voting as the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, President Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party!”
Day 36 (Fri., Feb. 24)
• CPAC speech: President Trump spoke this morning at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Maryland, where he once again criticized the “dishonest media” for its “fake news” while drawing a distinction between “fake news” and the media. “A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people — and they are. They are the enemy of the people,” Trump told the annual gathering. However, “In covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word ‘fake.’ And all of a sudden the story became, the media is the enemy.” He added, “I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press,” though the media narrative says otherwise. On February 17 Trump tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” This tweet was widely portrayed by the media and others as saying that the media, as opposed to the “FAKE NEWS media,” is “the enemy of the American people.” In his CPAC speech, Trump also told the gathering: “We’re all part of this very historic movement, a movement the likes of which, actually, the world has never seen before…. The core conviction of our movement is that we are a nation that put and will put its own citizens first.” A statement released by the White House yesterday describes CPAC as “a gathering of conservative activists from all across the country who meet to learn from each other, receive training in activism and campaign management, and hear from prominent conservative leaders.” This was Trump’s fifth appearance at CPAC. According to the White House statement, “To date, three Presidents have addressed CPAC.” For more information, click here.
• Regulatory reform: President Trump signed an executive order, entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,” that declaried: “It is the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.” Under the order, agency heads will “designate an agency official as its Regulatory Reform Officer,” and “each RRO shall oversee the implementation of regulatory reform initiatives and policies to ensure that agencies effectively carry out regulatory reforms, consistent with applicable law.” Also, each agency will establish a “Regulatory Reform Task Force,” chaired by the PRO unless the agency head designates someone else.
Day 35 (Thurs., Feb. 23)
• Meeting with manufacturing CEOs: President Trump met with 24 CEOs of large manufacturing firms in the White House. “As you know, the United States lost one-third of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA,” Trump said to them. “That's an unbelievable number and statistic. And 70,000 factories closed since China joined the WTO — 70,000 factories.” “So you say, what are we doing, Trump asked rhetorically. Continuing, he said: “My administration's policies and regulatory reform, tax reform, trade policies will return significant manufacturing jobs to our country. Everything is going to be based on bringing our jobs back, the good jobs, the real jobs. They've left, and they're coming back.”
Day 34 (Wed., Feb. 22)
• Rescinding transgender bathroom and Locker-room rules: The Trump administration’s Departments of Justice and Education announced that they are withdrawing and rescinding the federal guidelines put in place by the Obama administration specifying that public schools must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender. The change in policy was outlined in a “Dear Colleague” letter the departments are in the process of sending to the nation’s public schools. For more information, click here.
• Cleaning up the fiscal mess: In opening remarks at what he described as “somewhat of an informal” budget meeting, President Trump noted that “the budget we’re inheriting — essentially inheriting — is a mess” and that “the finances of our country are a mess.” “But," he continued, “we’re going to clean them up.” To accomplish this, he promised: “We’ll be directing all of our departments and agencies to protect every last American and every last tax dollar. No more wasted money.” Yet the federal fiscal crisis is so immense — Trump pointed out in his remarks that the national debt doubled over the last eight years — that eliminating government waste, by itself, would not come close to solving the problem. To do that, unconstitutional government programs and agencies need to be phased out and eliminated. Trump did not recommend any such cutback in his remarks, except perhaps when he said “healthcare is moving along nicely.” Regarding that issue, Trump has called for repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
• “Buy American and hire American”: Speaking to employees at the Fabick Cat factory in Fenton, Missouri, Vice President Pence said that “businesses are already reacting to President Trump’s ‘buy American and hire American’ vision with optimism, investment, and a belief in our country again,” citing as examples GM, U.S. Steel, and IBM. “They’re already announcing their intention to keep jobs here, to create news ones, tens of thousands of them,” Pence said. “As Ford Motor Company’s chief executive put it, even before the President took his oath of office, their investments are a ‘vote of confidence in the agenda of President Donald Trump.’” Regarding that agenda, Pence said, “If you take nothing else from what I tell you today, know this: The nightmare of Obamacare is about to end.”
Day 33 (Tues., Feb. 21)
• Securing the border: In keeping with President Trump’s promises to secure the borders of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security released today two memoranda, dated Feb. 20, detailing how the Trump administration will enforce immigration laws both along the border and in the interior. The memos, from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, detail the ways in which the administration will prosecute illegal immigrants and criminal immigrants as well as allow local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. Under Trump’s immigration policy, Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will not be barred from pursuing illegal immigrants, as they were under Obama’s policy. As White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a press conference, “For so long, [Border Patrol and ICE agents] had their hands cuffed behind them.... What we’ve done is to make sure that they have the ability and the guidance and the resources to do what their mission is. And that’s it, plain and simple.” The policy also puts the heat on the so-called sanctuary cities, where immigration laws have not been considered enforcible, and eliminates an office Obama had put in place to act as an advocate of illegal immigrants within DHS.
