Can we go back to being a colony of Great Britain yet?
by Rachel Poe & Nick Peters
President Trump had a very eventful first week in office. He has kept to his promises in his campaign, which has led to numerous executive actions being signed on a multitude of issues that he believes he has the right idea for. Here are some of the major actions that he has taken as of January 29th.
The Beginning of Repealing the ACA
On the campaign trail, Trump promised to “repeal and replace” president Obama’s milestone affordable care act. Trump kept his promise right on the first day, signing an executive action to coerce congress to begin this process. However, Trump does not want the ACA to just be repealed, he wants a better system to replace it. He has promised to keep certain aspects of the Act that he deems positive, such as the part for pre-existing conditions. The response to this action was very negative. New York has announced that if it gets repealed, they will keep it for the state. It has also been revealed that repealing the Affordable Care act will end up costing America a lot of money.
Another promise that everyone knew about, and extensively parodied (hey, it sounded like a joke, even when he said it), is coming true. We are getting a wall along the Mexican border. In response, the Mexican president cancelled a meeting with Trump. It is unknown how the wall will be paid for, and while claims are made that Mexico will pay for it, all signs point to the American people, as they always do.
The Army Corps announced in December that they would be temporarily halting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline until an alternative route could be found that wouldn’t risk a water source as per ordered by former President Obama. The many Native American and environmental activists that protested for months, saw this as at least a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, President Trump, in an executive order, announced that he would be pushing through the environmental review to “get the pipeline built.” This decision is predicted to have more risk than reward as it angers activists, will surely lead to another round of protests, and threatens Native American treaties with the United States government, let alone the numerous environmental impacts of continuing to depend on crude oil.
One of Trump’s first actions was to propose cuts to regulations emplaced by 75% in order to “help business.” In actuality, Trump’s plan will only hurt in the long run if businesses aren’t held to a high standard when it comes to their environmental impacts. From denying climate change to attempting to silence government agencies trying to speak out against his decisions and rushing the construction of two major pipelines, Trump is no friend to the environment.
Leaving the TPP
Trump, in an executive order, announced that the United States is backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As a result of this action, China may pursue an alternative arrangement placing them at the center, which would further weaken the US’ and its allies’ power in the Pacific.
The ‘Muslim Ban’
Trump signed an executive action banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. These countries were Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, countries which are viewed as at-risk regions. There has been significant fallout over the ban. Many have been fighting against this action, including judges who are ruling against it. 16 attorneys general in a joint statement, spoke out against this ban. Even among fellow Republicans, many have denounced this action, including former Vice President Dick Cheney and Boris Johnson (the dude sort of responsible for Brexit). Fordham’s Father McShane announced in an email, that this executive action would affect seven Fordham students, and that Fordham is doing their best to assist these students.
Trump wanting to “drain the swamp,” has led to many actions, including executive actions to hurt lobbyists. Administration officials are now banned from lobbying on behalf of another government, and there are five year bans on other types of lobbying. This applies to congressmen who want to lobby after serving their terms.
Trump signed an executive order giving the Pentagon thirty days to create a plan to defeat ISIS. For some reason, it is unknown what Trump thinks the Pentagon could do differently under him.
Bringing Back Torture
Trump, who is pro-torture, claiming that it “does work,” has been musing on reinstating torture as a tactic used by our government. Interestingly enough, Defense Secretary James Mattis has a dissenting opinion on torture, not wanting to use it. Trump said in a press conference that Mattis can override him on torture, so it is unclear exactly what Trump wants to do with torture at the present moment.
Trumps appointments have been slowly going through the congressional hearings. So far, most have been voted in, except Betsy DeVos, who has been nominated for Secretary of Education, who has not yet been confirmed. The Democrats have petitioned the vote, saying that this was not political but for the safety of the country, as many view her as extremely unqualified for the position she has been given.
Restructuring the National Security Council
In a presidential memorandum, Trump has heavily restructured the National Security Council, removing the head military advisors from it, including General Joseph Dunford, who is in charge of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the rest of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In his place, Trump put obviously highly qualified Steve Bannon, a man with all the political experience Breitbart can provide, to help determine our security policy.
Trump’s initial week has been dealing blow after blow to his appointments and it is projected that he is due to sign more executive orders in his first 100 days than President Obama signed in his entire eight years. For some this is a show of strength, as he keeps many of the promises he made on his campaign, but for most Americans directly impacted by Trump’s impulsiveness, Trump’s first ten days set a tone of fear and irrationality for the next four years.