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