Just moments after President Donald Trump took the oath of office Friday, the official White House website was transformed into a set of policy pledges offering the broad contours of the Trump administration’s top priorities — including fierce support for law enforcement and gun owners’ rights to defend themselves, the seeming immediate elimination of the White House’s policy page on climate change and a notable absence of any directives involving President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
“Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter,” reads the law and order section, which calls for “more law enforcement” and “more effective policing.” “Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.”
The issues page of Trump’s White House offered no new plans or policies but rather a rehash of many of his most prominent campaign promises — a signal to the nation that Trump, more pragmatic than ideological, plans to implement at least the key guideposts of his campaign vision.
His policies included plans to both withdraw from and renegotiate major trade deals, grow the nation’s military and increase cyber-security capabilities, build a wall at the nation’s southern border and deport undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes.
Strikingly absent from the six issues the website highlights — and from his speech Friday — was anything on repealing or replacing Obamacare. The issue was a defining feature of his campaign, and aides have signaled he may begin the process of undoing the law in a series of executive actions he hopes to sign in the early days of his presidency.
Nor did Trump mention health care among a set of goals he articulated in his inaugural speech’s pledge to end what he termed “American carnage” and improve the fabric of life for the nation’s citizens. The closest he came was to include among his scientific aspirations “to free the Earth from the miseries of disease.”
During his campaign and afterward, Trump pledged that fundamental changes to the health-care system would be a first priority. In a speech outside Philadelphia six days before the November election, Trump vowed to abolish the Affordable Care Act before he was sworn in. “Have to do it,” he said. “I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace.”
Last week, both chambers of Congress approved a budget resolution that was the first legislative step toward repealing the 2010 law, which was the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health policies.
But health care was not among a half-dozen issue areas listed on the new WhiteHouse.gov website that debuted shortly after noon on Friday.
Similarly, the climate change web page that existed under Obama seemed to have been immediately scrubbed, with no mention of climate change under Trump’s energy plan.
Instead, he vowed to eliminate “harmful and unnecessary policies” such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule. The first represents a variety of efforts President Obama pursued to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while the second is a rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect not only the largest waterways but smaller tributaries that others believe should fall under the jurisdiction of states rather than the federal government.
The initial Trump website also did not devote a separate section to immigration, another central tenet of his candidacy, though it mentioned immigration under the law enforcement section. Despite rumors among the immigration advocacy community that one of Trump’s initial executive actions could be to revoke Obama’s protections for the so-called Dreamers, those undocumented immigrants brought to the country as young children, his website so far focused only on big-picture enforcement and security goals.
“He is dedicated to enforcing our border laws, ending sanctuary cities, and stemming the tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration,” read part of the immigration section.
The new administration’s language echoed Trump’s tough rhetoric on the campaign trail, including his promises to strengthen the law enforcement community, crack down on he views as a broad range of trade violations and potentially forge alliances with countries long considered dangerous rivals, like Russia.
“Finally, in pursuing a foreign policy based on American interests, we will embrace diplomacy,” reads part of Trump’s policy vision. “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.”
Amy Goldstein and Steven Mufson contributed to this report.