President Trump’s first Two Weeks

  

In his first week as president, Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders aimed at delivering on the promises that he made during the campaign. Among those campaign pledges that Trump has already addressed: undoing the Affordable Care Act, building the US-Mexico border wall, lifting federal prohibitions on drilling, and banning refugees and citizens from Muslim countries as well.

Trump’s administration has also instituted a temporary communication ban at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services. Although it’s not an executive order, Trump instructed those agencies to stop sending out news posts, specifically on social media.

While his executive orders might seem dramatic or even dystopian, it’s important to recognize that a signature does not necessarily indicate immediate action.

Newly inaugurated presidents typically sign sweeping executive actions during their first 100 days to demonstrate their commitment to constituencies. During President Obama’s first week, he signed roughly the same amount of executive orders as Trump — he famously closed Guantanamo on day one, but that prison remains operational (and could expand during Trump’s presidency).

Below you can check out a running list of Trump’s executive orders that we’ll continue to update as he enacts more.

  1. Restricting abortion access – Trump reinstated the global gag order, also known as the Mexico City Policy, which was introduced by President Reagan in 1985. The policy prohibits federal aid to family planning organizations that counsel on or provide abortions.
  2. Enacting a federal hiring freeze – Other than in the military or public safety positions, Trump has temporarily frozen hiring for federal agencies with open positions. Trump’s intention is to reduce the size of the federal government workforce over time.
  3. Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act – With help from the Republican-held Congress, Trump initiated plans to dismantle Obamacare. On Jan. 23, he signed an order that will “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the Affordable Care Act. Essentially, this means that federal agencies do not have to comply with the law if it is fiscally straining.
  4. Withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership – Trump rejected Obama’s TPP trade deal and withdrew from the alliance, as he promised to do. His reasoning? Refusing to ratify the TPP might make it easier to keep jobs in America.
  5. Enacting a federal regulation freeze – Like the federal hiring freeze, Trump also froze the implementation of all new federal regulations currently awaiting approval. Regulations like climate policies that Obama instituted during his final week will be reviewed by Trump’s administration.
  6. Renewing formerly banned drilling – Trump signed an order that would immediately renew construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline that the Army Corps of Engineers halted in November. Additionally, Trump overturned Obama’s rejection of construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport shale from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
  7. Restricting immigration – The wall between Mexico and America will be built, according to another order signed by Trump. Responding to the threat of domestic terrorism, Trump has also signed a directive to block refugees from Syria from entering America as well as a 90-day halt on anyone from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen from entering the country, according to the New York Times. Syrian refugees will reportedly not be allowed to enter the country for an indefinite amount of time. Refugees from other countries will have their cases reviewed after a 120-day halt on processing.
  8. Limiting federal regulations – Trump issued a somewhat vague order which requires the repeal of two federal regulations for every new regulation implemented. Aimed at limiting regulations for businesses, Trump described the order as beneficialfor reducing governmental regulations’ “damaging effects on our small business, our economy, [and] our entrepreneurial spirit.”
  9. Restructuring of the National Security Council – In the midst of considerable backlash to his immigration ban, Trump quietly restructured the National Security Council. The president promoted his Senior Adviser, Steve Bannon, to a position on the council (which is typically reserved for Generals). The Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have historically advised the president on matters of National Security, were demoted to optional meeting attendance. The White House defended the reorganization by claiming the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s presence might not be required for every meeting and falsely claiming the order mirrored directives from Presidents W. Bush and Obama.

President Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch (10th Circuit) to the Supreme Court

  

Last night, President Trump tapped federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court.

Gorsuch is a right-leaning judge who once clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Gorsuch, 49, is among youngest of recent Supreme Court nominees (Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when nominated, and Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan were both 50.)

In 2013, he was part of the lower court that sided with Hobby Lobby. That’s the private company that successfully argued that Obamacare violated its religious beliefs by requiring it to cover birth control for its employees. Gorsuch is considered an “originalist” – meaning he believes the Constitution should be interpreted exactly how the Founding Fathers wrote it. If approved, he’d be filling the seat of another originalist, Justice Antonin Scalia, who died almost exactly a year ago.

Under the Constitution, the President nominates a Justice and the Senate has to approve. Last Congress, the Republican Party argued that they didn’t think President Obama should fill the seat in an election year. Obama went ahead and picked centrist federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland but since the GOP controlled Congress, it blocked Garland all year. Dems were less than pleased.

Supporters say this is exactly what they wanted: a right-leaning justice who’ll keep the Supremes to the right. Critics remember Trump’s campaign promise to appoint someone who’d overturn Roe v Wade – and worry Gorsuch could help make that happen.

