US President Donald Trump's White House describes policy priorities on trade, foreign policy, and the economy

 
Jasper Jolly
President Donald Trump Confirms Defense Secretary James Mattis
Donald Trump has started executive actions as US President (Source: Getty)

Donald Trump’s team have taken over the levers of power, with the new President looking to reshape Washington politics in his image.

Among the first actions once Trump was sworn in was taking control over the official White House website, where his team have given some signs of their priorities in office.

While Trump has continued to use his personal Twitter account to document the inauguration ceremony and celebrations afterwards, he has also set in motion some of the policies he promised on the campaign trail.

One of the very first was an executive order for healthcare agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay the implementation of" policies related to the Affordable Care Act. Colloquially known as Obamacare, it currently provides health insurance to many American citizens who were not previously covered.

Read more: Donald Trump as US President: The world reacts

The new website boasts six more overlapping “top issues”.

Energy and climate change

Top of the bill is a change which offers a complete repudiation of one of Barack Obama’s signature achievements as President: an “America First Energy Plan”.

Trump has railed against energy policy which shuts down carbon emissions-heavy mining, particularly for coal. He has promised to bring back jobs in places such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania where the decline in the coal industry has left some towns with high unemployment and few job prospects.

He also wants to drill for the “estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves” in the US, according to the White House site.

The section on climate change has been completely removed from the site. The only reference to the climate in Trump’s energy plan is his desire to repeal the Climate Action Plan. Trump previously tweeted that climate change was a “hoax” invented by China.

Foreign policy

Part of the motivation for the fossil fuels plan is to reduce the US’s reliance on foreign countries (via imported energy). So it goes for foreign relations in general, with an “America First Foreign Policy”.

Destroying Isis will be the “highest priority” for Trump, with the possibility of coalitions mentioned. This may open the door for greater cooperation with Russia, which has been active in supporting the Syrian regime in fighting against Isis as well as other rebels.

This will be achieved by an expanded military. The White House site says he will “rebuild” it while increasing the support for veterans. He has also promised a new missile defence system to protect against North Korea and Iran.

Trade

Renegotiating trade deals that allegedly harm US interests was another of Trump’s signature promises. His experience as a businessman will make him a stronger negotiator, he says.

The site promises to “return millions of jobs to America’s shores” by renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico and identifying “trade violations”.

The latter could be a reference to China, which Trump accused of using currency manipulation to undermine US manufacturing.

Jobs and growth

Investors have been keenly listening out for signs of Trump’s economic policies. Promises of massive infrastructure spending and tax cuts prompted a massive sell-off in bonds as money poured into stocks.

So far there is little sign of more detail on how this will be achieved, but Trump has committed to a “bold plan to create 25 million new American jobs in the next decade and return to four per cent annual economic growth”.

Economists doubt this will be possible without inflation increasing markedly in an economy close to full employment. Large corporate and individual tax cuts are promised, but there is no more detail at this point.

Likewise he has promised to identify “job-killing” regulations, without specifying which ones will go.

Law enforcement

Trump is keen to identify himself as a law and order President. He has vowed to end the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere” and to stop efforts to control guns at “every level of the judicial system”.

This may be a reference to his Supreme Court nomination, which would allow him to appoint a conservative to the currently empty seat.

And this section reiterates one of his most infamous policies: to build a border wall with Mexico.

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