8 Steps Trump Could Take on ‘Day One’ to Remake the Country
Policy + Politics

8 Steps Trump Could Take on ‘Day One’ to Remake the Country

© Mike Segar / Reuters

Anybody who watched more than a handful of Donald Trump’s appearances on the campaign trail got used to hearing the man who today will become the 45th president promise to do any number of things on “day one” of his term in the Oval Office. Now it’s time for him to deliver.

But first, the weekend.

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Asked about his plans for the first day of his term, Trump said in an interview with The Times of London and Germany’s Bild newspaper earlier this week that he’ll be taking a couple of days off before getting down to the serious work of running the country.

“Day one -- which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday, right? I mean, my day one is going to be Monday because I don't want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration,” he said.

But regardless of when he actually gets going, Trump is facing quite the to-do list, and at a luncheon for supporters Thursday, the incoming president seemed to acknowledge that he would have to take some sort of significant action today, if only as a nod to his repeated promises to hit the ground running.

“We will be signing some papers that will be very meaningful tomorrow right after the speech to get the show going,” Trump told the crowd of donors and senior Republican lawmakers.

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Trump was not specific about what he would do today, and his incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, was equally vague, telling reporters that the president-elect was still “working through” his options.

While it’s anybody’s guess what Trump will actually do after he’s sworn in at noon today, here are some of the things he repeatedly promised to do on his Day One that might get immediate attention from the new president.

Build the Wall. Perhaps Trump’s single most frequent campaign promise was that he would build a “big, beautiful wall” between the United States and Mexico (and to force the Mexican government to pay for it.) A symbolic step toward starting construction of the wall is one of the more likely things to come out of a Trump White House today.

Start Mass Deportations. Second only to the wall, at least early in his campaign, was Trump’s vow that he would immediately deport the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. While senior Republicans, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, have thrown cold water on the idea that Trump will be able to form a “deportation force” to start moving people across the border, it’s not out of the question that the new president could take some early steps to speed up the removal of criminal aliens.

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Overturn Executive Orders. Trump repeatedly vowed to void executive orders signed by President Obama, sometimes suggesting he’d invalidate all of them, sometimes promising to undo just the ones he views as “unconstitutional.” It seems safe to expect that there will be at least a gesture toward rolling back his predecessor’s legacy of aggressive executive actions. A possible target, of a piece with promises to deport the undocumented and build a wall, is Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which lifted the threat of deportation from certain immigrants brought here illegally as children. Obama's order was nullified by an appeals court and left in place by the Supreme Court in a 4-4 decision last June.  

Repeal Obamacare. The law Trump called a “disaster” is not going away at the stroke of a pen, regardless of how much its opponents might like to see that happen. The Affordable Care Act is far too woven into the fabric of the nation’s healthcare system to be eliminated in an instant. However, given that doing away with it has been a key promise from not just Trump, but the entire Republican Party, some precursor step from Trump today directing federal agencies to prepare for a post-Obamacare world would not be a surprise.

Institute a Lobbying Ban. Trump’s repeated promises to “drain the swamp” of Washington -- personified, more often than not, by lobbyists -- was another standard on the trail. Trump said that he would take steps to shut down the revolving door between the federal government and the K Street offices of major lobbying firms. He could formalize his promise to require all his White House employees to agree to a five-year ban on lobbying after leaving they leave, and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments. He could also request that Congress follow suit, however unlikely such a move would be.

Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The massive trade deal, years in the making, was a constant target for Trump, who has criticized that treaty and others like it for costing America jobs. At this point, anything other than total withdrawal from the arrangement will look like a failure, so an official announcement that the US will not seek to ratify the deal could be something that comes out of the White House this afternoon.

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Go After China’s Currency. Usually mentioned by Trump in the same breath as the TPP was China, the great bogeyman of his story of American industrial decline. On the trail, he constantly hammered on the idea that Beijing is using unfair trade practices to make US products uncompetitive on the world market. A common Trump vow was that he would label China a “currency manipulator,” claiming the Chinese government takes illegitimate steps to keep the yuan’s value artificially low. Though experts say China hasn’t actually engaged in currency manipulation for several years, Trump has continued to insist that they do.

Get ‘Tough’ on ISIS. Getting “tough” on the terror group ISIS was also one of Trump’s go-to promises during the campaign. From saying he would reinstate torture, target terrorists’ families, or just plain “bomb the shit out of them” stepping up the campaign against ISIS is something his supporters will expect Trump to do very early in his term. So, some sort of initial steps toward broadening the campaign against ISIS could also be on the table for this afternoon.