Once a new President is sworn in, he can sign what are called Executive Orders, legally binding documents that dictate government policy or are used to delegate and direct government agencies and departments.
What were Trump’s first Executive Orders?
First, he signed an order to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare), a law that covers 20 million Americans who would otherwise have no health coverage. Throughout the campaign, Trump often railed against this Act, arguing that it cost too much, was administratively inefficient, rationed care, led to less competition and offered fewer choices for consumers.
While he may not agree with the program, he can’t dismantle it until he has something else to put in its place, which he doesn’t. At this point, he doesn’t even have a Health Secretary confirmed. And critics argue it could take months or years to bring a new Act into place. Repealing the current Act without replacing it right away will leave 20 million people without access to health care insurance. It simply can’t be done.
So why start with this Order? It appears to be nothing more than partisan politics. Trump never liked the plan implemented by the Democrats. Instead of ensuring he has a better plan in place, it looks like he has signed the order just to prove that he can.
What do his supporters say? It seems some people who are covered by the Affordable Care Act aren’t as supportive of its repeal once they find out what it will mean to them personally. And that includes Republicans. This could turn out to be Trump’s first political headache, one he may not be able to get rid of after all.
Next came the Executive Order to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to start building a 2000-mile-long wall along the border between the U.S and Mexico. During the campaign, Trump boasted that Mexico would pay for the wall, which he still contends (although how that is going to happen is still being debated, especially since Mexico has repeatedly refused to do so). But even if the U.S. can someday recoup the money, federal funds, requiring Congressional approval, would have to be used now to start construction. The problem is that Democratic Congressmen have stated that they will refuse to support funding for the wall.
There are also many issues around how the wall would be built on private land, boundary treaties that have to be respected and flood zones that would make building over some land virtually impossible.
Despite the numerous obstacles, why does the U.S. need a wall at all? During the campaign, Trump referred to Mexicans as rapists, drug dealers and criminals. Not the best way to treat a neighbor and important trade partner. After the Order was announced, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a planned trip to Washington to meet with Trump, putting an important business and diplomatic relationship in jeopardy.
Again, one has to wonder why Trump proceeded with this plan as one of his first official acts as President. Are there really that many Mexicans crossing the border into the U.S. to sell drugs and commit crimes? Are too many illegal immigrants from Mexico eluding border officials and making their way into the States?
The fact is, there is no such evidence. This seems nothing more than another ploy by Trump to raise the temperature among his supporters, blame others for problems in the U.S. and racially scapegoat a country for the sake of political expediency. Not very Presidential, is it?