Donald Trump: 11 things that have happened since he became US President

It's been a busy few days

Jon Sharman
Monday 23 January 2017 15:24 GMT
Donald Trump: 11 things that have happened since he became US President

We are just three days into the tenure of President Donald Trump and already the headlines are stacking up.

Major developments include the new leader signing an executive order to begin the dismantling of Obamacare, and being named as the target of a lawsuit by ethics experts.

Mr Trump has also begun a war with American journalists after press secretary Sean Spicer used his first press conference to decry reporters' alleged bias and make false claims about the size of the crowd at Friday's inauguration ceremony.

Here are the 11 things that have already happened in Donald Trump's first three days in charge of the nuclear codes:

1. He's started the process of dismantling Obamacare

Mr Trump split away from his inauguration festivities on Friday to sign the first executive order of his presidency, which directed the federal government to begin dismantling Obamacare.

The wide-ranging, single-page order instructs government agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement" of the healthcare law that could pose a “fiscal burden” on state, drug companies, individuals and insurers.

But since the Affordable Care Act has been set in regulation, Mr Trump cannot fully repeal it with executive action.

2. Hundreds of new Israeli settlements were announced

On Sunday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced the building of 566 new settler homes in three areas in occupied East Jerusalem, adding that the permits had been delayed as the authorities waited for Barack Obama’s term to end. The announcement had been delayed after the US declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning construction.

Mr Trump also spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a "very warm" phone call, and the White House said the new administration was in the "very early stages" of discussing moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a suggestion which has angered Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital.

Benjamin Netanyahu, it appears, is very buoyed by the arrival of Mr Trump.

3. He's got a lawsuit running against him

A group of constitutional scholars and legal experts, including former White House ethics lawyers, are filing a lawsuit accusing Mr Trump of violating the US Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments.

The legal action, brought by watchdog organisation Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, will seek a court order on Monday forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, which it will allege are forbidden by the Constitution's emoluments clause.

In a statement, the watchdog alleged that since Mr Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favours from foreign governments through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad.

4. He escalated his war on the media

Mr Trump told the audience of his speech at CIA headquarters he was in a "running war" with the American news media while at the same time inflating the number of people who attended his inauguration ceremony.

His press secretary, Sean Spicer, claimed the number present was the biggest ever, "period", though photographs showed that to be false, and criticised what he called "deliberate false reporting" on the subject.

He also gave the hint of a threat that the new President may choose to bypass journalists entirely.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway later told NBC's Chuck Todd that Mr Spicer had presented "alternative facts", rather than lies, and added: "If we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we're going to have to rethink our relationship here."

5. Numerous pages disappeared from the White House website

The White House’s webpage on civil rights appeared to have been deleted just hours after Mr Trump was inaugurated.

Previously a page marking the history of civil rights in the US, it has now been removed. It appears to have been replaced by one entitled ‘Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community’ which states there is a "dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America" as well as a "tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration".

Mentions elsewhere about climate change were replaced by a new energy plan that makes no mention of global warming and commits only to helping reduce the prices paid by Americans for their energy. A page detailing Barack Obama's work with the LGBT community also disappeared.

6. We were told Trump will not release his tax returns after all

Ms Conway gave the White House's official response to a 209,000-strong petition calling for Mr Trump to release his tax returns—a flat 'no'.

She said: "We litigated this all through the election, people didn’t care, they voted for him. He made this very clear. Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like."

7. The President bypassed anti-nepotism laws to hire his son-in-law

One of the first acts taken by Mr Trump’s administration was to rule that his son-in-law could become senior advisor without any conflict of interest under federal anti-nepotism laws.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel addressed Mr Trump in an official document published on the day of his inauguration. Its ruling enabled his daughter Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, to be promoted to the role of senior advisor.

Federal anti-nepotism laws in the US prevent relatives from being appointed to government positions but Mr Trump's transition team argued they only apply to jobs in federal agencies, and not for White House posts.

8. He made five claims that simply weren't true

Mr Trump cemented his reputation for fabrication on the campaign trail, but ascending to the highest office in the land has not kept him from making false claims.

The 45th President has offered his own "alternative facts" at least five times since being inaugurated.

9. National security adviser under investigation

Communications between Mr Trump’s national security advisor Michael Flynn and Russian officials are being investigated by counterintelligence agencies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news came just hours after the retired Lieutenant General had been sworn in on Sunday. The newspaper reported it is not clear when the inquiry began, whether it has produced any incriminating evidence, whether it is still underway or closing.

10. Women staged a massive protest - including in Antarctica

Mr Trump is so unpopular there were even women marching against him in Antarctica on Saturday.

The day after the inauguration of a man who bragged about grabbing women by their genitals, thousands marched in Washington DC and around the world to "stand up for human rights, women’s rights and against hate."

11. We found out Trump didn't write his speech after all

Most of Donald Trump’s inauguration speech was not written by him—as he suggested in a tweet—but by two of his top advisors.

Two days before his inauguration, Mr Trump tweeted a picture of himself seemingly writing his speech three weeks before at the Winter White House in Mar-a-Lago. But a White House official said much of the speech was actually written by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon.

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