• African American museum: President Trump toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. He described the museum as “a beautiful tribute to so many American heroes — heroes like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, the Greensboro students, and the African American Medal of Honor recipients,” and said that he’s “deeply proud that we now have a museum that honors the millions of African American men and women who built our national heritage, especially when it comes to faith, culture and the unbreakable American spirit.” He also said that his tour “was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” adding, “The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”
Day 32 (Mon., Feb. 20)
• New national security advisor: President Trump announced from his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago that Lt. General H.R. McMaster will be his new national security advisor, replacing former Lt. General Michael Flynn, who resigned on February 13 in the midst of controversy regarding his phone conversations with the Russian ambassador last December, during the transition period. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the day after Flynn resigned that the decision to ask him to do so was was “not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue." For more information about Flynn's resignation, click here.
• What's happening in Sweden? In response to media reports claiming that there is no refugee crisis in Sweden, President Trump tweeted: “Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!” Is it working out “beautifully” or isn't it? What’s really happening in Sweden? For information on the subject, see The New American's article "Swedish Police: Government Covering Up Huge Migrant Crime Spree."
• U.S.-EU “partnership”: Speaking alongside European Council President Donald Tusk at a joint news conference in Brussels, where the European Union is headquartered, Vice President Pence said: “It’s my privilege on behalf of President Trump to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union.” For more information, click here. However, in a BCC interview in January, Trump’s proposed ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch, described Trump’s position on the EU differently: “[He] doesn’t like an organization that is supranational, that is unelected, where the bureaucrats run amok, and is not frankly a proper democracy.” Earlier this month, in another BBC interview, Malloch said Trump wants to deal with the nation-states in the EU bilaterally. For more information, click here.
Day 31 (Sun., Feb. 19)
• Sweden statement: Clarifying a statement he made Saturday in his Melbourne, Florida, speech (see below), President Trump tweeted: “My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”
Day 30 (Sat., Feb. 18)
• Defending his travel ban: Speaking at a rally in Melbourne, Florida, President Trump defended his executive order that suspended foreign nationals from seven countries from entering the United States. Trump read from the statute providing the legal basis for his executive order. He said that he disagreed “big league” with the court ruling blocking enforcement of his order, and that “we will do something next week. I think you'll be impressed. Let's see what happens.” He then added, “Here's the bottom line. We've got to keep our country safe.... You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what's happening in Brussels. You look at what's happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We've allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing.” The reference to “last night in Sweden” served as a lightning rod for criticism of Trump’s remarks since there were no reports of terrorism in Sweden Friday night. But although largely dismissed by the major media, Europe is in the throes of a refugee crisis that is going from bad to worse. For information about this crisis, click here, here, and here. Regarding Sweden in particular, click here.
Day 29 (Fri., Feb. 17)
• “Buy American and hire American”: President Trump attended the unveiling ceremony of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft in North Charleston, South Carolina. “We're here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing,” he said. “We're also here today to celebrate jobs.... This plane, as you know, was built right here in the great state of South Carolina. Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports and more on products made right here in the U.S.A.” Trump continued: “This is our mantra: Buy American and Hire American.... Since November, jobs have already begun to surge. We’re seeing companies open up factories in America. We’re seeing them keep jobs at home. Ford, General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler — just to name a very, very few. So many more already. They are keeping and bringing thousands of jobs back in country because the business climate, they know, has already changed.”
Day 28 (Thurs., Feb. 16)
• “Fake News”: In an extraordinary news conference, President Trump condemned the major media’s dissemination of “fake news,” using the phrase seven times in his answers to the White House press corp. The phrase was also used five times in the questions Trump fielded from reporters. The word “fake” was used in the context of news stories based on fabricated information at least another nine times. Trump was the first to interject the phrase “fake news” into the news conference, when he was asked if he had asked for Michael Flynn’s resignation as national security advisor. Trump began his response by saying: “Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who — there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who is with us today. And I was not happy with the way that information was given…. What he did wasn’t wrong,” But taking the establishment media to the woodshed, Trump continued: What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information, because that was classified information that was given illegally. That’s the real problem. And you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a fake news, fabricated deal to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats, and the press plays right into it..” Later in the news conference, Trump said that “over the course of time, I'll make mistakes and you’ll write badly and I'm okay with that. But I’m not okay when it [the news] is fake.” Citing CNN specifically, he said, “It’s so much anger and hatred…. I don’t watch it anymore.”
