Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The first 30 days of a president, compared

 

Analyzing the 30-day benchmark of a president’s term in office can help visualize how his administration may function for the next four years. President Biden has already set a dramatically different tone in his first 30 days compared to former President Donald Trump, who spent his first month in office quite differently.

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Although the first 30 days may seem inconsequential compared to four or possibly eight years, the first 30 days of a president are packed with major decision-making that dictates the future of the country, sets the tone for the nation, and serves a glimpse into what their term may be like.

Some presidents have used their first month in office to enact executive decisions, while others use it to address the public in times of uncertainty or mourning. A president’s first 100 days in office became a significant time frame to monitor in the last century, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who coined the term “First 100 days” in 1933. However, because the last two decades have been filled with periods of unrest and turbulence, each former president has used their first 30 days to define their administrations quickly.

When Joseph R. Biden was sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2021, he wasted no time passing executive actions and memorandums in his first days in office. He has followed that up by signing 41 executive orders as well as pushing a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that has managed to pass the floor without Republican support.

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It is not uncommon for an acting president to reverse a former president’s executive orders.

“I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” the president stated when speaking on his signed orders. Biden addressed the public from the Oval Office on Feb. 2, 2021, making his intention clear about removing former President Trump’s administrative legacy.

Jodi Balma, a political science professor at Fullerton College, mentions in an interview that “It is not unheard of for a president to sort of leave ‘trash’ behind. Bill Clinton did it to George W. Bush where Bill Clinton had been president for 8 years.” President Clinton was rushing towards the end of his term to sign executive orders, but when President Bush entered office he quickly reversed those decisions.

During Biden’s first month in office, he spent time comforting the public while also cleaning house by countering former President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and climate change.

When Trump was on the campaign trail, he laid out a 100-day action plan in October 2016. He labeled it “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter” which outlined plans to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions,” repeal the Affordable Care Act and lift restrictions on the keystone pipeline, among others.

During his first day in office in 2017, Trump signed an executive order that waived certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act and another that froze pending regulations. Trump went onto sign three more executive orders altering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, freezing certain federal hiring (military excluded in certain situations) and barring federal funds going to international abortion groups.

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During Trump’s first month in office, he signed 23 executive actions that fell in line with his campaign promises. These executive orders helped Trump undo former President Obama’s signed orders. At the time, these could be deemed small steps in the right direction for his administration by his base. However, Washington D.C. was the epicenter of protest and marches demonstrating discontent with the president and his actions. These manifestations across the country became known as the Women’s March. Trump responded through social media with several passive-aggressive tweets condemning then encouraging the protest.

This type of response would turn out to be a common theme during Trump’s presidency. He went on to use Twitter 168 times in his first month in office to voice his opinions and rally his supporters. It is almost an abstract alternative version of Roosevelt’s fireside chats he commonly used during his time in office to address the public—Trump used his voice to create hysteria and division amongst the public.

Trump’s first 30 days was a tango of two steps forward and one step backward —although he was going in the right direction in regards to his action plan, it was not as smooth as he made it seem. In his first hectic month in office, he was focused on trying to deliver the campaign promises he said he would deliver.

Before Trump entered the White House, President Obama was in office for eight years. His first 30 days saw 14 laws passed compared to Trump’s 29 signed. Obama’s contained more words than Trump’s, though, and this could give some insight into what types of bills they were and the impact they have.

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Obama inherited a crippled economy and immediately began a campaign to garner support for his economic stimulus package. He was successful and it passed in the House Jan. 28, 2009 and in the Senate on Feb. 10. Obama also signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which improved and protected workers against wage discrimination. This would be the first legislation signed by the Obama Administration. Obama kept the same stance as Bush and vowed to get troops out of the Middle East.

The landmark differences between the legislation passed by Trump and Obama are black and white. Trump was unable to pass some of his ambitious policies compared to Obama who among others was able to pass his legislation that expanded the state children’s health insurance program.

When Bush took office on Jan. 20, 2001 he introduced a $1.6 trillion tax-cutting program he also got himself and his successors a raise in presidential salary to $400,000. Bush instated the New Freedom Initiative which aided disabled Americans. Bush’s first month in office was filled with controversy as he found out an FBI agent may have been a Russian informant for years. Far from uneventful, Bush’s first month in office was overshadowed by the events of 9/11 and its aftermath.

During President Biden’s inaugural speech he called for an end to this “uncivil war” among Americans, which closely echoed Abraham Lincoln’s address to the nation 160 years ago on the eve of the civil war. Balma believes this is good for the nation, “He called it an uncivil war, which is what we are. A polarized nation. And wanting to get people to agree is not a terrible idea.”

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