Trump’s Pledge of Quick Action Slowed by Cabinet-in-Waiting – Bloomberg
President Donald Trump vowed to bring swift change to Washington in a fiery inaugural address, yet that promise is colliding with the reality that only two members of his Cabinet cleared the Senate by the end of his first day in office.
Unlike his predecessors Barack Obama and George W. Bush — who each had seven of their cabinet members confirmed on Inauguration Day — Trump saw votes only for Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Other nominees are held up by paperwork delays and partisan fights in the Senate.
A Trump trip to the CIA’s headquarters that aides said would happen Saturday had not been announced as of late Friday, after his nominee to head the agency, Representative Mike Pompeo, didn’t get a confirmation vote. Trump is trying to repair relations with the spy agency after openly questioning its conclusion that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic officials’ e-mail accounts during the campaign.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on Trump’s secretary of state nominee, former Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, on Monday. A Republican on the panel, Florida’s Marco Rubio, has expressed misgivings about Tillerson’s ties to Russia and hasn’t said whether he’ll vote for him.
His nominees for attorney general, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Education secretary all will receive committee votes on Tuesday.
Representative Tom Price, his choice to lead Health and Human Services — and a key official in any Obamacare repeal — won’t receive a confirmation hearing until Tuesday. Democrats have raised concerns about stock trades Price made while in Congress and the timing for votes on his nomination is uncertain.
That is helping to slow repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a central Trump campaign pledge. Some Republican lawmakers are also balking at changes that may lead to many Americans losing their insurance coverage.
Even so, six hours after taking the oath of office Trump made clear he wouldn’t wait to act on top priorities. He signed an order Friday declaring his intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instructing federal agencies to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the 2010 health-care law.
Enrollment for insurance plans sold under the Affordable Care Act for 2017 closes at the end of this month.
Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, issued a memorandum to federal agencies freezing new regulations. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, issued a similar order when he first took office, but Trump has promised to repeal two regulations for every new one he issues.
Trump opened his presidency with a combative inaugural address aimed at his populist political base and by painting a dire portrait of the nation’s circumstances: a place of violent “American carnage” where “rusted-out factories” are “scattered like tombstones” and the middle class’s wealth is “ripped from their homes.”
He promised an unapologetic nationalism of “only America first, America first.”
In the evening, Trump and his wife, Melania, began a round of three inaugural balls. He struck a softer tone in remarks at the Liberty ball, before dancing on stage with Melania to a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
“People that weren’t so nice to me were saying we did a really good job today,” Trump said. “You’re going to be so happy. We want to make America great again. We’re not going to be playing games. We’re going to be producing results.”
The new president enters office with historically low approval ratings — 40 percent according to Gallup. He and his party in Congress already are at odds, especially on the issue of the Russian government’s role in electing him. Financial markets, which soared immediately following his election, have recently cooled.
Trump’s confrontational tone was echoed by tensions in the streets of Washington and protest marches that erupted in sporadic violence. At least 217 protesters were arrested and six police officers sustained minor injuries, according to local officials. Windows were shattered at a McDonald’s Corp. restaurant, a Starbucks Corp. coffee shop, and several office buildings and a limousine was set on fire outside the Washington Post’s headquarters.
The protests are expected to continue today during the Women’s March on Washington. Organizers said they expect the event to attract up to 200,000 people to the capital.
Trump plans to begin his first full day as president with a customary inaugural prayer service at the National Cathedral. Twenty-six religious leaders, primarily representing different Christian denominations, are scheduled to attend. Islamic, Jewish, and Navajo religious leaders also are to participate.
(A previous version of this story was corrected to show Obama and Bush were predecessors.)