Welcome to TrumpBeat, FiveThirtyEight’s new weekly feature looking at how developments in Washington affect people in the real world. We’re still experimenting with the format, so tell us what you think. Email us or drop a note in the comments.
Donald Trump’s campaign for president was notably light on policy details, which meant no one was sure what he’d do once he took office. Washington insiders debated whether he would govern as the populist bomb thrower he presented during the campaign or morph into a more conventional Republican, in policy if not in style. Some liberals allowed themselves to hope that Trump, with his New York background and his once-cozy relationship with the Clintons, would prove more progressive than he let on during the campaign. Even some supporters said they weren’t sure Trump meant many of his more extreme promises.
If there is one takeaway from Trump’s first full week in office, it is this: He meant it.
Hours after being sworn in as president last week, Trump signed an executive order that sought to weaken the Affordable Care Act. He followed that up this week with executive actions on abortion, immigration, trade and other issues. And there is probably more to come: Several news organizations this week reported on leaked drafts of executive orders on immigration and CIA “black site” prisons.
The practical implications of Trump’s actions aren’t yet clear. Many will face legal challenges and opposition from cities, states and advocacy groups. And in some cases, the executive orders themselves leave major questions unanswered. But taken together, Trump’s actions in his first week leave little doubt that he plans to take the same aggressive approach to governing that he did to campaigning.
Here are some of the major policy developments from the past week: