After a weekend of Inaugural extravaganzas, media altercations, and briefings, President Trump commenced his first business week by signing a series of executive orders that reveal the true victor of the 2016 election: big business.
On Monday, the new president signed an order that will slash regulations drastically by attempting to retract two regulations for every new one proposed. He has allocated no funding for new regulations in 2017. Critics contest these actions, arguing that regulations are essential to the protection of workers, consumers, and the environment. Still, President Trump hopes to “cut regulations by 75%” in order to facilitate the growth of business in the United States. In many ways, this sentiment diverges greatly from the President’s campaign promise to “save the middle class.” As Greg Sargent of The Washington Post notes; “the Trump White House’s version of getting tough on Wall Street is to deregulate it.”
His deregulation efforts have also disturbed environmental advocates who fear that economic growth, rather than the protection of the natural world, is dominating the Trump administration agenda. The President did little to stifle these concerns when he ordered a week-long freeze on all EPA grants. For many, this action was an unwelcome reminder of the Trump team’s request for the names of USDA Climate Change researchers, as well as other unsettling past behavior towards the environmental science community. His record of Climate Change denial and his rejection of global efforts to combat its dire consequences further imply a future of adversity for environmentalists around the world.
As expected, President Trump has facilitated the continuation of The Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, despite robust resistance from environmental and Native American rights activists. The discontinuation of the pipelines was a key stand taken by the Obama administration, both symbolically and practically. However, president Trump, once again prioritizing business, has accentuated the role of the pipelines in putting “steel workers back to work.” His actions have sparked a new thread of protests.
Treading in more precedented waters, Trump has signed an executive order to reinstate the “Mexico City Policy,” which withdraws funding from international groups that provide abortion counseling or referral. Much to the satisfaction of his supporters, he has also withdrawn the United States from the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in accordance with his campaign promise.
Trump has authorized the construction of his favorite crowd-pleaser, the legendary wall on the Mexican-American border, to the dismay of the Mexican government. The Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, however, has promised that Mexico will take no part in the creation of said wall.
As Mr. Trump continues to utilize his executive authority at a record pace, it seems that he has thrust industry into the forefront of the administration’s ambitious agenda, regardless of its consequences. For those who contend that Trump is merely a fiscal conservative, the 2017 budget attests to the contrary.
By Natasha Herle