• Travel ban redux: In the same press conference, President Trump addressed the ongoing legal battle over his suspension of the controversial refugee program, saying that while appealing the restraining order, he will be “issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country.” He promised that the new executive action “will be done some time next week, toward the beginning or middle at the latest part.” This appears to be the type of action The New American addressed in a previous article.
• Claim: Intel being withheld from the president: The Wall Street Journal reported today that intelligence agencies have “withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.” The information being withheld includes “the sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information” such as “the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government,” according to unnamed current and former officials. For more information, click here.
• Coal mining: President Trump signed legislation (House Joint Resolution 38) nullifying the Stream Protection Rule finalized by the Interior Department on December 20, 2016, after Trump’s election to the presidency but prior to Obama’s departure. When he signed the legislation, Trump said that “compliance costs for this rule would be over $50 million a year for the coal industry alone, and it’s unnecessary.” A White House-released statement about the bill said, “Since January 2009, the coal mining industry has lost over 36,000 jobs without any relief in sight.”
Day 27 (Wed., Feb. 15)
• U.S.-South Africa relations: President Trump spoke with South African President Jacob Zuma about how to expand cooperation and trade between the two nations. “President Trump also suggested that the United States and South Africa do more to collaborate on shared security interests, including the fight against terrorism,” the White House reported. Ironically, the African National Congress (ANC) political party that Zuma leads was officially on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations until 2008. The Soviet-backed, Communist Party controlled terrorist organization and political party was placed on this list in the 1980s by the Ronald Reagan administration — and for good reason. In its war against the South African government backed by communist forces from around the world, the ANC was ruthless, regularly bombing civilians. The party also frequently murdered dissidents, particularly black opponents of the ANC, using some of the most savage techniques imaginable, including a method touted by Nelson Mandela’s wife known as “necklacing” in which a gasoline-soaked tire would be set ablaze around the victim’s neck. More recently, Zuma went on national television and sang a genocidal song promising to massacre members of the embattled Afrikaner minority. For more information about the ANC, its communist views, and its terrorist history, click here.
• U.S.- Israel relations: President Trump welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House, telling a joint press conference: “With this visit, the United States again reaffirms our unbreakable bond with our cherished ally, Israel. The partnership between our two countries built on our shared values has advanced the cause of human freedom, dignity and peace. These are the building blocks of democracy.” Trump used the occasion to say that he would “do more” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons: “The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions…. My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing — I mean ever — a nuclear weapon.” Regarding U.S. foreign aid to Israel, the president said: “Our security assistance to Israel is currently at an all-time high, ensuring that Israel has the ability to defend itself from threats of which there are unfortunately many.” And regarding the animus at the United Nations toward Israel, Trump said that he rejects the “unfair and one-sided actions against Israel at the United Nations — just treated Israel, in my opinion, very, very unfairly — or other international forums, as well as boycotts that target Israel.”
• Deregulation: President Trump held a “listening session” at the White House with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and CEOs of member companies. He told them that “overregulation costs our economy an estimated $2 trillion a year, which is incredible — $2 trillion — and it costs your businesses a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money and time.” He noted too that he’s “taken executive action to create a permanent structure of regulatory reduction” by knocking out two regulations for every new regulation.
Day 26 (Tues., Feb. 14)
• Deregulation: President Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 41, which nullifies the "Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers" rule finalized by the Security and Exchange Commission in 2016. In its summary of the resolution, the Congressional Research Services says that the rule “requires resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals.” The White House released a statement the day Trump signed H. J. Res. 41 saying that “this legislation could save American businesses as much as $600 million annually in regulatory compliance costs and spare them 200,000 hours of paperwork,” and that “the regulation created an unfair advantage for foreign-owned extraction companies.”
• Flynn resignation: During his press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Michael Flynn was asked to tender his resignation as national security advisor “not based on a legal issue, but based on a trust issue, where a level of trust between the President and General Flynn had eroded to the point where he felt he had to make a change.” He continued: “The President was very concerned that General Flynn had misled the Vice President and others. He was also very concerned in light of sensitive subjects dealt with by that position of national security advisors — like China, North Korea and the Middle East — that the President must have complete and unwavering trust for the person in that position. The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable instances is what led the President to ask for General Flynn’s resignation.” For information regarding the controversy resulting in Flynn’s resignation, click here.
