WASHINGTON: Donald Trump began his presidency with a series of seismic policy interventions, starting with the repeal of Barack Obama’s healthcare policies, initiating a new US missile defence system and ushering in a new period of American protectionism.
The 45th President of the United States, who was sworn into office on Friday, began his four-year term of office with a series of executive orders that will set the tone for his government. It was, he said, a government that would “put only America first”.
The new President, before attending a series of inaugural balls around Washington DC, signed an executive order aimed at trying to fulfil one of his most impassioned campaign promises; repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the Obamacare.
The order allows the Health and Human Services Department and other federal agencies to delay implementing any piece of the law that might impose any economic cost.
Using similar orders, Trump also signed into law a new national day of patriotism and signalled plans to build a new missile defence system to protect against perceived threats from Iran and North Korea.
The Trump White House stripped the official website of all mention of Obama’s key policy agendas, including climate change and LGBT rights along with the civil rights history section.
The various subsections of the White House website were replaced with just six; energy, foreign policy, jobs and growth, military, law enforcement and trade deals.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, in the US and around the world were set to join marches on Saturday to raise awareness of women’s rights and other civil rights they fear could be under threat under Trump’s presidency.
Millions of others will follow suit in cities across the US and across the world. Marches in Australia and New Zealand have already taken place.
There are also more than 600 “sister marches” planned around the country, with some of the biggest expected in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
And women and men in cities around the world — including Sydney, Hong Kong, London and Paris — are also marching in solidarity and in opposition to the values they think President Trump represents.
The Women’s March on Washington, which will be held near Capitol Hill on Saturday, comes on the heels of a slew of protests there on Inauguration Day.
Six police officers were injured and 217 protesters were arrested on Friday, after a morning of peaceful protests and coordinated disruptions of Trump’s inauguration ceremony gave way to ugly street clashes in downtown Washington.
There will continue to be a major security presence on the city’s streets on Saturday, as the marchers gather en masse in the nation’s capital.
Leaders from around the world, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offered well wishes and congratulations to America’s new Commander in Chief.
“Best wishes in leading USA to greater achievements in the coming years,” Modi wrote on Twitter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also was expected to speak to Trump by phone in the coming days, the Kremlin said.
A meeting between the two leaders will possibly be held in the coming months, rather than coming weeks, said the spokesman, adding that the specific date is expected to be discussed during the phone conversation.
Pope Francis also sent Trump a message of “cordial good wishes” on his inauguration.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a statement extending his “heartfelt congratulations” to Trump.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered his congratulations to Trump in a statement.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson offered his congratulations in the form of a tweet.
“Congratulations to @realDonaldTrump @POTUS on his presidential inauguration day. Look forward to continuing strong UK – US bond,” Johnson tweeted.
The Mexico’s current President Enrique Peña Nieto took to Twitter to congratulate Trump. “I congratulate President @realDonaldTrump on taking office. We will work to strengthen our relationship with shared responsibility,” Peña Nieto tweeted in Spanish.
Meanwhile, as Trump took over as POTUS, Michelle and Barack Obama left the White House with the highest ratings ever, they unveiled The Obama Foundation, that aims to facilitate projects “all over the city, the country and the world”.
In a video, the Obamas asked viewers to help shape the Foundation by contributing suggestions via the site’s “Your Voice” section.
The new website, Obama.org. was created by the Obama Foundation, which is overseeing the creation of the Barack Obama Presidential Centre in Chicago, and its stated mission is to provide a forum for those looking to work with the Centre to improve the lives of American citizens.
The Obamas are in Palm Springs, California, for a vacation, they plan to continue living in Washington while their younger daughter Sasha completes secondary school.