US President Donald Trump is getting things off to a quick start, using executive orders to fulfill – or take steps towards fulfilling – two of his central campaign promises.
Trump’s early executive orders will include an order signalling the intention of the US to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and move towards leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Both campaign promises featured heavily in Trump’s election victory.
While losing the popular vote, Trump was able to win the electoral college by prevailing in states such as Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – all won by Obama in 2012 – that had suffered immensely due to free trade agreements.
The so-called “Rust Belt States,” have lost massive amounts of jobs, seen thousands of factories shuttered, and watched as entire communities fell apart. Trade deals have received much of the blame.
While Republicans had traditionally supported free trade deals, Trump accurately perceived that those deals were massively unpopular in the rust belt states, and was able to outflank the Democrats on that issue.
Those states provided Trump’s narrow margin of victory, and upended years of political and trade orthodoxy.
Clinton was seen as closely connected to the deals as her husband Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, and she had previously called the TPP the “Gold Standard,” in trade deals – a position she later reversed under pressure from Bernie Sanders.
Trump relentlessly attacked the TPP throughout the campaign, including this tweet in 2015:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is an attack on America's business. It does not stop Japan's currency manipulation. This is a bad deal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2015
Signing the executive orders early on is a way for Trump to signal from the beginning that his campaign promises will be fulfilled.
However, the task of bringing jobs back will not be so simple, and the orders will need to be followed up with results for the rust belt to stay in the Republican column.
Photo – Twitter