Read ’em and weep

The world looks on at Trump’s most pro­lific use of ex­ec­u­tive or­ders in mod­ern his­tory. The world looks on aghast

CityPress - - News - YVONNE GRIMBEEK and LIEZL KRITZINGER news@city­press.co.za At­lantic – Reuters, CNN, The

Con­tin­ued mass protests, un­savoury diplo­matic in­ci­dents and the butt of late-night talk show jokes – yes, it’s the sec­ond week of the Don­ald Trump pres­i­dency.

Sev­en­teen days into the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and he has al­ready signed two procla­ma­tions, seven ex­ec­u­tive or­ders and seven pres­i­den­tial mem­o­ran­dums. He’s in­vented a new form of pres­i­den­tial di­rec­tive – the na­tional se­cu­rity pres­i­den­tial mem­o­ran­dum – and signed three of those.

And his chief of staff has signed an­other doc­u­ment – a reg­u­la­tory freeze – that car­ries the same force as a pres­i­den­tial or­der.

It’s the most pro­lific use of ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion to start a pres­i­dency in mod­ern his­tory.

These or­ders cover sub­jects as wide-rang­ing as na­tional se­cu­rity, im­mi­gra­tion, healthcare, man­u­fac­tur­ing, en­ergy and reg­u­la­tion. While the White House of­ten uses the term “ex­ec­u­tive or­ders”, the doc­u­ments that Trump has signed have come in vary­ing forms, all of which have the same force of law.

The protests against the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, which started with the mas­sive Women’s March the day after his in­au­gu­ra­tion, have con­tin­ued un­abated.

His ex­ec­u­tive or­der ban­ning refugees from seven Mus­lim coun­tries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men) not only sparked protests at all US in­ter­na­tional air­ports, but earned the Trump White House an un­prece­dented smack­down from world lead­ers.

First out of the block was out­go­ing African Union pres­i­dent Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who said Trump’s Mus­lim ban could her­ald “tur­bu­lent times” for Africa. “The very coun­try to which many of our peo­ple were taken as slaves … has now de­cided to ban refugees from some of our coun­tries,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

She called Trump’s ban “one of the great­est chal­lenges to our unity and sol­i­dar­ity”.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said a fight against ter­ror­ism “does not jus­tify a gen­eral sus­pi­cion” of a na­tion­al­ity or re­li­gion.

“The chan­cel­lor re­grets the US govern­ment’s en­try ban against refugees and the cit­i­zens of cer­tain coun­tries,” said Merkel’s spokesper­son.

French Pres­i­dent François Hol­lande said in an un­sta­ble and un­cer­tain world Trump’s ac­tions were “a dead-end response”, adding that de­fend­ing demo­cratic prin­ci­ples re­quires com­pli­ance with “the prin­ci­ples on which it is founded, in par­tic­u­lar the ac­cep­tance of refugees”.

US ties with staunch ally Aus­tralia were strained after de­tails emerged about an ac­ri­mo­nious phone call be­tween its lead­ers with Trump saying a deal be­tween the two na­tions on refugee re­set­tle­ment was “dumb”. Dur­ing a 25-minute phone call last Satur­day with Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, Trump ac­cused Aus­tralia of try­ing to ex­port the “next Boston bombers” un­der the agree­ment. Trump abruptly ended the call and told Turn­bull it was the “worst call by far” he’d had with a for­eign leader.

Even for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama is­sued a state­ment in which he ex­pressed that “Amer­i­can val­ues are at stake” and he “fun­da­men­tally dis­agrees with the no­tion of dis­crim­i­nat­ing against in­di­vid­u­als be­cause of their faith or re­li­gion”.

De­spite all the po­lit­i­cal ma­noeu­vring, The Don­ald and his team have man­aged to make the world cringe a bit more ev­ery day.

FACEPALM 1:

A five-year-old boy was de­tained for more than four hours at Washington, DC’s Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port fol­low­ing the refugee ban. The boy is a US cit­i­zen who lives with his Ira­nian mother in Mary­land. The boy was ap­par­ently de­tained de­spite au­thor­i­ties hav­ing had ad­vanced no­tice of his ar­rival.

When asked if the “Mus­lim ban” should ap­ply to fiveyear-olds, Trump’s press sec­re­tary, Sean Spicer, said: “To as­sume that just be­cause of some­one’s age and gen­der they don’t pose a threat would be mis­guided and wrong.”

FACEPALM 2:

At a cer­e­mony to mark the start of African-Amer­i­can His­tory Month, Trump used the oc­ca­sion to once again crit­i­cise the me­dia for cov­er­ing him un­fairly, while also prais­ing famed abo­li­tion­ist Fred­er­ick Dou­glass as “some­body who has done an amaz­ing job and is be­ing recog­nised more and more”.

Re­porters then asked Spicer to elab­o­rate on this state­ment: “I think he wants to highlight the con­tri­bu­tions he has made. And I think through a lot of the ac­tions and state­ments that he’s go­ing to make, I think the con­tri­bu­tions of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass will be­come more and more.”

Dou­glass died in 1895, and Twitter cru­ci­fied Trump and Spicer.

FACEPALM 3:

Trump veered off script at the start of the Na­tional Prayer Break­fast when he asked a room full of leg­is­la­tors, for­eign dig­ni­taries and re­li­gious lead­ers to pray for Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger so that rat­ings of his show – NBC’s The Ap­pren­tice – would go up.

Trump, who lauded the six-decade-long tra­di­tional gath­er­ing as a “tes­ta­ment to the power of faith” was in­tro­duced by Mark Bur­nett, the re­al­ity tele­vi­sion pro­ducer who teamed up with Trump to cre­ate The Ap­pren­tice. The hit show ar­guably launched Trump’s po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions.

Trump left the show and was re­placed with Sch­warzeneg­ger, the movie star and for­mer Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor.

“We know how that turned out,” Trump said, knock­ing Sch­warzeneg­ger. “The rat­ings went right down the tubes. It has been a dis­as­ter.”

Trump then turned to the au­di­ence and said: “I want to just pray for Arnold ... for those rat­ings.”

Sch­warzeneg­ger promptly replied via a Twitter video: “Hey Don­ald. I have a great idea. “Why don’t we switch jobs? “You take over TV, cause you’re such an ex­pert in rat­ings. And I take over your job, so that peo­ple can fi­nally sleep com­fort­ably again.”

PHOTO: REUTERS

PUB­LIC RAGE US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at­tends the Na­tional Prayer Break­fast in Washington this week

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