President Donald Trump signed three presidential memorandums Monday morning, making good on a promise to halt hiring in the federal government to reduce its workforce, as well as reverse his predecessor’s signature trade deal.
Among Trump’s executive actions was a memorandum to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, which President Barack Obama had backed in office. Trump had criticized TPP regularly while on the campaign trail and vowed as a candidate to overhaul the nation’s position on trade.
“Great thing for the American worker that we just did,” Trump said as he signed a notice in the Oval Office.
The president also signed memorandums freezing most federal government hiring, though he noted an exception for the military, and reinstating a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on the option. The regulation, known as the “Mexico City Policy,” has been a political volleyball, instituted by Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984.
Earlier Monday, Trump huddled with business leaders and warned that he would impose a “substantial border tax” on companies that move their manufacturing out of the United States. He also promised tax advantages to companies that produce products domestically.
“All you have to do is stay,” he said during a meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.
Trump ran for office pledging to overhaul U.S. trade policy, arguing that massive free-trade agreements have disadvantaged American workers. Since winning the White House, he’s aggressively called out companies that have moved factories overseas, vowing to slap taxes on products they then try to sell in the U.S.
“Some people say that’s not free trade, but we don’t have free trade now,” Trump said Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.