It’s officially official. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. Many never, ever, would have predicted such a headline one year ago, but the day has come. Obviously, it goes without saying that Donald Trump divides opinions. He’s one of those people that one either loves or hates.
Mr Trump’s supporters are passionately behind him and generally believe that the “mainstream media” and pop culture are only trying to delegitimise his presidency.
His detractors point to the numerous remarks he has made throughout the campaign (and before), the people he’s appointed, their testimonies before Senate committees, his potential conflicts of interest with his business, etc.
Needless to say, it’s going to be a long four years for everyone, regardless of your opinion of the President.
Of course, what we learned in his inauguration speech is an idea of what we can expect within his first 100 days. Mr Trump has already ordered a regulatory freeze and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) in two executive orders on Friday. Today, the President will sign an executive order removing the United States from participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that the US spearheaded during the Obama Administration.
The President spoke at length about his “America First” strategy, whereby the US would invest in infrastructure, seek to renegotiate trade deals like NAFTA and scale back support for other countries by lessening foreign aid. “America First” was the slogan used by isolationists in the 1930’s in the United States to keep the US out of the wars in Europe and Asia and remain neutral.
He also spoke at length about the alleged “breakdown of American society” and drug and gang violence in inner cities suffering from poverty. Mr Trump has not outlined how he plans to tackle these problems, other than speaking about investing in more police and other “law and order” measures popular with the Republican base.
Mr Trump’s critics have pointed to the removal of LGBT and environmental issues from the White House website as evidence of his commitment to roll back his predecessor’s social policy and environmental regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, landmarks of the Obama years.
Donald Trump committed to unravelling Barack Obama’s legacy in his first 100 days, and he’s pretty much keeping his promise already.
His first official visit as President was to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where he talked about the US stealing Iraq’s oil and criticised the press for coverage of his inauguration. All this to an institution that Trump discredited during the campaign and transition process as he refused to sit in on intelligence briefings. However, he claims to have the utmost respect for the intelligence community.
The day after his inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people participated in Women’s Marches around the country, and millions more around the world joined in. The protests were mainly in response to Mr Trump’s comments about women and Republican positions on issues like abortion, birth control, equal pay and LGBT issues. Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, did not mention the Women’s March in his first press conference on Saturday.
Instead, Mr Spicer focused on the media’s coverage of the Inauguration and the size of the crowd, which he called “the largest ever. Period.” but which media reports described as “underwhelming”. Then he left the podium, not taking questions. Official estimates from DC Police estimate the crowd at around 250,000. President Obama’s 2009 Inauguration saw a record 1.3 million people in attendance.
What does any of this have to do with the Trump agenda? It shows how the White House will operate. In cooperation with the Republican-controlled Congress, Mr Trump will reverse Obama’s legacy and begin his own.
His Cabinet still needs to be approved, too, and so far, his appointees have largely done okay. However, the likes of Education-nomineeBetsy DeVos and Energy-nominee Rick Perry, as well as Treasury-nominee Steve Mnuchin, have had rocky nomination hearings (some bordering on embarrassing). Retired Generals James Mattis and John Kelly were confirmed by the Senate by nearly unanimous margins on Friday, being the only two Trump appointees to be sworn-in to their posts so far.
There’s a long way to go in the first 100 Days of the Trump Administration. The focus now shifts to the confirmation of his appointees to Cabinet posts and the legislative agenda being pushed by the Republicans, particularly in relation to Obamacare and taxation.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to be the first world leader to visit Washington and is expected to attend a GOP retreat.
Love him or hate him, it’s sure to be an entertaining 100 days for lovers of politics.