WASHINGTON: US president-elect Donald Trump released a video message on Monday, sharing with his nation the executive actions he plans to take on his first day in the White House.
The two-minute, 38-second video made it clear that Trump’s election agenda was not just campaign rhetoric.
He is serious about the promises he made during the campaign and intends to implement them. During the campaign, Trump promised to withdraw from global trade agreements and instead make bilateral deals with the nations that would favour America.
And he announced in the video that on his very first day in office he would issue a notification announcing America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 2015 trade agreement among a dozen Pacific-rim countries, including the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico.
Reacting to Trump’s announcement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the other 11 nations were still willing to ratify the agreement. “So, Mr Trump and his new congress will have to make their own decisions in America’s interest.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said “as the democratically-elected next leader of the United States,” it was Mr Trump’s right to “make the policy decisions he thinks right”. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the agreement would be “meaningless” without the United States while economists warned that the withdrawal would increase Japan’s reliance on China.
Trump also vowed to end overseas hiring, a plan that may hurt developing economies across the globe that provide cheap labour for western companies. “Whether it’s producing steel, building cars or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, in our great homeland America — creating wealth and jobs for American workers,” he said.
The president-elect, who looked directly into the camera as he laid out his early governing priorities, said the video was an update on the first 100 days of his administration. He said the transition team that prepared the list included “truly great and talented men and women” who will soon be a part of our government, “helping us to make America great again”.
Trump also announced his plan to loosen restrictions on shale energy and “clean coal”, saying those actions would create “millions of high-paying jobs”.
He said he would “formulate a rule that says that for every new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated”.
On national security, Trump said he would work with the Department of Defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyber-attacks and all other forms of attack”.
On immigration, he said he had directed the Labour Department to “investigate all abuses of visa programmes that undercut the American worker”. According to the US Department of Homeland Security there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
Trump also pledged to crack down on former administration officials becoming lobbyists, saying he would institute a five-year ban on domestic lobbying and a lifetime ban on lobbying foreign governments.
Not to pursue cases against Clinton
Trump will not pursue investigation of Hillary Clinton related to her private email server and the Clinton Foundation, his close aide said on Tuesday.
He had earlier vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue cases against his Democratic rival.
Besides charging her with criminal negligence for using a private server for official emails, the Trump campaign had also claimed that she used her position as secretary of state to solicit funds for her family’s foundation.
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show on Tuesday that the president-elect now sees things differently.
“I think when the president-elect tells you before he’s even inaugurated that he doesn’t wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content” to fellow Republicans, she said.
“Look, I think he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign are not among them,” she added.
Trump cancelled a meeting with reporters and editors from The New York Times, scheduled for Tuesday, only to reverse himself hours later.
“I cancelled today’s meeting with the failing @nytimes when the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment. Not nice,” Trump tweeted early on Tuesday morning, the media reported.
“Perhaps a new meeting will be set up with the @nytimes. In the meantime they continue to cover me inaccurately and with a nasty tone!” he added in a second tweet minutes later.
He continued his tirade against the newspaper, writing that “the failing @nytimes just announced that complaints about them are at a 15 year high. I can fully understand that - but why announce?”
A Times spokeswoman told Politico, it learned of the meeting’s cancellation from Trump’s Twitter account on Tuesday morning.
She disputed Trump’s claim that the Times had attempted to change the terms of its meeting with the president-elect.
“We were unaware the meeting was cancelled until we saw the president-elect’s tweet this morning. We did not change the ground rules at all and made no attempt to,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in a statement emailed to Politico.
Hope Hicks, Trump spokesperson, told reporters at Trump Tower the meeting was back on. “Mr. Trump’s staff has told us that the President Elect’s meeting with The Times is on again,” Murphy of the Times confirmed.
“He will meet with our publisher off-the-record and that session will be followed by an on-the-record meeting with our journalists and editorial columnists.”
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2016