CFC in the News 2017
The Independent

Donald Trump’s first 100 days: How America’s first reality TV star President could change the world in months

In the first three months of his presidencyDonald Trump wants to pull America out of a free trade deal, reduce environmental protections and establish a cyber defence team. He may also try to scrap Obamacare and appoint a Supreme Court Justice who shares his worldview.

The President-elect has made a flurry of claims as to what he will do in his first 100 days upon entering the Oval Office. For all his talk about building a wall on the Mexican border, that is unlikely to begin in the first three months.

But the signals he has given about the things he will set out to do, have already sparked concern among a number of activist and campaigners, anxious that Mr Trump will roll back a number of hard-earned victories.

“I think some of the extremely right-wing people are saying that Trump does not care about issues such as abortion right and reproductive rights, and that it would be an easy bone to throw them,” Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, told The Independent. “I hope he will not delegate this issue to people such as Mike Pence, who has an extreme position.”

The first 100 days of a presidency are considered the period when the incoming administration seeks to set the pace for what is to come. The term came into use during the administration of President Franklin D Roosevelt, who used that period set in place the foundations of the New Deal.

Yet other presidents have frequently failed to match the example, and even make bad mistakes. President John F Kennedy ordered the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

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President Barack Obama’s first 100 days saw him try to confront the economic crisis he inherited, by pushing through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Mr Trump laid out his priorities in a video address last November, which he said his overarching aim was to “put America first”. The list of things he reeled off focussed on issues he could address using executive orders.

His proposals include withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, cancel “job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy” and creating “many millions of high-paying jobs”. This was taken to be a deference to limits on emissions overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr Trump has dismissed climate change science.

His incoming chief-of-staff, Reince Priebus, said last year of Mr Trump’s attitude: “Look, he’ll have an open mind about it, but he has his default position, which is most of it is a bunch of bunk.”

Mr Trump also intends to establish a cyber-review team made up of members of the military, law enforcement and the private sector. On immigration, his plan is to end “illegal immigration and suspend immigration from terror problem regions”.

In the video, Mr Trump also said he will “investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut the American worker”. As part of his promise to “drain the swamp”, he want to prohibit officials becoming lobbyists for five years after leaving government. A plan that has not been warmly welcomed on Capitol Hill is to push for a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

“Trump seems to have so many priorities, doesn’t he? First up will be revocation of many of President Obama’s executive orders, such as those in the areas of immigration and climate change. This Trump can do with the stroke of his pen,” said Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia. “Then he wants to nominate his Supreme Court choice quickly.”

He added: “Don’t forget about tax cuts – always a big winner on the Republican side.”

On foreign policy, Mr Trump has said he wants to establish a new relationship with Russia. This will be very controversial, even among his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, but the New York tycoon he has indicated he is ready for a reset. People will watch to see if he reverses the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats by Barack Obama in response to Moscow’s alleged cyber-meddling in the election.

At last week’s news conference in New York, Mr Trump said of his approach to Russia: “If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks – that’s called an asset, not a liability.”

The President-elect says he expected things to happen quickly. Shortly after his election win, Mr Pence went meet with Republican Congressional leaders and urged them to “buckle up”.

“I’m very confident that as we move towards inauguration, bring together a great team, work in concert with leaders in the House and Senate, and we’re going to move an agenda that’s going to rebuild our military, revive our economy, and – in a word – make America great again,” he said.

Activists believe the rolling back of environmental safeguards and the withdrawal of affordable healthcare, could have the most dramatic impact.

Natural Resources Defence Council president Rhea Suh said earlier this month: “If we care about our waters, our lands and all they support, if we care about American values of equity and justice for all our people, if we care about leaving our children a livable world, it’s time to stand up and fight this extremist agenda.”

This piece was originally published by Independent.