Thursday, November 10, 2016

US election results: What will President Trump do first?

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump spelled out on several occasions what his priorities would be in his first 100 days in office.
Trump doll
Now that he has won the presidency, what has he promised - and can he deliver?
Pledge: Start process of "removing the more than two million criminal, illegal immigrants"
Can it be done? It might be difficult, mainly because there are only an estimated 178,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records currently at large in the US. Even if there were two million, beginning a mass deportation on that scale would be hard. However, he could start to recruit and train the thousands of extra people needed to enact such a deportation - although it is not immediately clear how he would afford the billions some have suggested it would cost.
Pedestrians make their way into the the United States from Mexico at the pedestrian border in Nogales, Arizona, United States, October 9, 2016Image copyrightREUTERS

Pledge: Build a wall dividing the US and Mexico
Can it be done? Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, or Mr Trump's ideas, the President-elect says he wants to begin implementing plans for the construction of a "beautiful" wall along the southern US border immediately. Beginning it will be one thing though, finishing another. Tightening border security and building on US territory is well within his mandate, but details on the cost and practicalities of the scheme are yet to be worked out. Mr Trump insists the Mexicans will foot the bill.

Pledge: Denying visa-free travel to countries who refuse to take back their citizens
Can it be done? In theory he can, under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. In fact, President Barack Obama has used the act to block visas for certain groups. But he restricted it to very specific groups, like people under UN travel bans and those helping the Syrian government commit human rights abuses, and it has never been applied to entire countries.

Pledge: Take action to appoint a new Supreme Court judge
Can it be done? There is a vacancy in the top US court after the death of conservative Antonin Scalia. President Obama has nominated a replacement but the Republican-controlled Senate has refused to consider it. Mr Trump will now be able to fill Mr Scalia's seat, tipping the balance towards conservative-leaning officials. What's more, with others on the panel aged over 70, he could get to make further appointments should they die, influencing decisions on everything from abortion to freedom of the press for years to come.
The US Supreme Court in WashingtonImage copyrightREUTERS

Pledge: Repealing every Obama executive order
Can it be done? Yes. His vow to overturn the executive orders would be within his powers bequeathed by the office. President Obama made 32 executive orders during his time in office, including one lifting the remaining sanctions on Myanmar (Burma). His most wide-reaching and controversial one was probably his plan to lift the threat of deportation to millions of undocumented migrants and give them the right to work. That faced legal challenges and is now set to be reversed.

Pledge: Scrapping Obamacare
Can it be done? Mr Trump has called President Obama's healthcare reforms a disaster and says he will ask Congress to repeal them on day one of his term. Senior Republicans share Mr Trump's view and the party now controls both houses. Despite this, repealing Obamacare will be difficult, with Mr Trump having to find a way to overcome a Democrat filibuster in the Senate, scrap thousands of pages of associated regulations, and not least tackle what will replace it for the millions of America now receiving affordable care.
A protester holds a Image copyrightREUTERS

Pledge: Restrictions on White House officials becoming lobbyists
Can it be done? In theory he would need the support of Congress, which some have suggested is unlikely considering its impact on members' future earning potential.

Pledge: Term limits for members of Congress
Can it be done? This idea was first tabled back in 1994 by the GOP and still hasn't come to fruition. Whether Mr Trump can do it remains to be seen. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after Mr Trump's election: "I would say we have term limits now - they're called elections".

Pledge: Cancellation of all payments to UN climate change programmes
Can it be done? Mr Trump has widespread support for scrapping the payment to the Green Climate Fund among his Republican colleagues - who have retained control of both Houses - so he won't face much opposition should he choose to repeal it. His distrust of the Paris Agreement is also shared with many Republicans. But the deal has been ratified so it's now international law, and would take him four years to withdraw from it.
The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words Image copyrightREUTERS

Pledge: Using that money to fix US infrastructure
Can it be done? Putting money into infrastructure has been a popular campaign pledge for both Mr Trump and Hillary Clinton. But Mr Trump will need every cent he can find to fund the $1tn (£800bn) plan he unveiled in the last days of the campaign.

Pledge: Cut taxes
Can it be done? Mr Trump's promise is traditional Republican territory and is likely to appeal to even the most anti-Trump party members in Congress. The major question is whether Mr Trump can get along with the Republican party's leaders. Conciliatory gestures have been made, though - House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who distanced himself from Mr Trump during the campaign, now says "we will work hand-in-hand on a positive agenda to tackle this country's big challenges". Generally, presidents submit their first budgets in February.

Pledge: To label China a currency manipulator
Can it be done? Mr Trump could sign an executive order labelling the country a currency manipulator on his first day in office. However, it is likely it would have little impact, beyond annoying China.


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