It's Trump time to roll out decrees

January 25, 2017 02:00 pm | Updated 03:14 pm IST

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington on Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline at the White House in Washington on Tuesday.

Five days into his presidency, United States President Donald Trump has wasted no time in converting his poll promises into action. Since he was sworn in on Friday, Mr. Trump's White House has been pilloried for lying to the public about crowds at the inauguration, and the President himself for making a campaign style speech before a memorial to fallen CIA officers.

The latest in a string of actions is a threat to send the “feds” to the U.S.' third largest city of Chicago. "If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible 'carnage' going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!" Mr. Trump tweeted.

The Republican, who made law and order a key issue in his White House campaign, cited the city's latest shooting and homicide statistics as reported Monday by the Chicago Tribune .

The city has the worst violent crime statistics of any major U.S. metropolis.

‘Cease regular communications with outside groups’

It all began on Friday with Mr. Trump ordering the staffers of the Interior Department to cease regular communications with outside groups, according to a memo obtained by AFP.

"All incoming congressional and gubernatorial correspondence as well as correspondence from Indian or Alaska tribal leaders and leaders from national level environment/recreational and industry organizations must be forwarded to the Office of the Executive Secretariat prior to responding, regardless of addressee or signature level," the document stated.

Within hours of taking the oath, Mr. Trump signed an executive order to roll back certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, a healthcare programme that he had vowed to repeal during his election campaign. The new White House website had no mention of climate change or civil rights, issues that former President Barack Obama championed.

It didn’t stop at that. The White House's Spanish language website had disappeared. But Press Secretary Sean Spicer later eased concerns, saying the website was merely being updated.

Signs three orders on Monday

Mr. Trump on Monday signed three orders on withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion.

The TPP brings together some of the diverse economies that abut the Pacific Ocean — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — and accounts for 40 per cent of the global economy.

He also signed an order barring U.S. federal funding of foreign NGOs that support abortion. The new restrictions prohibit foreign non-governmental organisations that receive U.S. family planning assistance from using non-U.S. funding to provide abortion services, information, counseling or referrals and from engaging in advocacy to promote abortion.

Mr. Trumps’s tough stance against Chinese interest was also on display on Monday.

The White House warned China that it will "defend" U.S. and international "interests" in the South China Sea and that trade must be a "two-way street." Mr. Spicer said: "the U.S. is going to make sure we protect our interests" in the South China Sea.

"If those islands are, in fact, in international waters and not part of China proper, yeah, we'll make sure we defend international interests from being taken over by one country."

China responded to this by saying, "the United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue."

Revives controversial oil pipeline projects

On Tuesday, he revived two pipeline projects blocked by his predecessor on environmental grounds, signalling his determination to undo Mr. Obama's legacy. The President gave a conditional go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast and an equally controversial pipeline crossing in North Dakota.

Mr. Trump said both the pipeline projects would only be built subject to renegotiated terms and conditions.

Immigration, visas and screening of visitors

The President is expected to sign more executive orders today. This time, on immigration, visas and screening of visitors. The President is also expected to lay the groundwork for a border wall as promised during the campaign.

Mr. Trump will speak to the employees at the Department of Homeland Security which handles immigration and sign orders on refugees and national security, according to The Washington Post and CNN .

"Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!" Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump has already submitted an application to trademark the slogan ‘Keep America Great’ as he plans to use it for his 2020 re-election run.

(With inputs from AFP)

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