What’s next? Gorsuch now has a job interview with the Senate. And since the Dems aren’t super thrilled to be interviewing Gorsuch, they’ll be giving him extra scrutiny. They may even choose to filibuster (read: block) his confirmation. If that happens, the GOP could ‘go nuclear’ – aka change the rules so they wouldn’t need the Dems to approve Trump’s pick at all.

Freedom of Religion: In Hobby Lobby Stores vs. Sebelius, Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion siding with the craft store and its owners arguing the courts should accept one’s interpretation of their faith’s requirements and that they were likely to succeed in claiming the ACA contraception mandate infringed on their freedom of religion.

Regulations:  Gorsuch has also questioned the constitutionality of the current volume of federal regulations Caring Hearts Personal Home Services vs Burwell.

Guns: While not a Second Amendment question, Gorsuch has indicated disagreement with some convictions for a felon’s knowing possession of a firearm, suggesting that prosecutors must prove that the defendant both knew he or she was a felon and knew that he or she was in possession of the firearm (rather than just knowingly possessing a firearm being sufficient for conviction). In one such case, Gorsuch did note that “gun possession is often lawful and sometimes even protected as a matter of constitutional right,” but it was still settled on statutory rather than Second Amendment grounds.  These cases are less an indication of Gorsuch’s views on gun rights, and rather evidence that — like Scalia — Gorsuch is an advocate for the rule of lenity. Conservative outlet American Thinker criticized Gorsuch for joining the majority opinion in U.S. v. Rodriguez, where the court cited Terry v. Ohio to uphold the legality of the search of a man who was found to be in possession of an illegal handgun. American Thinker wrote the case “causes us to have some concern about his understanding of the relationship between the government and an armed citizenry,” while acknowledging that the ruling was on Fourth Amendment grounds, not Second Amendment grounds.

 

Democracy in Action: My Front-Row Seat to the Inauguration & Women’s March

  

This weekend, I attended both the inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington. In other words, I spent Friday surrounded by staunch supporters of President Trump and Saturday surrounded by those who oppose him.

Both days, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with smart people who care passionately about this country and who answer the call to engage in the political process. It gave me a unique glimpse into the conversations we are having—and not having—in this country.

January 20th: Inauguration Day

I took President Obama’s farewell speech advice to heart: “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with one of them in real life.” So, wearing my ANA pin, I spoke to everyone around me.

Everyone I met cared about many of the same issues that I do, like providing health care for all, fostering a strong economy, and ensuring quality education for our children. The people I spoke with firmly believe that Donald Trump will deliver in all of these areas. After President Trump spoke, the man standing next to me even said: “I love this man!”

At every turn, I saw that supporters of the new president are reasonable and willing to listen. For example, when people booed Hillary Clinton, I couldn’t help but blurt out: “This is disrespectful.” Two women near me replied: “You’re right.” Together, we created a small clapping section for all of the Democrats coming to the stage to counter the booing. Of course, I also clapped as Speaker Ryan, Vice President Pence, and President Trump were announced. Respect is respect.

Here’s where respect was lacking. As my husband and I were standing in line to attend the Inaugural Ball, protesters screamed at us. This was after hearing all afternoon about protesters breaking windows and starting fires. One protestor jumped in front of my husband so aggressively that three police in riot gear intervened. People around us expressed their disgust the behavior of “those sore losers.”

January 21st: Women’s March on Washington

The next day, I joined the Women’s March on Washington. I was surrounded by throngs of women and men chanting “This is what democracy looks like!” Attendees were overjoyed that their voice was being heard after the inauguration the day before. It was a peaceful protest—not one person in the throng of 500,000 people was arrested. And yet, every time I saw a sign or heard someone shout Not my president!, the previous day’s discussion about “sore losers” rang in my ears.

The Unifying Message from Two Ends of the Spectrum

Both days taught me about the way we listen to those who oppose us. More than ever, I believe that we only let ourselves hear the most extreme fringes of the opposition. This, in turn, allows us to label the other side as “crazy” and more readily dismiss differing points of view. Instead, what we so desperately need is to generate conversations that begin and end with respect. To quote Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle: “In any controversy, the instant we feel angry, we have already ceased striving for Truth, and begun striving for Ourselves.”

I also learned that nurses are uniquely prepared to generate the important discussions we need to have as a nation. We are skilled, respectful, and trusted listeners and communicators—even when faced with people who have widely differing points of view.

My ANA pin opened the doors to discussion on both days. So, I urge you to use your voice, listen intently beyond the shouting, and generate your own powerful conversations.