• School choice: At a “Parent-Teacher Conference Listening Session at the White House,” President Trump expressed his support for charter schools: “I want every single disadvantaged child in America, no matter what their background or where they live, to have a choice about where they go to school…. Charter schools, in particular, have demonstrated amazing gains and results. And you look at the results — we have cases in New York City that have been amazing in providing education to disadvantaged children and the success of so many different schools that I can name throughout the country that I got to see during the campaign. As described by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, the conference included “parents and educators representing traditional public schools, charter public schools, homeschools, private schools, a range of choices.” For more information about the administration's support of charter schools and school choice, click here.
Day 25 (Mon., Feb. 13)
• National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns: President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned from his post in the midst of a controversy over a late-December conversation with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period prior to Trump's inauguration. Flynn is accused of having given Kislyak assurance, or at least the impression, that the incoming Trump administration would lift sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia in retaliation for that country’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election. The two men spoke by telephone on December 29, the same day the sanctions were announced. In his resignation letter, Flynn did not comment on whether he had discussed the sanctions with Kislyak. He did, however, confess to having “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding” his conversations with Kislyak. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology,” he wrote. For more information, click here. Following Flynn's resignation, Trump named Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. (Ret.) as acting national security advisor.
• Roundtable with women entrepreneurs: President Trump welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House, where the two leaders participated in a roundtable discussion about women in the workforce as part of their first official meeting. In his remarks at the roundtable, Trump said: “We need to make it easier for women to manage the demands of having both a job and a family, and we also need to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to get access to capital.” A joint statement from Trump and Trudeau about a number of topics including women entrepreneurs said: “It is a priority of both countries to ensure equal opportunities for women in the workforce. We are committed to removing barriers to women’s participation in the business community and supporting women as they advance through it. As part of this effort, we are creating a United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.”
Day 24 (Sun., Feb. 12)
• Travel ban: President Trump tweeted regarding the seven countries targeted by his travel ban: “72% of refugees admitted into U.S. (2/3 -2/11) during COURT BREAKDOWN are from 7 countries: SYRIA, IRAQ, SOMALIA, IRAN, SUDAN, LIBYA & YEMEN.”
Day 23 (Sat., Feb. 11)
• Hosting the Japanese prime minister: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo and his wife at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. The previous day, the White House issued a joint statement from Trump and Abe about the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Day 22 (Fri., Feb. 10)
• U.S.-Iraq alliance: President Trump spoke by phone with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. According to the “readout” of the call released by the White House, the president “underscore[ed] the support of the United States for the Iraqi people in our shared fight against the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and “emphasized the buildup of the United States military.” Also, Trump and al-Abadi “spoke to the threat Iran presents across the entire region” and “reaffirmed their commitment to the long-term partnership between the United States and Iraq grounded in the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement.”
• U.S.-Japan alliance: Welcoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House, President Trump said at a joint press conference: “The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Pacific region. It is important that both Japan and the United States continue to invest very heavily in the alliance to build up our defense and our defensive capabilities.” The White House released a joint statement from the two leaders that expressed the United States’ military commitment to Japan’s security: “The U.S.-Japan Alliance is fully capable of ensuring the security of Japan. The United States is fully committed to defending its homeland, forces, and allies, through the full range of U.S. military capabilities.” The joint statement also said that the United States and Japan are “committed to rigorous implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea.”
Day 21 (Thurs., Feb. 9)
• “SEE YOU IN COURT”: After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a suspension of President Trump’s travel ban, which applies to citizens of seven countries and refugees, Trump fired back on Twitter, in all uppercase letters: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” For information about the travel ban, click here; for information about travel bans imposed by previous presidents (Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama) that were not suspended by the courts, click here.
• “One China” policy: President Trump spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to the “readout” of the call released by the White House, “President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our ‘one China’ policy.” Under this policy, the U.S. government does not recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign country. In 1979, the United States broke off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China and recognized instead the People’s Republic of China, the communist regime that subjugated the mainland.
• Tax cuts: In a meeting with airline executives at the White House, President Trump promised an announcement soon regarding tax cuts: “Lowering the overall tax burden on American businesses big league. That’s coming along very well. Way ahead of schedule, I believe. And we're going to be announcing something, I would say, over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax, and developing our aviation infrastructure.”
