Donald Trump will begin his presidency with a flurry of executive orders on illegal immigration, the environment and ethics as he works quickly to try to make good on campaign promises and dismantle his predecessor's legacy.
But he will leave the bulk of his significant actions until Monday — the first full business day following his inauguration Friday — as he kicks off a week in which he is expected to confer with Republican lawmakers, swear in new Cabinet secretaries and talk with foreign leaders.
“I’d say to America, ‘Buckle your seat belt.’ This is going to be a very quick start out of the gate,” said Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of Trump’s transition team. “It’s going to be fast-paced. Mr. Trump is not someone to dillydally.”
Staff from his legislative and policy teams, as well as his counselor’s office, were meeting this week to determine which issues to introduce Friday and next week, transition spokesman Sean Spicer said.
Trump made many grandiose promises during the campaign of what he wanted to accomplish immediately upon taking office. But after the election he streamlined his list and members of his transition team say he is working to deliver on:
▪ Withdrawing from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
▪ Canceling restrictions on energy production, including shale energy and clean coal.
▪ Altering visa programs.
▪ Restricting members of his administration from becoming lobbyists for five years after they leave government and banning them from lobbying foreign governments.
He also is likely to sign an executive order banning funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions. It was implemented by President Ronald Reagan, rescinded by Bill Clinton, restored by George W. Bush and rescinded again by Barack Obama.
Trump is expected to spend much of the weekend celebrating with his family, including with his wife, Melania, and their 10-year-old son, Barron, before those family members return to New York, where they plan to live until the summer. Other members of his family, including his adult children, Ivanka, Don, Eric and Tiffany, are also expected to be at the White House.
The Trumps will attend the traditional swearing-in, parades and balls Friday as well a prayer service Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral.
“He is going to make Monday of next week Day One. . . . It’s going to let the inaugural and the lunch and the parade, all the swearing in and inaugural activities play out Friday and Saturday ” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., a vice chair of Trump’s transition team. “And then be ready Monday morning to start with rolling back some of the executive orders.”
Trump expects to sign four or five executive orders Friday and more throughout next week. He will continue to name ambassadors and assistant and deputy secretaries. He had hoped to swear in new Cabinet members on his first day, though he’s unlikely to have more than a handful confirmed by the Senate by then.
One of the core things he ran on was ‘We are going to do this.’ They’ve hired people that can absolutely move this stuff. I don’t think they are going to be wandering around looking for the bathroom.
Scott Jennings, political director for former President George W. Bush
Ken Duberstein, Ronald Reagan's chief of staff in his second term, said the first few days in the White House were “always a whirlwind” and that much of what a president was doing was behind the scenes, including hiring and meeting new staff. “It’s a fresh start, a clean slate,” he said. “You have to start filling up your teams.”
Trump said recently that he would nominate a Supreme Court justice within the first two weeks of taking office, saying he has already spoken with several candidates from his initial list of 21 possible nominees that he released during the presidential campaign. Transition officials say the announcement may come in the third week.
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will meet with House of Representatives and Senate Republicans late next week at a retreat in Philadelphia to talk about legislation, particularly how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, which would take congressional approval.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a member of Trump’s team, said he wanted Trump to start working with Congress right away on delaying Obama administration rules on overtime pay and retirement investment advisers that he said could hurt working Americans. He also wants Trump to craft a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, make changes to the tax code and improve K-12 education.
Presidents traditionally sign some executive orders on Inauguration Day, though they don’t always come to fruition. President Barack Obama, for example, signed one that required the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged this week for the first time that Obama would not succeed in that goal.
Others are expecting Trump to immediately direct the government to deport 2 million convicted criminals who he says are in the United States illegally. But some transition officials say he may wait to tackle any deportation of immigrants brought to the country illegally who came as children or who have children who are citizens or legal residents, until he can tackle the whole immigration issue.
Other possible executive orders: approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, removing a requirement that the government take climate change into consideration when making decisions, withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, and suspending the Syrian refugee resettlement program.
We're looking at . . . several weeks of a very robust agenda that he will be engaging in.
Transition spokesman Sean Spicer
During the campaign, Trump made numerous other pledges but not all could be accomplished so easily. Rule changes will require justification following a Reagan-era court case mandating that regulation changes aren’t done on a whim — and a lengthy legal process.
Those include easing rules on fracking on federal land, ending federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities that do not enforce immigration laws, and ensuring immigrants in the United States convicted of illegal re-entry receive “strong mandatory minimum sentences.”
Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under President George W. Bush, cautioned Americans not to pay too much attention to how presidents traditionally start their terms. For example, Trump may not worry about being disciplined enough to have a single message each day like his predecessors.
“All the rules are different for Donald Trump,” he said. “He cares less about tradition, not swayed by arguments that it’s always done this way. He was elected to change Washington and wants to change Washington.”