US President Donald Trump only rules by executive orders

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Since taking up his role of President of the United States of America two weeks ago, Donald Trump has signed a steady flow of executive orders.

Some, like the travel ban on those from seven ‘muslim majority’ countries, have sparked mass outrage. Others, such as a call for Americans to wear red in honour of American Heart Month, have passed without much note.

So far the former businessman has signed 22 different rulings – which is a lot to keep track of, so we’ve made a list of all the times he’s put pen to paper so far.

What is an executive order?

While a lot of people have been talking about executive orders, that’s actually just one type of executive, or presidential, action – some of Trump’s rulings have technically been something else.

An executive order is the most prestigious type of executive action. Similar to laws made in Congress they typically announce a new policy or directive which must be followed.

However, this is not the President creating a new law or getting new money from the Treasury – it instructs the Government on how to work on the new priority within existing laws.

The orders are recorded in the Federal Register and are considered legally binding – but they are subject to legal review.

Mr Trump can also issue presidential memoranda. These don’t have to be published – although there’s nothing to stop this – and usually delegate tasks from the President to his executive branch.

Proclamations, on the other hand, are mostly to observe ceremonial holidays or awareness months.

How many has Donald Trump signed?

So far President Trump has signed 22 actions. To put that in context Barack Obama issued 277 – averaged over his presidency, this was the lowest in 120 years.

George Washington signed a mere eight during his whole time in the Oval Office, but Franklin D. Roosevelt signed more than 3,700

The full list of actions

January 20: Executive Order to Roll Back ObamaCare

One of Trump’s very first tasks in office was to set out his position on the Affordable Care Act.

The order sets up to “minimise the economic burden” of Obama’s policies, but the new President had softened his views on the act, so his exact plan remains unclear.

Read the Full Text

January 20: Memorandum on Regulations Freeze

Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus signed this action to tell the heads of various federal agencies, such as CIA or Environmental Protection Agency, not to send new regulations through until the new team had leaders in place to approve them.

Obama’s Chief of Staff signed something similar, with the idea being to make sure the new administration actually wants to carry out any pending laws considered by the former executive.

Read the Full Text

January 23: Memorandum on Hiring Freeze

This directed a hiring freeze on every part of the executive apart from the military – so no vacancies can be filled.

The idea is to cut spending.

Read the Full Text

January 23: Memorandum on Withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership

One of Trump’s key election pledges, he pledged to withdraw from the global trade deal.

The TPP – which had yet to be ratified – was an agreement between twelve countries to reduce taxes on exports.

Read the Full Text

January 23: Memorandum on Abortion Policy Overseas

Also known as The Mexico City Policy, American non-governmental organisations abroad are now banned from discussing abortion.

It has been reinstated and scrapped many times since it was first created by Reagan in 1984.

Read the Full Text

January 24: Memoranda on The Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Keystone XL Pipeline

President Trump signed three different memorandums surrounding oil and gas pipelines.

The first two tell agencies to immediately review and approve construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline. The latter requires all pipeline materials be built in the US.

The Dakota Access Pipeline in particular has been an ongoing stand-off, as it is being built through a Native American reservation.

Read the Dakota Text, the Keystone Text and the Pipelines Text

January 24: Executive Order on Fast Tracking ‘High Priority’ Projects

Head of agencies or governors can now request infrastructure projects to be classed as ‘high priority’.

This means they can be fast tracked for environmental review.

Read the Full Text

January 24: Memorandum on Reducing Regulations for US Manufacturing

The Secretary of Commerce was directed to reviewing federal regulations affecting American manufacturers.

The goal is to reduce them as much as possible.

Read the Full Text

January 25: Executive Order on Cutting Funding for Sanctuary Cities

Sanctuary cities follow certain procedures to protect illegal immigrants. For example, they not give funding to enforce federal immigration law.

Trump has said he will cut funding to the cities if they do not comply with the law.

Read the Full Text

January 25: Executive Order to Build a Mexico Wall

One of his key election promises, Trump solidified his commitment to building a wall between the USA and Mexico, causing tensions between the two countries to escalate.

The order also includes instructions to hire another 5,000 border patrol staff.

Read the Full Text

January 26: Proclamation of National School Choice Week

A largely ceremonial move created National School Choice Week in January.

It was aimed at encouraging school voucher programs and charter schools – though some say this weakens publicly funded ones.

Read the Full Text

January 27: Executive Order for The Travel Ban

A ban, which was later banned by a judge, on anyone from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entering the country for 90 days.

It led to widespread protests across the globe.

Read the Full Text

January 27: Memorandum on Rebuilding the Armed Forces

The Secretary of Defence was told to conduct a ‘readiness review’ of the military, and make recommendations on how to ‘rebuild’ it.

Read the Full Text

January 28: Memorandum on Defeating ISIS

President Trump pledges to create a plan to address ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well “radical Islamic terrorism”.

He says they’ll present the plan in 30 days.

Read the Full Text

January 28: Memorandum on Reforming National and Homeland Security Councils

The President removed some of the nation’s top military and intelligence advisors from committee meetings, in a move criticised by his own party.

His Chief Strategist will now be present at all meetings, while the Director of National Intelligence won’t be.

Read the Full Text

January 28: Executive Order on Agency Ethics Pledges

The order means those appointed to an executive agency will now have to sign an ethics pledge saying they’ll never lobby a foreign government.

They’re also barred for doing any other lobbying for five years after leaving Government.

Read the Full Text

January 30: Executive Order on One in, Two Out

In an effort to cut down on regulation, the President says for every new piece of legislation proposed, two put be put forward to repeal.

It also says no money can be spent on new regulations.

Read the Full Text

February 2: Proclamation of American Heart Month

This follows a request from Congress in 1963 for presidents to annually declare February American Heart Month.

It aims to remember those who have died from heart disease, as well as improve prevention, detection, and treatment.

Read the Full Text

February 3: Executive Order and Memorandum on Financial Regulation

The executive order sets out a series of ‘Core Principles’. These include preventing regulations on Wall Street, empowering Americans to make their own financial decisions and preventing taxpayer funded bailouts.

It also ordered a review of current legislations to see if they fit these principles.

The memorandum specifically looks at the fiduciary rule. Due to come into force in April, it was introduced by Obama to protect people from conflicting advice from advisers on their retirement money.

Trump’s team will now be looking at if it fits with his ‘core principles’.

Read the Order and the Memorandum.

Trump called Obama to discuss his executive orders