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The flood of executive directives flowing from the White House — or from other photogenic signing spots — was a notable part of President Donald Trump’s first week in office.
There will be plenty to analyze as the administration continues — many more such directives have been promised, and rumored. But a preliminary primer seems in order.
Some of the actions taken would have been tempting to any president — for instance, the freeze on the prior administration’s regulatory agenda. Others have been partisan constants — such as the renewal of the so-called Mexico City Policy, called by its opponents the “global gag rule.”
Most, though, have checked off President Trump’s most salient campaign promises — complete with press release-friendly “purpose” sections making extravagant claims not usually found in executive orders. “Sanctuary jurisdictions,” for example, are said to “have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.” The order cracking down on refugees starts with three long paragraphs seeking to blame the 9/11 attacks on the visa process. And crafting an emergency budget amendment for military readiness does not require a formal signing ceremony — a phone call to the Office of Management and Budget would do the trick.