• Executive orders on crime and law enforcement: After swearing in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump signed three executive orders that, he said in his remarks at the swearing in, were “designed to restore safety in America.” After signing the three orders, the White House released a statement summarizing them. “[The] first executive order will place the government firmly on the side of federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement. This will ensure that funding supports officers on the street, and anyone who tries to do them harm will be aggressively prosecuted,” according to a statement. “The second Executive Order will instruct the Attorney General to form a task force to look at how crime can be reduced and public safety increased.” And the third “instructs the Attorney General to form a separate task force to focus on destroying transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels.”
• U.S.-Afghanistan strategic partnership: President Trump spoke by phone with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. According to a “readout” of the call released by the White House, Trump “emphasized the ongoing importance of the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership and his support for the National Unity Government.”
Day 20 (Wed., Feb. 8)
• What's happening with ObamaCare repeal? During the press briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, the Breitbart News reporter noted that “journalist Matt Drudge tweeted today that the Republican Party should be sued for fraud, basically upset about the lack of any legislation to repeal Obamacare or any tax cut legislation.” — and then asked: ”So what's your message to him and anyone else who's worried about sort of the big push in the beginning and who might be concerned that that momentum is stalling?” Spicer responded: “I think it's hardly stalling. I think it's a mammoth thing to repeal and replace. I think there's no question the President's commitment to doing this. You've heard Speaker Ryan talk about how we should be able to have this wrapped up by the end of the year. It's a big bill. It got jammed through, and it was very sweeping. We're talking about one-fifth of our economy. We can either do it quickly, as the Democrats did, and end up with a monstrosity where premiums go up, access is limited, or we can do it right.”
• The Cabinet: President Trump formally announced his 24 Cabinet members, including those not yet confirmed. To see the list at WhiteHouse.gov, click here. One of the names on the list, Senator Jeff Sessions, who is well known for his strong opposition to the TPP and illegal immigration, was confirmed by the Senate today as attorney general.
Day 19 (Tues., Feb. 7)
• School choice and Betsy DeVos: Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate confirming President Trump’s nomination of Besty DeVos for secretary of education. DeVos is known as an advocate of school choice. In a statement after the vote, Pence said of DeVos: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a public school, a private school, a parochial school, a charter school, or any other kind of school — she will help ensure that every student has access to a good school.” Presumably this means that federal funds would be used to support both private and public schools including charter schools, raising the specter of federal control of education being expanded into private education through federal funding. Although "school choice" advocates opine that federal support for education should not be limited to traditional public schools, the federal government has no constitutional authority to interject itself into the education sector. For more information about Betsy DeVos and school choice, see here and here.
• Cabinet confirmations: President Trump lamented today on Twitter: “It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country. Obstruction by Democrats!”
• Asset forfeiture before conviction: When President Trump met with National Sheriffs’ Association members at the White House for a “roundtable” discussion, Rockwall County, Texas, Sheriff Harold Eavenson told the president: “On asset forfeiture, we got a state senator in Texas who was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we can receive their forfeiture.” After Trump interjected, “Can you believe that?," Eavenson added: “And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation.” To which Trump responded, “Who is the state senator? Want to give his name? We'll destroy his career.” For more information, click here.
Day 18 (Mon., Feb. 6)
• “We strongly support NATO": In his remarks at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, President Trump said: “We strongly support NATO. We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO Alliance, which many of them have not been doing. Many of them have not been even close, and they have to do that.” Under the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, member nations “agree that an armed attack against one or more of them ... shall be considered an attack against them all.” This agreement, requiring the United States to go to war if any member of NATO is attacked, undermines the provision in the U.S. Constitution that gives the U.S. Congress the power to declare war.
Day 17 (Sun., Feb. 5)
• NATO: President Trump spoke by phone with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg “about the United States’ strong support for NATO,” according to a “readout” of the call released by the White House. Trump and Stoltenberg, who is Norwegian, also discussed “how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments” and “the potential for a peaceful resolution of the conflict along the Ukrainian border.”
• The president on Putin: In a pre-taped Fox News interview broadcast before the Super Bowl, Bill O’Reilly asked President Trump if he respected Putin. Trump said that “I do respect him” and that “I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I am going to get along with him. He's a leader of his country. I say it's better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS ... that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.” When Reilly pressed, “Putin’s a killer,” Trump said: “There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent?” For a perspective regarding the latter comment, click here.
