quinta-feira, 10 de novembro de 2016

President Trump's first day: climate deal and immigration could be initial targets

President Trump's first day: climate deal and immigration could be initial targets
His repeated promise during the campaign to bring change to Washington means he will want to provide a spectacular display of strength right from the start

Ed Pilkington in New York
Thursday 10 November 2016 19.17 GMT

On the morning of 21 January, after a long night of celebrations to mark his swearing-in as president, Donald Trump will take his seat at the Resolute Desk inside the Oval Office, pick up his pen, and launch into day one of his administration.

Predicting how he will act that first day is fraught with risk, given the mass of colourful and often vague promises the president-elect has made over the past 18 months on the campaign trail. Many of his most audacious pledges, including his much-vaunted plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and to scrap Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, would require the involvement of Congress and as such, are likely to be slower burns.

But given the unorthodox nature of Trump’s insurgent assault on the White House, and his vow that he will bring change to Washington, he will want to provide a spectacular show of strength for the American people right from the start. To underline the point, his transition team has been preparing what it calls the First Day Project.

It would be in keeping with the tone of Trump’s campaign were he to focus the First Day Project on terrorizing some of the must vulnerable and powerless people in America: the undocumented immigrants. He has said that “on day one” – in his first hour, in fact – he would begin to expel “criminal illegal immigrants”.

The plans Trump outlined in a policy speech in September would target at least 5 million and perhaps as many as 6.5 million people for immediate deportation. To achieve this, Trump has said that he would triple the size of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and set up a deportation taskforce, which a Washington Post analysis said would cost between $51.2bn and $66.9bn over five years.

What will be the first actions Trump takes as president?
Though it will take time to carry out Trump’s full threat of deporting all 11 million undocumented immigrants, if it is ever doable, he could instantly wield his power by slashing two of Obama’s signature executive orders. The so-called Daca provision, which gave legal status and work permission to millions of young undocumented “Dreamers”, and Dapa, which promised to extend those rights to their parents before it was blocked in the courts.

Trump might also instruct immigration officials on day one to step up scrutiny at the ports over new arrivals from certain countries such as Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia – a ruse to bypass any constitutional legal challenges to his contentious promise to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Another eye-catching gambit would be to cancel the program to resettle refugees from the Syrian war in the US, which would be a thinly veiled stab at his rival Hillary Clinton, who had promised to expand the scheme.

An added benefit of many of these first-day actions, from Trump’s perspective, is that they would not only show that he means business, they would also strike at the heart of the Obama legacy. Expect to see several other key Obama initiatives bite the dust on 21 January as Trump has said that “on my first day, we’re going to immediately terminate every single unconstitutional executive order signed by President Obama”.

One possible target of such slash-and-burn tactics will be Obama’s efforts to combat climate change. The most incendiary move would be for Trump to tear up on day one the Paris climate deal that was signed and ratified by Obama without the approval of the US Senate, rendering it vulnerable to the newcomer’s axe.

The president-elect has similarly threatened to act swiftly to unpick the Clean Power Plan that promotes sustainable energy sources and restricts the development of carbon-based energy. He might also revive the idea of the Keystone pipeline as a way of poking environmentalists in the eye.

As a further dig at his predecessor, Trump may be tempted to announce on day one the expansion of Guantánamo Bay, the US military base on Cuba that Obama struggled and failed to close. The optics of such a move would be pleasing to the new occupant of the White House, as Obama spent his first day there in 2009 signing an order to shut the extrajudicial detention center down.

It is likely to take the president-elect more than his first day to initiate his threat to “bomb the hell out of Isis”. But Trump will want to stand tough on the world stage, and to do so he could issue an order to military generals to prepare their own detailed plans on how to crush Islamic state through armed intervention.

One final flourish might appeal to the rookie president. An announcement of his pick to fill the vacant seat of the ninth US supreme court justice would be an excellent way of pleasing his supporters while sending an icy chill down the spines of liberals.

Trump has already issued a shortlist of potential choices, drawn exclusively from the conservative wing of jurisprudence. Many of the candidates are virulently anti-abortion, signalling that the new president really does intend to overturn Roe v Wade, the ruling that legalised a woman’s right to termination.

One of those on the shortlist, William Pryor, has called Roe v Wade “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law”. If Trump nominates him for the supreme court on day one, that would make an impact.

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