Trump's 1st Month: Rapid-fire executive actions, Donald diplomacy – and controversy

President Trump claimed at his marathon press conference Thursday that his administration is running like a “fine-tuned machine” and has made “incredible progress” since the inauguration.

“I don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done,” Trump said.

It’s a difficult assertion to fact-check, as the records of 44 other presidents’ first month on the job are all unique in their own right. But Trump’s first four weeks have been undeniably active, as he’s kept his commitment to disrupt the D.C. establishment.


To date, Trump has: Signed 24 executive actions spanning everything from the economy to national security; signed five bills; nominated a Supreme Court justice; and held numerous phone calls and meetings with foreign leaders. Some congressional conservatives are starting to get anxious about the slow pace of moving bigger legislation – like an ObamaCare repeal – but Trump is vowing big action in the weeks ahead.

Here’s a look back at the first four weeks of the Trump era:


Jan. 20: Trump took the oath of office declaring, “From this moment on, it's going to be America first.” As one of his opening acts, he signed an order directing federal agencies to ease “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare.

Jan. 21: Amid burgeoning controversy over leaks surrounding the Russia hacking controversy, Trump visited CIA headquarters and vowed to destroy the Islamic State. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer kicked off his tenure on a contentious note, delivering a scathing statement to the press about inauguration coverage and declaring: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. That's what you guys should be writing and covering.” Some of his factual claims that day were later shown to be incorrect.

Jan. 23: This was billed by Trump’s team as the first full day of work at the White House. The president signed three executive actions including a federal hiring freeze and a directive to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Jan. 24: Trump signed five more executive actions: Two revived the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines; another sped up environmental reviews of other infrastructure projects.

Jan. 25: The so-called “Trump Bump” hit new heights. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 for the first time. Two new executive orders on immigration also were signed. The first called for hiring 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and pulling federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities; the other called for the construction of a southern border wall. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the wall would be built in two years, though the timeline remains unclear. As Trump ordered the wall, the Mexican president canceled a trip to the United States scheduled for the following week.

Jan. 27: Trump spoke with the Mexican president by phone, apparently in hopes of smoothing over tensions. Both men said the call went well, though before Trump picked up the phone, he tweeted: "Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!"

Later that day, the president signed what would be his most controversial executive order, temporarily halting the refugee program and imposing a travel ban for residents of seven mostly Muslim countries originally identified as “countries of concern” by the Obama administration: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order would soon be put on hold by the courts, after a rollout that initially caused confusion at airports around the world. The same day, Trump hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said the visit further strengthened the special relationship between Britain and America.


Jan. 28: Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Pentagon to come up with a plan in 30 days to defeat ISIS. Another memo moved White House adviser Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, prompting bipartisan complaints. The same day, Trump reportedly criticized the Australian prime minister during a contentious phone call focusing on a refugee agreement. Trump reportedly boasted about his Electoral College win and then hung up, though he later claimed it was a genial call.

Jan. 30: Trump, who during the campaign promised to try cutting 75 percent of government rules and regulations, signed the “2-for-1” order, which required agencies to nix two regulations for every new rule they want to issue. The same day, 900 State Department employees circulated a “memo of dissent” that opposed Trump’s travel ban. Trump tweeted: “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!”

Jan. 31: Trump nominated federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, choosing a jurist widely seen by conservatives as a fitting successor to the late Antonin Scalia.

Feb. 3: The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on nearly two-dozen individuals and companies in response to Iranian ballistic missile tests. This, in the wake of then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s brief appearance in the White House press room where he put Tehran “officially on notice.” The same day, U.S. District Judge James Robert, a George W. Bush appointee, granted a temporary restraining order against the travel ban.


Feb. 7: School-choice advocate Betsy DeVos was confirmed as secretary of Education, in a historically close vote. Vice President Pence had to attend to cast a tie-breaking vote in his capacity as president of the Senate.

Feb. 9: A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled against the Trump administration on the travel ban. Trump tweeted in response: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” Meanwhile, news reports emerged that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador – raising the possibility that Flynn had misled Pence on that point.


Feb. 13: Flynn resigned, apparently at Trump’s request, after the White House concluded he misled Pence and other officials regarding his contacts with Russia. Amid the controversy, the administration and allied Republicans drew attention to the leaks that fueled the reports on Flynn and others. Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”

Feb. 14: Trump signed his first major bill, eliminating a controversial rule requiring oil and gas companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.

Feb. 15: Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He touted the prospects for a “great peace deal” in the Middle East while publicly prodding Netanyahu on Israel settlement building. Meanwhile, facing bipartisan pressure over a messy divorce as well as his fast food chain’s treatment of workers, Trump’s nominee for Labor secretary Andrew Puzder withdrew from consideration.

Feb. 16: Amid damaging leaks and controversy surrounding his team, Trump held an extraordinary press conference that lasted more than 75 minutes during which he chastised the media and defended his administration’s work. He again called the Russia narrative “fake news” and said some in the media are covering him with a tone of “hatred.” The president also signed legislation ending a key Obama administration regulation meant to protect streams near coal mines. Trump called it a “job-killing rule.”