Day 16 (Sat., Feb. 4)
• Response to restraining order against travel ban: President Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets protesting the temporary restraining order a federal judge had issued the day before against his travel ban pertaining to nationals of seven countries and refugees. Trump said in one of his tweets: “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” In another tweet he stated: “Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision.” By the end of the day, the Trump administration appealed the decision and asked that the temporary restraining order be stayed, allowing the travel ban to be reinstituted. For more information, click here.
Day 15 (Fri., Feb. 3)
• Rolling back Dodd-Frank: President Trump signed an executive order directing the secretary of the treasury to review financial regulations. The order is intended to be a first step toward rolling back the Obama-era Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In a morning meeting with business leaders, Trump said, “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank.” For more information, click here.
• The Fiduciary Duty Rule: Trump signed an executive memorandum ordering a review the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Duty Rule, due to take effect in April, that would raise the standards of all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice to the level of a fiduciary, a much higher level of accountability than previously required of financial salespersons, such as brokers, planners and insurance agents. The memorandum sets the stage for repealing or revising the Fiduciary Duty Rule. In his memorandum, Trump states, “One of the priorities of my Administration is to empower Americans to make their own financial decisions, to facilitate their ability to save for retirement and build the individual wealth necessary to afford typical lifetime expenses, such as buying a home and paying for college, and to withstand unexpected financial emergencies.”
• Iran: National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn said in a statement: “Today, the United States sanctioned twenty-five individuals and entities that provide support to Iran’s ballistic missile program and to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force.” Flynn charged: “Iran’s senior leadership continues to threaten the United States and our allies. Since the Obama Administration agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran in 2015, Iran’s belligerent and lawless behavior has only increased.... Just this week, Iran tested a ballistic missile, and one of its proxy terrorist groups attacked a Saudi vessel in the Red Sea.” The statement concluded: “The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.”
Day 14 (Thurs., Feb. 2)
• The Johnson Amendment: In his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump acknowledged that “our Republic was formed on the basis that freedom is not a gift from government, but that freedom is a gift from God," and that “among those freedoms is the right to worship according to our own beliefs." He continued: “That is why I will get rid of, and totally destroy, the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.” The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits tax-exempt organizations including churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates. For more information, click here.
Day 13 (Wed., Feb. 1)
• Policy statement on legislation to nullify regulations: The White House released a “Statement of Administration Policy” in support of five House joint resolutions, including legislation to begin nullifying “unnecessary” and “burdensome” regulations imposed by the executive branch on American businesses. The legislation includes H.J. Res. 38, which would nullify a recently promulgated rule that “would establish onerous requirements for coal mining operations”; and H.J. Res. 41, which would nullify a rule that would “require oil and gas producers to reduce natural gas waste and emissions, regardless of whether or not it is economically viable to do so.” The recommended legislation also includes H.J. Res. 40, which would nullify a rule that “would prevent some Americans with disabilities from purchasing or possessing firearms based on their decision to seek Social Security benefits.” The statement concludes: “If these bills were presented to the President in their current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign them into law.”
• Iran: National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn said in a statement today: “Recent Iranian actions, including a provocative ballistic missile launch and an attack against a Saudi naval vessel conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants, underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.” He added: “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
Day 12 (Tues., Jan. 31)
• Nominating Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court: Calling 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch a man whose “qualifications are beyond dispute” with “an extraordinary résumé as good as it gets,” President Donald Trump announced Gorsuch his pick Tuesday night to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch promised that, if confirmed, he would be a “faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great country.” Calling the U.S. Constitution the “greatest charter of human liberties” ever conceived on Earth, he told a prime time national television audience that he saw the judge’s role to apply that Constitution to cases that come before him. For more information, click click here.
Day 11 (Mon., Jan. 30)
• President Trump to the acting attorney general: You’re fired! President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tonight, after she had earlier in the day ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend challenges to the president’s executive order temporarily banning foreign nationals from seven countries from entering the United States and suspending the refugee program. For more information, click here.
• Reducing regulation: President Trump signed an executive order on “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs,” which states that “it is the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources,” and that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.” The order also states that for fiscal year 2017, “the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero, unless otherwise required by law or consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.” For more information, click here.
Day 10 (Sun., Jan. 29)
• U.S. soldier killed in Yemen: The White House released a statement by President Trump on a U.S. service member killed in Yemen. “The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member,” Trump said in his statement. “I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.” But the tragic death of a U.S. soldier in Yemen raises important questions: Should the U.S. military have boots on the ground there? Should we be engaged in a war in Yemen without the constitutionally required declaration of war — and without even a congressional debate? Should a single person decide when to plunge the nation into the crucible of war, regardless if he is President Obama or President Trump? Does our military interventionism in Yemen (and elsewhere in the Middle East) reduce the terrorist threat and make America safer, or does it have the opposite effects? And is the interventionism worth the sacrifice — including the ultimate sacrifice — of our soldiers?
