Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States a week ago and has already taken several actions according to his campaign promises.
- Starting the dismantling of Obamacare
Honouring his campaign promise, Donald Trump signed an executive order “to seek the prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. Although Congress still has to vote in order to repeal the law, the order instructs health agencies to use all the means legally possible to restrain access to health care. While Obamacare has benefited 20 million Americans, Trump promised that he would replace it with “something terrific.”
- Taking the first step against free trade agreements
Trump also signed an executive action to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was negotiated under Barack Obama, but never ratified by Congress. The TPP was supposed to implement free trade between 12 countries from North and South America, Asia, and Oceania. Trump also promised that the US would step out of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, if it was not renegotiated.
- Reviving Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects
The Keystone XL pipeline, planned to span 1,900 km, was a project abandoned under Obama’s administration because of potential environmental damages. Trump signed executive orders to revive the project, as well as other pipelines, and describes the environmental analysis as an “incredibly cumbersome, long, [and] horrible permitting process.” Trump also authorized the Dakota project that had been rejected after the strong mobilization of First Nations and environmentalists, saying that the projects will create thousands of jobs. He insisted that “the pipe should be made in the United States.”
- Freezing federal government hiring
That was also a campaign promise. Trump froze federal government hiring, except in the army. He justified this decision by the will to reduce federal debt and the size of the federal workforce.
- Toughening immigration policies
Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to start building a wall at the Mexican border. According to The Guardian, the US should initially finance it, but Trump said that negotiations with Mexico to make the country pay for it, as he promised during his campaign, will start “relatively soon” and that the wall “will stem the flow of drugs, crime, [and] illegal immigration into the United States”; although research has shown that Mexican immigrants are mostly law-abiding. Trump also wants to cut grants for “sanctuary cities,” which protect undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them.
- Banning funding to non-governmental associations in favor of abortion right
Trump signed another order which prevents non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in favor of abortion rights to receive government funding. Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, said that “he wants to stand up for all Americans, including the unborn.“ This decision occurred two days after the Women’s March, which united around half a million people in Washington only. A picture of Trump signing the order exclusively surrounded by men has sparked international outrage, and the Netherlands offered to create an international fund in order to compensate for the financial consequences of this decision.
- Removal of LGBT rights and climate change sections on the White House website
References to LGBT rights and climate change awareness were removed from the official website as soon as Trump took office. The LGBT section had been created to announce changes in policies and to offer suicide prevention among the LGBT community.
With files from CNN, New York Times, PBS, Washington Post, and The Guardian