Courtesy of NPR
March 2, 2017
Since January 20th, national and even international media outlets have been plastered with news of the White House’s executive orders, press conferences, interviews, and statements. President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office started with a flow of executive orders, including 19 executive orders in his first two weeks. Trump’s presidency has so far not been the smoothest transfer of power; much controversy has circulated around President Trump, his advisors, and his appointments. At the same time, many Americans who have felt left out of the political spectrum for years are excited for an anti-establishment president.
However, any president’s first 100 days is important to the rest of his or her presidency. These first weeks are crucial to the legitimacy of the president, setting the mood of the country and laying out the executive’s future plans for the country.
Even though Trump has only been in power for what is going on five weeks, the new president has showed his power with a sweep of a pen. His 19 executive orders vary from cutting business regulations to planning how to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border.
One of Trump’s most controversial executive orders is the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. The January 27th executive order states that any travelers with a passport from one of the banned countries, including dual-citizens but excluding green card holders, are banned from entering the United Statesfor 90 days. Trump and his administration believe this executive order with increase national security and decrease terror attacks on U.S. soil. After this order went into effect through the Department of Homeland Security, protests erupted nationwide, arguing that the ban encouraged Islamophobia and only affected countries in which Trump did not have business interests. In response to the travel ban, a lawsuit was filed in Minnesota and Washington and ultimately Seattle federal judge James Robart issued a “temporary restraining order” that suspended the nation-wide ban. Trump and his team were not pleased with the judge’s decision, asking the San Francisco based Court of Appeals to reverse Robart’s decision and effectively reinstating the travel ban. However, this appeal was denied.
“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” President Trump tweeted after Robart’s decision was released.
Then, on Thursday, February 9, the Federal Appeals Panel voted unanimously 3-0 to uphold the rejection of Trump’s travel ban. Trump responded to the decision in a tweet: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR COUNTRY IS AT STAKE!” As of now, the travel ban is no longer being implemented, but Trump and his administration will continue to attempt to reinstate this policy.
Other executive orders include cuts to business regulations, stating that with every regulation enforced, two regulations must be dropped and advanceing two controversial pipelines named the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. Along with this, Trump ordered a withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the “reshuffling” of the national security team, and the reimplementation of the “Mexico City Policy,” which defunds foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that currently receive funding from the U.S. Government and that also provide counselling for abortions or advocate for abortion services.
Another important duty of the new president is the appointment of individuals to various government departments , including the Secretary of Education. This appointment has been shrouded in controversy, mostly surrounding President Trump’s nominee Betsy DeVos. DeVos has been criticized for her lack of experience and participation in American public schools because neither she nor her children attended public schools and her background being in business, not education. However, even after a “24-hour talkathon” by Democrats in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence was the deciding vote in a Senate tie, and DeVos was confirmed and sworn in. President Trump also nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for the late Antonin Scalia’s place on the Supreme Court. Other appointment hearings, including the confirmation of the Secretary General, are yet to come.
President Trump’s first 100 days have also been centered around the contention between the media and Trump’s team. During his first full day as President, Trump argued over the size of his inauguration crowd, claiming that it was larger than former President Obama’s inauguration in 2012, and also stating that it stopped raining during his inaugural speech. However, reports from various news outlets, including NPR, CNN, and BBC, announced that these statements were not true and go directly against the aerial photographs of the inauguration.
The new Press Secretary Sean Spicer made his debut on January 21st and reinforced Trump’s statements, even citing false Metro passenger facts. The next day, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer, stating that he was using “alternative facts.” This statement caused public outcry, and people began to lash out on Twitter and other social media platforms in response. However, Conway and Spicer continue to support and defend Trump and his statements.
During his first two weeks in the office, President Trump also met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, while Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto cancelled a meeting with Trump after Trump’s declaration that Mexico will “pay back the United States” for the wall along the two country’s borders.
With a flurry of executive orders and a dose of controversy, President Trump’s term began on a rocky note. The first 100 days are impertinent to a president’s legacy, and so far Trump’s presidency can be described as, at the very least, memorable and he sure likes to keep the American people on the edge of their seats.