Timeline of executive orders by US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump (left), flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, takes the stage to deliver remarks at Homeland Security headquarters in Washington.
US President Donald Trump (left), flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, takes the stage to deliver remarks at Homeland Security headquarters in Washington.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON -  US President Donald Trump has moved swiftly since he took office on Jan 20 to fulfill major campaign promises.

He has signed a number of executive orders - including highly controversial ones - to roll back predecessor Barack Obama's agenda.

Here's a timeline of the new president's first acts so far in the Oval Office:

Friday, Jan 20

- Mr Trump signs his first executive order targeting Mr Obama's signature healthcare reform plan. The order gives federal agencies broad powers to unwind regulations created under the Affordable Care Act - also known as Obamacare - including enforcement of the penalty for people who fail to carry the health insurance that the law requires of most Americans. It directs agencies to grant relief to every one of the constituencies affected by the sprawling 2010 healthcare law: insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and states.

Monday, Jan 23

- He signs an executive order to formally withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact, distancing the US from its Asian allies as China's influence in the region rises. He says the pact will take jobs away from Americans and calls the withdrawal "a great thing" for American workers. The TPP was signed in 2015 by 12 countries from the Asia-Pacific region, representing 40 per cent of the world economy. It was a pillar of Mr Obama's policy to pivot to Asia but never ratified by the Congress.


- Mr Trump also signals his intention to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Accord (Nafta) with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. He warns he would abandon the pact unless the US gets "a fair deal." He has not been explicit on what he wants to change in Nafta, which took effect in 1994. But with his goals of "Buy American" and "Hire American," he might want changes that effectively boost the share of auto manufacturing in the US. 

Tuesday, Jan 24

- He signs orders smoothing the path for the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines in a move to expand energy infrastructure and roll back key environmental actions of the Obama administration. The Keystone XL pipeline links Canadian oil sands in Alberta to refineries on the US Gulf coast. Mr Obama had blocked construction of a 1,900-km section of the pipeline for environmental reasons. As for the North Dakota pipeline project, the permit of Energy Transfer Partners was blocked after native Americans protested that it could contaminate water resources and threaten sacred Native American sites.

- The president, who has said he is pro-life, also reinstates a Ronald Reagan-era rule that bans US foreign aid money from going to overseas non-government organisations that provide abortions or advocate abortion rights. The decree comes the day after the 44th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the emblematic Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion in the US, and two days after millions march worldwide in defence of women's reproductive rights.

- He also freezes hiring of new federal workers, except for positions in national security, public safety and the military. He says the directive is a stop-gap way to control the growth of the government until his budget director recommends a long-term plan to significantly reduce the federal workforce through attrition.

Wednesday, Jan 25

- Mr Trump formally orders the construction of a wall along the roughly 3,200-km US-Mexico border to reduce illegal immigration, a major promise he made during the presidential campaign. The exact composition of the wall remains in question. The order defines it as "a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous and impassable physical barrier." He also orders the government to "allocate all sources of federal funds" for the wall which could cost as much as US$25 billion (S$36 billion). Mr Trump tells ABC News that the US government will pay the construction costs first and seek reimbursement from Mexico. But the latter has criticised the plan and refused to pay.

- His second executive order pledges to hire 10,000 more immigration officers, and to revoke federal grant money to "sanctuary cities" which refuse to deport undocumented immigrants. Cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, Washington, San Francisco and Seattle offer some forms of protection to illegal immigrants. Billions of dollars in federal aid to those cities, often governed by Democrats, could now be at risk.

Friday, Jan 27

- He puts a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from seven Muslim countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. He says the goal is to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists” and give priority for admission to Christians. He rejects accusations that the move mounts to a ban on Muslims.

- The measures sparked a weekend of chaos at US airports, mass protests in the US, as well as diplomatic outcries.  Tens of thousands of protesters also gathered in London and other British cities on Monday (Jan 30) to demonstrate. Criticism of Mr Trump’s proposal even came from his predecessor Barack Obama, who broke his silence for the first time since leaving office. "President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” spokesman Kevin Lewis said, adding that “American values are at stake” and noting that Mr Obama rejects faith-based discrimination. 

Monday, Jan 30

- He seeks to dramatically pare back federal regulations by requiring agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new rule introduced. This will prepare a process for the White House to set an annual cap on the cost of new regulations. 

- The move does not cover independent agencies that crafted many of the rules required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the White House says. It also would not apply to rules mandated by statutes.