Trump in Office: The Changes We’ve Experienced
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In the first ten days since Donald Trump took office, he has issued 20 executive orders, and his pace shows no signs of abating. His right-wing presidency has ushered in a new era in American politics, and, for better or for worse, he’s making his presence known on the political scene. So what exactly are these changes that are relished by conservatives and bemoaned by liberals? Let’s find out…
Most controversially, Donald Trump has tried his best to uphold his fiery rhetoric on immigration with concrete actions. So far, he has authorized the construction of his infamous border wall, clamped down on immigration regulations, stripped so-called “sanctuary cities” of grants, and ordered a 90-day ban on Muslims entering the U.S. from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. This last decree was met with especially fierce opposition, and was eventually repealed by an Oregon judge. Critics claimed that no terrorist who ever attacked the U.S. came from one of those countries; rather, from more prosperous countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Environmentally speaking, many transitions have occurred. Manufacturing regulations were loosened, and the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines were approved in two separate executive orders. This was not well received by tree-huggers, but many business owners appreciated the move. Trump also announced a “2 for 1” deal, where for every regulation an agency wants to pass, they had to remove two existing regulations. This impedes not only the EPA, but also the IRS.
This brings us to money. Trump also ordered the review of the Dodd-Frank law, which was passed by former President Obama after the 2008 crisis to regulate Wall Street, ordered federal agencies to stop hiring people, and canceled a pending Obama rule to make financial advisors put their client’s interests first. On trade, the President began pulling the US out of both the free-trade TPP and NAFTA agreements.
Trump also began the processes of pulling America out of Obama’s healthcare system, popularly dubbed “Obamacare”, allowing states to waive any part of the law which proved to be a hassle. In other healthcare news, Trump demanded the reinstatement of a Reagan policy which withdrew government funding for groups advocating abortion.
Donald Trump was also entitled to pick a new Supreme Court Nominee, after Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. For this position he chose Neil Gorsuch, an ivy-educated appellate judge with conservative, constitutionalist views very similar to that of the late Justice Scalia’s. Gorsuch will maintain the Republican majority in the SCOTUS building and will simultaneously please evangelists while appalling many Democrats.
All regulations impeding government agencies did not apply to the military, which will clearly expand under Trump. In fact, he ordered the Secretary of Defense to draft a proposal on how to defeat ISIS and began reorganizing both the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council.
Speaking of the National Security Council, its newest member is none other than Steve Bannon, counselor to the President. Many people are insinuating that he holds a large amount of sway over the POTUS, and this relationship has been parodied from SNL to pundits on Twitter who mock him as “President Bannon”. Be this true or not, Trump clearly has a mind of his own and will go to great lengths to achieve his goals, as evidenced by the myriad promises he has brought to being at this point.
After eight years of a Democrat holding the highest office, the Republican Trump seemed to unravel Obama’s legacy rather quickly and implement drastic change. While this may be a cause of celebration to some, it is also horrifying to others, and Trump’s actions have undoubtedly led to a growing divide between the people of the United States. In any case, it is clear that change will come to America, and how good that is is in the eye of the beholder.