Day 9 (Sat., Jan. 28)
• Defeating ISIS: President Trump signed a memorandum stating that “it is the policy of the United States that ISIS be defeated.” To achieve this end, the memorandum orders the secretary of defense to develop a comprehensive plan in collaboration with other administration officials, and to submit a preliminary draft of the plan to the president within 30 days. The memorandum warns that “ISIS has engaged in a systematic campaign of persecution and extermination in those territories it enters or controls,” and that, if “left in power, the threat that it poses will only grow.” The memorandum does not comment, however, on how ISIS became a threat to begin with. For information regarding the role that U.S. foreign policy played in the rise of ISIS, see here and here.
• Lobbying ban on political appointees: President Trump signed an executive order banning the administration’s appointees in “every executive agency” from being able to “engage in lobbying activities with respect to that agency” for five years after the termination of employment.
Day 8 (Fri., Jan. 27)
• Suspending refugee program and entry of nationals from seven countries: President Trump signed an executive order to suspend for at least 90 days the entry of foreign nationals into the United States from seven “countries of particular concern”: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. (In the case of Syria, the suspension is indefinite.) The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. In the "Purpose" section of his order, Trump explained: “Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.” He also stated: “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law.” For more information, click here.
• March for Life: On the day of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., President Trump tweeted: “The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching --- you have my full support!” Vice President Pence appeared at the pro-life event on behalf of the Trump administration. “More than two-hundred and forty years ago, our Founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages," Pence told the massive crowd. “They declared ‘these truths to be self-evident.’ That we are, all of us, ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights,’ and ‘that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’” He continued: “Forty-four years ago, our Supreme Court turned away from the first of these timeless ideals," in reference to the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. For more information about this year’s March for Life, click here.
• U.S.-Mexico relations: President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke by phone “for an hour” this morning and had “a productive and constructive call," according to a “Joint Statement on U.S.-Mexico Relations” posted at WhiteHouse.gov. “With respect to payment for the border wall,” the statement said, “both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.” The previous day, Nieto had cancelled a face-to-face meeting he was to have with Trump, but after the hour-long phone conversation — originally scheduled for just 10 minutes — the White House said it would reschedule a face-to-face meeting “in the near future.” For more information, click click here.
• U.S. British relations: President Trump hosted his first foreign head of state at the White House, British Prime Minister Theresa May. “Together, America and the United Kingdom are a beacon for prosperity and the rule of law,” Trump said in his opening remarks. “That is why the United States respects the sovereignty of the British people and their right of self-determination.”
Day 7 (Thurs., Jan. 26)
• National School Choice Week: The White House website announced today that President Trump had released a proclamation the day before declaring “January 22 through January 28, 2017, as National School Choice Week.” In the proclamation, he states: “ I encourage parents to evaluate the educational opportunities available for their children. I also encourage State lawmakers and Federal lawmakers to expand school choice for millions of additional students,” by which he presumably means allocating more taxpayer dollars to private, religious, and charter schools. For more information, click here.
• Bradley Manning: President Trump called Bradley Manning (who now goes by the name "Chelsea") a "traitor" in a tweet today: “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!” For more information about Manning and the commutation of his sentence by President Obama, click here.
Day 6 (Wed., Jan. 25)
• Building the border wall and ending "catch and release": President Trump signed an executive order to “immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border” of the United States. Building this barrier was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises, and today White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that it is “more than just a campaign promise, it’s common sense, the first step to really securing our porous border.” The order also directed the termination of the “catch and release” policy practiced by the Obama administration. Under that policy, illegal border crossers were released instead of being detained, and ordered to appear before an immigration court at a future date. But many failed to show up for the hearings.For more information, click here.
• Sanctuary cities: Trump signed an executive order (separate from the one described above) to strip federal grants from “sanctuary” cities and states that do not enforce federal immigration laws. “We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. For more information, click here.
Day 5 (Tues., Jan. 24)
• Reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects: President Trump signed three executive actions reviving action on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipeline construction projects aborted by former President Obama. Trump said he wants to seek a “better deal” on the Keystone XL Pipeline and asked TransCanada Corporation to resubmit its application for permission to complete the project. He added, “If we’re going to build pipelines in the United States, the pipes should be made in the United States.” Approvals of both projects are “subject to terms and conditions to be negotiated by us.” For more information, click here.
