The following is a list of what Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has done since taking the Oath of Office on 1.20.17:
On 1.21.17 he commanded his Press Secretary Sean Spicer, on his first press briefing, to excoriate the media over the fact that turnout for his inauguration was significantly lower than the two inaugurations of President Obama in 2009 and 2013. The next day, on 1.22.17 Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet The Press” that Spicer had simply offered the press “alternative facts” to which Todd lambasted her, reminding her that “alternative facts aren’t facts.” Trump also had not officially stepped down from the companies that bear his name.
On his first Saturday, he also contacted the National Park Service Director, Michael T. Reynolds, and pressured him to release photos of Inauguration Day showing larger audiences. The President told Director Reynolds that the media “lied” about his low numbers and he wanted to prove them wrong.
Also on 1.21.17, he went to CIA Headquarters to speak to the staff there. Standing in front of the wall that bears 118 stars – one for each CIA member who has been killed in the line of duty – Trump cracked jokes, attacked the media, bragged about his “intelligence”, insisted that his inaugural attendance numbers were “Yuge” and reportedly brought with him a gaggle of “cheerleaders” from his staff to applaud.
On 1.22.17 Kellyanne Conway (in the same interview where she offered “alternative facts” as an explanation for Spicer’s skewing of inaugural attendance) confirmed that President Trump does not intend to release his tax returns, after all. He also had still not officially stepped down from the companies that bear his name.
On 1.23.17 Trump warned the National Parks Service to stop TWEETING so much. He also had not officially stepped down from the companies that bear his name.
Also on 1.23.17 Trump signed the following Executive Orders: 1-reinstating the “Mexico City Order” (aka the Global Gag Rule) which prohibits giving federal dollars to international nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion – even if U.S. dollars are not specifically used for abortion-related matters and 2-an executive order removing the US from the TPP trade deal). The White House also shut down its comment phone line and directed people instead to an invalid Facebook page.
On 1.24.17 President Trump signed an executive order to move forward with the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, jeopardizing the health of millions of American lives. He also banned EPA and HHS employees from posting on social media or speaking to reporters. Finally, on 1.24.17 it was demonstrated that he did step down from his businesses on 1.23.17 (three days after the inauguration) and turn it over to his sons however he had not yet divested from said companies.
On 1.25.17 it was revealed that several members of his staff (including Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway) were using private servers for their official email accounts – an issue that he dogged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton about during the campaign. It was further revealed that he is using an unencrypted Android phone in office.
Also on 1.25.17, he gave an interview with ABC’s David Muir in which he claimed (with no facts to support his claim) that he BELIEVED that millions of people voted illegally on election day. Millions. This included, per his words, dead people, illegal immigrants and people who were registered to vote in two or more states. During this interview in which he appeared incoherent and irrational at times, he claimed that “none” of the “illegal votes” went to him. Just to “the other side.” In this interview, he also told Mueller that “torture works.”
Additionally, on 1.25.17, the USDA (Dept of Agriculture) was ordered to prohibit communicating with the media or posting on social media. Trump also signed two executive orders on this day to move forward with plans to build a wall along the US/Mexico border at the expense of US taxpayers (allegedly with the intention of Mexico later reimbursing the US) which will require the diversion of funds from other departments at a cost of approximately $10 billion dollars. Also on 1.25.17, he restated plans to initiate an immigration freeze on individuals coming to the US from Muslim-majority countries and to enact a registry of Muslim people in the US.
On the morning of 1.26.17, the entire State Department resigned, in one fell swoop, rather than work for oil tycoon and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson (who has numerous ties to Russian oil oligarchs and President Vladimir Putin).
Also on 1.26.17, it was revealed that Tiffany, President Trump’s youngest daughter, was in fact registered to vote in both Pennsylvania and New York State. It does not appear that Ms. Trump did vote in two separate states nor is there any evidence that she voted for “the other side.” Later that same day it was revealed that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is ALSO registered in two states: New York and New Jersey. It is not believed that Kushner voted at multiple polling places nor does anyone suspect that he voted for anyone other than his new boss, his father-in-law.
Also on 1.26.17 Trump threatened to send Federal agents into the South Side of Chicago if the “carnage doesn’t stop.” Additionally, he announced that he was planning to publish a weekly list of crimes committed in the US by “illegals.” He also signed an executive order stripping non-citizens of privacy rights. And, that evening, announced that repayment of the wall separating the US and Mexico would come from a 20% tax (or tariff) on imports from Mexico. So, US citizens would foot the bill initially through Congress and again, through higher costs of imports including purchases of several automotive brands including General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mazda and Kia – all of whom have manufacturing plants (for engines, transmissions and other parts) in Mexico. Not only would the cost of your new car or truck increase but so would the cost of many produce items (notably avocados, tomatoes, and strawberries). Plus, beer.
On Friday, 1.27.17 President Trump capped off his first week in office by signing two executive orders: 1-expanding the US military to strengthen actions abroad against Islamic militants and 2-an order requiring an extreme “vetting” of asylum seekers applying to come into the US but with a specific priority on approving Christian refugees. January 27th happened to be International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and the White House and President Trump issued the following statement:
“It is with a heavy heart and somber mind that we remember and honor the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror.
“Yet, we know that in the darkest hours of humanity, light shines the brightest. As we remember those who died, we are deeply grateful to those who risked their lives to save the innocent.
“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”
The word “Jews” never appeared in the statement and, when asked on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus confirmed that the omission was intentional. “I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust.”
The weekend following the first week of the Trump Presidency resulted in more demonstrations, as the new immigration policy began to roll out. I will include that in my next blog in this series “Orange is the New Bleak: Month One.”
As an author and blogger, not a journalist, I don’t feel the need to be impartial but I will say that among all of his actions this week there is one that I do think is good – the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
But I’m not going to sugar-coat this: one good deed does not make up for what has happened this week. The attacks on the media, on truth itself, do not bode well for the coming weeks, months and years.
Is this sustainable? Did he just sweep in, knock out a bunch of anti-abortion, anti-immigration far-Right policy orders and now he’s just going to settle back and find some middle-of-the-road stance?
Highly unlikely. I don’t have the powers of second sight, I don’t know the future but what we have seen during this past seven days is likely just the tip of the iceberg. Notable among all of the cringe-worthy news this week is the understanding of just how thin-skinned, petty and self-aggrandizing this President is. Why would anyone run for president that so desperately needs to be liked? Half of the country, on any given day, will LOATHE whoever sits in the Oval Office. You’d have to be pretty obtuse or narcissistic to think that we’re all gonna love you. Especially when you’re Donald Trump.
This article is Part 1 of an ongoing series on the actions taken by President Trump and his administration in early 2017.