Saturday 24 June 2017

Trump policies bad for Ireland

'He intends to abandon the grand American tradition of welcoming immigrants. These are deeply troubling developments, for Western democracies in general and not least for Ireland.' Photo: Reuters
'He intends to abandon the grand American tradition of welcoming immigrants. These are deeply troubling developments, for Western democracies in general and not least for Ireland.' Photo: Reuters
Editorial

Editorial

In 2009, President Obama signed nine executive orders in his first 10 days and 16 in total in January and February, most of which amended or revoked previous presidential orders. In his first seven days in office, President Trump has signed six executive orders along with eight memorandums and one proclamation, which are a step below executive orders and basically outline the administration's position on a policy issue.

An executive order is an official statement from the president about how the federal agencies he oversees are to use their resources. It is not the president creating new law or appropriating new money from the US Treasury. It is the president instructing the government how it is to work within the parameters that are already set by Congress and the Constitution.

Therefore, the US political system has inherent checks and balances designed to prevent any president from overstepping his authority. Of course, many executive orders can be mundane. The controversy which surrounds President Trump during his first week in office relates to the political intent behind his executive orders, and what they say about his presidency in general. For example, his most recent order is to suspend admission of all refugees for 120 days while a new system is put in place to tighten vetting for those from predominantly Muslim countries and give preference to religious minorities. Other orders relate to the border wall with Mexico, sanctuary cities, beginning the repeal of Obamacare and expediting the Keystone XL pipeline. While it should be borne in mind that his order on building a border wall basically establishes building the wall as a federal priority and directs the Department of Homeland Security to use already-available funding to get the ball rolling on its construction, it is the policy intent behind the order that causes unease. During the presidential campaign, many of Donald Trump's supporters and even his advisers said they took many of his most far-reaching promises seriously but not literally. The actions of President Trump in his first week in office tell us that he must be taken seriously and literally.

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