The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration hundreds of thousands of demonstrators descended on Washington, D.C., to advocate for almost every progressive cause: environmentalism, increased minimum wage, LGBT issues, abolishing the death penalty, and ending mass incarceration. The “Women’s March” seemed to unite most on two issues: Protesters liked abortion and hated the new administration.
“I didn’t come from your rib—you came from my vagina,” read one of many vulgar signs. “Abort Mike Pence,” said another.
The mass protests—which tallied more than 3 million U.S. participants across hundreds of cities—proved a harbinger of things to come. As Trump took decisive action to follow through on all his core campaign promises, liberal activists intensified calls for permanent resistance, the mainstream media devolved into hysteria, and some Democrats broke down—literally.
“This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., fighting back tears after Trump ordered a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program and all immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries with reputations as terrorist havens.
“I’m gonna ask [Schumer] who is his acting coach,” Trump said the following day. “There’s about a 5 percent chance that it was real.”
The immigration restrictions set off a wave of protests outside the White House and at airports around the country, where authorities had detained immigrants as they landed. Several judges blocked parts of the order, and acting Attorney General Sally Yates—an Obama administration holdover—instructed Department of Justice attorneys not to enforce it. Trump immediately fired her.
As in his campaign, Trump showed himself to be a news machine as president, dashing liberal hopes that he would be nothing more than an incompetent salesman. Although some Trump moves will have limited impact, they showed big changes are on the way, including seismic shifts in both domestic and foreign policy.
Trump started on the domestic front. He signed a Day One executive order permitting all federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” aspects of the Affordable Care Act that impose a “fiscal burden on any state.” Healthcare experts pegged the move as mostly symbolic, but Politico called it a “sweeping order that could gut Obamacare.”
Two days later, Trump announced he would withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a controversial trade deal still awaiting congressional approval—issued a freeze on nonmilitary federal hiring, and reinstated the Mexico City policy, a Reagan-era prohibition on taxpayer funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions. The latter order extended the policy across all global health assistance, effectively defunding the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the UN Population Fund—which has a history of participating in China’s forced abortions and received more than $300 million under Obama.
It wasn’t the only win for pro-lifers: After Trump chided the media for usually ignoring the annual March for Life, all the mainstream outlets devoted significant coverage to it—including 37 times more coverage from the major television networks, according to one estimate.