01/28/17 THE HILL



Donald Trump’s presidency is off to a wild start.

This week’s events showed the presidency hasn’t changed Trump, as he served up a main course of aggressive actions, with a heaping serving of controversy on the side.

Here are five takeaways from Trump’s frantic first week.

Trump reacts, and is going to govern off the cuff.

Former President Obama was labeled “no-drama” for a reason.

His cautious style permeated everything that happened in his White House, from his statements to his policy proposals to his often-bloodless responses to domestic and international crises.

Trump has taken that playbook and thrown it out the window.
It took just 24 hours for Trump to spark his first controversy, when he went off script and exaggerated the size of his inaugural crowd during a speech at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Lawmakers in both parties were taken aback during a private reception when Trump repeated his baseless claim that millions of illegally cast ballots cost him the popular vote — then publicly pledged to launch an investigation.

He started a feud with Mexico over his proposed border wall and threatened to send federal authorities to Chicago to get crime under control, apparently in response to a segment that aired on Fox News.

Over the objection of aides concerned about cyber-hacking threats, Trump is reportedly refusing to give up his unsecured Android phone.

The first days of a presidency are often messy, but Trump’s tendency to ad lib has added additional confusion.

That dynamic on full display Thursday, when the president pushed back signing a directive moving forward on his voter-fraud investigation, scrapped a meeting with key congressional tax-writers and appeared briefly to endorse an import tax to fund the southern border wall.

Trump is determined to fulfill his big promises.

If Trump campaigned on it, you can bet he’s going to act on it.

The president’s executive actions have already squashed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, reignited two controversial pipeline projects, cracked down on “sanctuary cities” that refuse to help federal authorities enforce immigration laws, and laid the groundwork for aggressively deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes here.

He also signed an order directing the federal government to move ahead with his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and curbed the country’s refugee resettlement program.

But questions are swirling about whether Trump’s unilateral actions are more style than substance.

For example, Trump will need Congress to appropriate billions of dollars to fund the wall, although GOP lawmakers seem amenable. Construction might not start for months, as the Department of Homeland Security is tasked with conducting a six-month study to assess the cost.

Getting the Keystone XL oil pipeline going again could be hampered by an ongoing legal battle between the sponsoring company, TransCanada, and the U.S. government.

Trump is obsessed with his image.

Trump’s acute concern with his public image was on full display during the campaign, as his rallies were often dominated by talk about his crowd sizes and polling numbers.

That has continued into the presidency.

On Trump’s second full day in office, he sent White House press secretary Sean Spicer to the podium to furiously reject accurate media reports that the inauguration crowd this year was smaller than it was for President Obama.

More people tuned into the inauguration around the world through the internet and cable news than ever have before, the White House claimed.

That led to a days-long fight with the media over crowd sizes, punctuated by senior adviser Kellyanne Conway’s run-in with NBC anchor Chuck Todd. The administration has “alternative facts,” Conway said.

Trump is also obsessed with winning, and refuses to concede that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election by some 3 million votes. He is pushing for a national investigation into voter fraud.

Trump’s fixation on the election results has irked even some of his closest supporters, who want him to devote his full attention to governing the country.

Trump’s team sees the press as the enemy.

Trump’s long-running feud with the news media escalated this week when his chief strategist, former Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon, delivered a blistering rebuke to reporters.

The press is the “opposition party,” Bannon told The New York Times, and needs to “keep its mouth shut.”

That interview capped a contentious week of backbiting between the Trump administration and the media.

The press has taken Trump to task for his claims about his inauguration crowd size and voter fraud. Some organizations have taken the unusual step of calling Trump’s claims outright lies.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, is furious with what it views as a constant frenzy of negative news about everything it does.

They insist that the mainstream press is actively working to undermine them. Repeatedly, they have cited a Time magazine journalist’s erroneous report about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bust being removed from the Oval Office as evidence of the media’s vindictiveness.

The Trump administration has already taken steps to shake up the White House’s relationship with the press, stripping the major outlets and news wires of their first-in-line standing at briefings.

The administration has considered removing the press from their workspace at the White House entirely, and more aggressive actions pushing back against the media could be in the works.

Trump has an uneasy alliance with congressional Republicans.

Republicans have high hopes for an ambitious 2017, with control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for the first time in a decade.

But there have been signs that Trump is not on the same page with congressional Republicans on several key policy areas.

Nowhere is that more evident than ObamaCare. Republicans on Capitol Hill want to repeal the healthcare law and replace it with an alternative, a difficult task that has sparked internal divisions.

Trump has complicated the task further with his public statements. Even as he issued an executive action calling for repeal of ObamaCare, he told GOP lawmakers on Thursday they could be walking into a trap if they follow through.

He talked of how he had considered “just doing nothing for two years” at annual the party’s retreat in Philadelphia, predicting Democrats would bear the political brunt if ObamaCare collapses on its own.

“We’re putting ourselves at risk to a certain extent because we’re taking it off their platter,” Trump said. But he added that, “we have to take care of the American people immediately. So we can’t wait.

Healthcare is just one area where the president and the GOP Congress could be headed for conflict. There are divisions on tax reform, trade and torture — not to mention frustration among lawmakers with Trump’s continued obsession with the election.

All of that could throw a wrench in the gears as Republicans try to advance their agenda.



Link :