• High-priority infrastructure projects: Trump signed an executive order stating that “it is the policy of the executive branch to streamline and expedite, in a manner consistent with law, environmental reviews and approvals for all infrastructure projects, especially projects that are a high priority for the Nation, such as improving the U.S. electric grid and telecommunications systems and repairing and upgrading critical port facilities, airports, pipelines, bridges, and highways.”
• Domestic manufacturing: Trump signed a memorandum directing federal agencies “to support the expansion of manufacturing in the United States through expedited reviews of and approvals for proposals to construct or expand manufacturing facilities and through reductions in regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturing.” The memorandum is to be “implemented consistent with applicable laws.”
Day 4 (Mon., Jan. 23)
• Withdrawing from the TPP: In a major victory for American national sovereignty, President Trump fulfilled his campaign pledge to withdraw the U.S. government from the “free trade” regime known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Despite strong support from Obama, most congressional Republicans, and the establishment wing of both parties, the secretly negotiated “trade” scheme was unconstitutional, dangerous, and extraordinarily unpopular across the political spectrum. The TPP would have stripped Americans of their right to self-government across a wide array of policy areas. From policies on immigration and trade to regulation and labor, the TPP and related schemes would purport to give foreign powers the ability to make rules for Americans. But with a simple executive order by the new president, the globalist establishment's cherished dream for what lawmakers described as a “Pacific Union”-style super-government went up in smoke. For more information, click here.
• Reinstating the Mexico City policy: Trump signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy, which bars federal money from going to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion. For more information, click here.
• Federal hiring freeze: Trump signed a memorandum ordering “a freeze on the hiring of Federal civilian employees to be applied across the board in the executive branch.” The order excludes the military and also exempts positions deemed “necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.”
• Meeting with corporate leaders: Trump outlined some of his proposals for boosting U.S. manufacturing in a meeting with corporate leaders. “What we want to do is bring manufacturing back to our country,” Trump told the chief executives, which also included the leaders of companies such as Ford, Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, and U.S. Steel. To accomplish that, Trump proposed slashing corporate tax rates from 35 percent “down to anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent,” helping to bring U.S. tax rates — the highest in the developed world — back in line with those of other industrialized countries. He also vowed to seek a “very major border tax” on companies that shut down their U.S. factories and then try to sell goods back into the United States. And regarding the regulatory burden, he told the CEOs, “We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more.”
Day 3 (Sun., Jan. 22)
• Renegotiating NAFTA: "Anybody ever hear of NAFTA?" Politico quoted Trump as joking at a swearing-in ceremony for top White House advisors. "I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA. But we're going to start re-negotiating on NAFTA.” For more information, click here.
Day 2 (Sat., Jan. 21)
• Visiting the CIA: Visiting the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency on his first full day as president, Trump said, “There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump." He also told the crowd: “So I can only say that I am with you 1,000%. And the reason you’re my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth…. And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number one stop is exactly the opposite.” His remarks at CIA headquarters notwithstanding, Trump has been critical of the intelligence community and its treatment of him, saying in a January 11 press conference that leaking “information that turned out to be so false and fake” was “something that Nazi Germany would have done.” His remarks were in reference to an unsubstantiated “dossier” added to the intelligence community’s report of alleged Russian interference in the recent U.S. presidential election. For more information about the chasm between Trump and the intelligence community, see here, here, and here.
Day 1 (Fri., Jan. 20)
• Inaugural speech: At his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump put the globalist establishment that has been selling out America for so long on notice: The American people are back in charge. Quoting the Bible and acknowledging God the Creator as the true source of America's protection, Trump did not mince words when he described the betrayal of America by the self-appointed establishment. But starting today, Trump said the “historic movement” that propelled his campaign to victory against the entire establishment apparatus was ready to ensure that America will come first. “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.” No doubt globalists and establishment types — in both parties — were left squirming in their seats at the thought of it all. For more information, click here.
• Executive order on ObamaCare: After his inauguration, President Trump signed an executive order for “minimizing the economic burden” of ObamaCare. “It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare],” the order states. "In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch … take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.”
• Other first-day executive actions: President Trump signed a law passed by Congress to grant retired General James Mattis a waiver to legally serve as Trump's secretary of defense, required by law because the Marine was still in military service less than seven years ago. He signed documents making his cabinet picks official. For more information about Trump's actions during his first day as president as well as his agenda, click here.