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President Trump Moves to Change Obama Policies on First Day


U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner (standing, L-R), Vice President Mike Pence and Staff Secretary Rob Porter signs his first executive orders in the Oval Office Jan. 20, 2017. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

On the first day of his presidency, Donald Trump began making changes to the policies of earlier presidents.

A document released by the new Trump White House said the president would soon withdraw from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. The free trade deal was negotiated by the Obama administration.

The White House website said Trump would also work to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement known as NAFTA.

“If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA,” a White House statement said.

Neither action was a surprise. During the presidential campaign, Trump said bad trade deals had hurt employment in America.

The NAFTA agreement removed most tariffs on products traded between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The Trump administration also said it is ready to cancel what it called, “harmful and unnecessary policies." Among them is the Obama administration’s plan to reduce pollutants from coal-powered electricity plants. The climate plan was designed to cut gases that cause global warming.

Another is a clean water rule to protect small waterways and wetlands from development by the Environmental Protection Agency.

More changes will be announced in coming days, the website said.

Trump has said he wants to cancel and replace a national health care law, known as “Obamacare.”

His cabinet nominees have promised other major changes during Senate confirmation hearings.

In education, for example, there are plans to give parents more choice in selecting schools for their children, including private, religious schools.

And there has been discussion of permitting more drilling, mining and logging on federal lands.

“There is a great deal of reform coming to Washington,” said Sean Spicer, the chief spokesman for President Trump on Thursday.

After the inauguration, Trump signed papers formally nominating the people he wants to form his Cabinet. He did so surrounded by congressional leaders from both parties at the Capitol.

The nominations are now before the U.S. Senate, which must approve nominees before they can take their new jobs.

Trump also signed a proclamation declaring a National Day of Patriotism and a bill that would permit retired Marine General James Mattis to run the U.S. Defense Department.

Late Friday, the Senate voted to approve Mattis as Defense Secretary.

In his inaugural speech, Trump said he would carry out his promise to make government focus on America’s needs ahead of any others.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.”

Donald Trump takes the oath of office.
Donald Trump takes the oath of office.

Trump, a Republican, won the presidential election after a very difficult campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. He promised to change many of the policies put forward over the last eight years by Democratic President Obama.

However, in his inauguration speech, Trump, the 45th U.S. president, thanked Obama and his wife, Michelle. Trump said, “They have been magnificent” in helping him prepare to take over as president.

“It couldn’t have been easy for either man to be civil to the other after the election,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “But they were and continued to be, for the most part, to their substantial credit.”

Sabato said the United States “is still deeply divided, much more so than usual.”

“Yet imagine how much worse it could have been had No. 44 and No. 45 feuded day after day,” Sabato said.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOANews.com. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

tarrif - n. a tax on goods coming into or leaving a country

intent –n. meaning to do something

proclamation - n. the act of saying something in a public

focus - n. the subject on which people's attention is centered

reverse - v. to change to an opposite condition

substantial - adj. large in amount, size, or number

feud - v. an angry fight between two people

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