Trump begins presidency; uncertainty abounds


President Donald Trump speaks at his inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 – Courtesy of

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence officially took the oath of office on Jan. 20.

The week preceding President Trump’s inauguration was filled with dinners with Trump’s cabinet picks, congressional leaders, foreign diplomats, a few top donors and a public concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

The group planning the inaugural festivities said it raised more than $100 million, which is nearly double the record for an inauguration, with much of it coming in six- and seven-figure checks from America’s corporate giants. The funds covered all non-official inaugural celebrations. A spokesperson for the group, Boris Epshteyn, said any leftover money will be donated to charity.

During his inauguration speech, President Trump told America, “e are not merely transferring power from one administration to another … we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to the American people” and promised to “make America great again.”

While some celebrated Trump’s victory, groups like the Hawai‘i J20, a grassroots environmental and human rights organization, held public teach-ins at the UH Mānoa where faculty from at least a half-dozen departments including American studies, biology, political studies and sociology spoke of the negative impacts of the Trump administration.

The teach-ins were followed by three different marches where thousands of protesters chanted “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” across Honolulu and which converged into one march at Waikīkī Gateway Park and continued to Trump’s International Hotel Waikīkī. The day ended with a free concert at the Waikīkī Shell with musical performances by Makana, Taimane, Kenneth Makuakāne and more.

The state of Hawai‘i also participated in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and was represented by Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui and O‘ahu. In Honolulu, more than an estimated 10,000 marchers rallied at the State Capitol where they raised their voices in support of policies, programs and laws that empower women and strengthen communities.

Last October, Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pa. and released his agenda for his first 100 days in office. “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter” is an unofficial contract between Trump and the American voter that “will begin restoring honesty and accountability, and bring change to Washington.”

“On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities and honesty to our government,” said Trump of his plan. “This is my pledge to you. And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government of, by and for the people.”

Below are highlights from the 100-day action plan with annotations.


Participants at the O‘ahu Women’s March chanted and waved signs as they marched around the Hawai‘i State Capitol on Jan. 21 – Photo by Deborah Higa

Clean-up on Washington:

Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “it will not be on the agenda in the Senate” and that “we have term limits now – they’re called elections.” Since the president does not have a constitutional role in the amendment process this is not likely to happen without Senate leadership on board.

A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

Reducing the number of federal regulations is an unending fight for Republicans in Congress and conservative groups. The competitive Enterprise Institute, which tracks the number of pages in the Federal Register (a record of all federal laws), reports it is up to 79,380 pages for the year, the 5th highest number of pages.

A five-year ban on White House and congressional officials (The White House ban) becoming lobbyists after they leave government services.

Trump wants Congress to pass legislation to enact the White House ban into law so it can’t be reversed by future presidents. Trump also called on Congress to institute its own ban to prohibit lawmakers and their staff from lobbying for five years.


Restoring security and the constitutional rule of law:

I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.

The agreement, approved by Congress more than two decades ago, ties together the economies of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Changing it would hurt many U.S. businesses and farmers that have well-established supply chains and distribution systems based on it.

I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.

Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

The federal government does not give billions of dollars to the U.N. for climate work. The U.S. gives about $10 million a year to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), created in 1992 under a global treaty signed by President George W. Bush. Some of the money helps support the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific organization that collects research on climate and advises the UNFCCC.


Protecting the American worker:

I will cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.

It is unclear how President Trump defines unconstitutional.

Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Sanctuary cities are American cities that have policies protecting immigrants in the country illegally from federal immigration law. A few of these cities are Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Austin, Texas.

Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.

Trump has vowed to expand the definition of “criminal alien,” for example, to include immigrants in the U.S. illegally who are convicted of drunken driving.

Trump also laid out his plan for working with Congress to introduce 10 pieces of legislation including the Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act, the Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act, the End Illegal Immigration Act, the Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act and more.

Within the first 72 hours in office, President Trump has signed three presidential directives: withdrawing U.S. support for a Pacific trade deal, imposing a hiring freeze in civilian agencies and restoring and expanding the so-called Mexico City policy that prohibits U.S. aid from supporting international groups that promote abortion.

For more information on President Trump’s “100-day Action Plan to Make America Great Again,” visit


by Deborah Higa, Ka ‘Ohana Co-Editor in Chief