(By: Sherina Harris)
Feb. 20 marks one month since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. It’s been a fast paced month that has prompted strong reactions from people of all political backgrounds — from some Trump aides suspected of communicating with Russia to a court of appeals denying the Department of Justice’s request to reinstate Trump’s travel ban of people from seven middle eastern countries. After one month in office, the President’s approval ratings are all over the place, with one poll placing him at a low of 39 percent and another at a high of 55 percent.
Just two days after Trump’s Inauguration, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s counsellor, coined a term which has come to define his administration: “Alternative facts.” She used the phrase in defence of Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, who falsely claimed that Trump had “the largest crowd” at any Inauguration in history.
Michael Flynn resigned from his post as national security advisor after reports suggested he had “misled senior Trump administration officials, including Vice-President Mike Pence, about the nature of talks he held with the Russian ambassador in December before he took office.” And Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination for labour secretary after he was faced with allegations of domestic abuse. In response to the leaks of information which have caused some of the unrest and upheavals inside the White House, Trump labeled the leaks as “un-American” on Twitter.
After his Inauguration, Trump got right to work signing executive orders (see a full list here), many of them fulfilling promises he made on the campaign trail. His first executive order, signed just hours after he was sworn in as president, was to “minimize the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act” and take action to repeal the law. Four days later, he signed his second executive order; this one focused on expediting environmental reviews to allow for faster approval of infrastructure projects.
Trump’s next three executive orders all focused on a hallmark of his campaign: the safety of the American people. The first of the three, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” ordered homeland security to hire 10,000 more immigration officers and compile a list of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. The order also asks police forces to detain or apprehend illegal immigrants. The second order centered around U.S. border security, namely that concerning Mexico. Among other related orders, it relegated federal funding for a wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The third, and likely most well-known order, around public safety is titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” The order called for the suspension of immigrants from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days, and refugees for 120 days.
In response to this executive order, thousands of Americans protested at airports, while a court temporarily suspended the action. The Department of Justice appealed that decision to place the ban on hold, and the case went to a court of appeals in San Francisco. That court unanimously declined to block the lower court ruling, meaning the ban was not reinstated.
The Trump administration announced it will draft a new version of the original executive order and sign it later this week.
Trump made headlines early in his first days as president with several pivotal actions that may very well redefine America’s place in the world. He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement with the U.S. and 11 other countries, and reinstated the “global gag rule.” This means that U.S. funds will no longer support international organizations which provide abortions and abortion-related services.
A week after Trump’s Inauguration, he had his first meeting with a world leader: British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump told May that Brexit (Britain’s vote to leave the European Union) will be a “wonderful thing” for her country. Trump accepted an invitation to visit the U.K. in June, leading to protests and a petition against his visit which garnered over a million signatures.
Trump also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week. The meeting quieted fears that Trump would back out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump said that he would “tweak” the agreement but did not anything to suggest he would abandon it entirely. In addition, both administrations jointly announced that Canada and the United States will collaborate on a Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
Trump has been moving ahead with his plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The question of who will pay for the wall still remains. Other notable foreign policy developments include Trump’s agreement to honour the One China policy and suggesting a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
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