Donald Trump is ready to begin taking executive actions on his first day in the White House on Friday to move quickly on his pledge to crack down on immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and roll back policies of outgoing President Barack Obama.
Trump, a Republican elected on Nov. 8, arrived in Washington on Thursday with his family to kick of a weekend of festivities and spoke to a gathering of members of his incoming administration.
After being sworn in during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Trump is poised to wield one of the most powerful tools of his office, the presidential pen, for executive actions that can be implemented without the input of Congress.
“He is committed to not just Day 1, but Day 2, Day 3 of enacting an agenda of real change, and I think that you’re going to see that in the days and weeks to come,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday, telling reporters to expect activity on Friday, during the weekend and early next week.
The top items on the agenda for Trump, who has presided over a sprawling business empire but has never before held public office, mirror the populist pledges that fueled his election victory: immigration curbs and job creation, particularly in the manufacturing sector, Spicer said.
Trump’s advisers vetted more than 200 potential executive orders for him to consider signing on healthcare, climate policy, immigration, energy and numerous other matters but it was not clear how many orders he will approve, according to a member of the Trump transition team who was not authorized to talk to the press.
Trump also is expected to impose a federal hiring freeze, reverse some environmental protections and take steps to delay implementation of a Labor Department rule slated to take effect in April that would require brokers who give retirement advice to put their clients’ best interests first.
Trump’s ability to sign executive orders on his first day in office will allow him to appear more like the CEO role that made him famous and give him some victories with his supporters before he has to turn to the lumbering process of getting Congress to pass bills.
REVERSING OBAMA MOVES
Obama, a Democrat ending eight years as president, was also quick to use his executive authority when he took office, creating an ethics code for his appointees and banning the use of waterboarding, a simulated drowning, for interrogating suspects detained in terrorism cases.
He made frequent use of his executive powers during his second term in office, when the Republican-controlled Congress stymied his efforts to overhaul immigration and environmental laws.
Many of those actions are now ripe targets for Trump to reverse.
Trump is expected to sign an executive order in his first few days to direct the building of a wall on the southern border with Mexico, one of several immigration-related steps his advisers have recommended.
That includes rescinding Obama’s order that allowed more than 700,000 people brought into the United States illegally as children to stay in the country on a two-year authorization to work and attend college, according to several people close to the presidential transition team.
It is unlikely Trump’s order will result in an immediate round-up of these immigrants, sources told Reuters. Rather, he is expected to let the authorizations expire.
The issue could set up a flash-point with Obama, who told reporters on Wednesday he would weigh in if he felt the new administration was unfairly targeting these immigrants.
Trump also is expected to announce more specific plans to build the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and actions to limit the entry of asylum seekers from Latin America.
Advisors to Trump expect him to put restrictions on people entering the United States from certain countries until a system for “extreme vetting” for Islamic extremists can be set up.
During his campaign for the presidency, Trump had proposed banning non-American Muslims from entering the United States but his executive order regarding immigration is expected to be based on nationality rather than religion.
Another proposed executive order would require all cabinet departments to disclose current work being done in connection with Obama’s initiatives to curb carbon emissions to combat climate change and halt the work until further directed.
Trump is expected to extend prohibitions on future lobbying imposed on members of his transition team in his first days in office.