It has been a week since Donald Trump became president. Since then, he has been busy issuing executive orders on a range of topics from the Keystone XL pipeline, barring refugees from "high risk" countries, and abortion. He also has feuded with the press over the size of his inauguration crowds and spoken with world leaders. Here are the highlights so far of the first week of the Donald J. Trump administration.
1. First cabinet nominees confirmed:
Shortly after taking office, Trump's defense secretary nominee, General James Mattis, was confirmed. The former Iraq War general is popular with both Democrats and Republicans. He first needed a special waiver from Congress since a military official must be retired from military service for at least 7 years before being allowed to take on a civilian role at the Pentagon.
Mattis has made it clear that there are differences between him and Trump on issues such as torture and waterboarding. Trump has indicated that he is fine with the difference in opinion, telling reporters during his first press conference as president that Mattis could "override" him on torture. Mattis was easily confirmed by the Senate 98-1. Shortly thereafter General John Kelly was voted in as Secretary of Homeland Security and Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
2. Inauguration crowd debacle:
In a shocking moment this week, newly minted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made the claim that Trump's inauguration size was more heavily attended than Barack Obama's 2008 inauguration. “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," said Spicer.
A photo comparing the two inaugurations showing Obama's as far more populated quickly went viral. Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway tried to argue that Spicer had employed "alternative facts" during a new interview, leaving the American public scratching their heads as to what exactly that means.
3. A flurry of executive orders:
Trump kicked off his first day in office by signing an executive order meant to slow down the implementation of Obamacare. He followed it up by signing an order to withdraw from the TPP and to renegotiate NAFTA, completing several key campaign promises. He has also signed orders that would reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial oil pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canada down into the Gulf of Mexico, a construction project that Obama deliberated over before ultimately rejecting.
The Dakota Access pipeline was also revived, a pipeline that drew controversy when its plans would have it go straight through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Trump has also signed orders calling for a reduction in refugees and a "gag order" on abortions.
4. Meeting with foreign leaders:
Trump has mentioned that he has spoken with several foreign leaders by phone since his election. He was originally scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto this week. Pena Nieto has been threatening for months that his country would not pay for the massive wall along the southern border that the U.S. shares with Mexico. Trump told him not to come if he refused. The meeting was ultimately cancelled. No matter, the two, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will ultimately get together when they renegotiate NAFTA.
Trump also held his first press conference as president this week with his first foreign leader he has met with as president by his side. The White House welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday.
5. The beginnings of the wall:
Trump gave his first hints this week as to how the wall will be paid for. He indicated that he may levy a tax on remittances, money that Mexican workers send back to their family. His administration has also mentioned increasing taxes or taxing imports.
While things may be easy now, with Trump just needing to issue executive orders, he will face his first real test when he must get legislation passed. Right now Congress is not in session, Republicans are on a retreat in Philadelphia while Democrats are huddling to perform an autopsy on their 2016 election results in West Virginia. He is also still waiting on most of his cabinet to be confirmed. It will be interesting to see how Trump manages when he must work with Congress to get his agenda passed.