Trump lays out agenda for first 100 days
Donald Trump gave a speech near the historic Gettysburg battlefield on Saturday, laying out his plans to end corruption in government and give the voters a government "of, by, and for the people."
Touting 'the kind of change that only arrives once in a lifetime,' Trump told an audience of about 300 invited guests that he will 'drain the swamp' in Washington, replacing the current government 'with a new government of, by and for the people.'
The symbolism factor was high, with a campaign aide telling reporters Friday night that the Civil War battle in Gettysburg memorialized by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 'was the moment when the war turned.'
The Republican nominee left the podium and made a beeline in his motorcade for the National Military Park – the battlefield memorial – spending about as much time there as it took Lincoln to speak his 272 words.
Trump's own war – a two-front clash against both Hillary Clinton and the mass media – will come to a climax on November 8 when most Americans will choose a leader for the next four years.
He summed up the substance of his campaign in a 'Contract With The American Voter' – a point-by-point set of initiatives that track with the themes he has focused on for 16 months.
'It is a contract between myself and the American voter, and begins with restoring honesty, accountability and change to Washington,' Trump said.
Included are six anti-corruption pledges, seven actions related to jobs and trade and five on immigration and the 'rule of law.' He ended his contract with a list of 10 bills he said he would try to quickly shepherd through Congress.
Aides promised the Republican nominee would put more meat on the bare bones of some of his mainstay pledges, but little in the speech broke new ground.
Instead, Trump formalized his signature pledges by announcing a legislative package that he said he would help shepherd through Congress.
He also reiterated a laundry list of executive actions that he has sketched out in speeches stretching back more than a year.
Most of Trump's anti-corruption proposals are long overdue:
1. Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress
2. Hiring freeze on federal employees to reduce the workforce through attrition
3. Requirement to eliminate two federal regulations for every new one
4. Five-year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists
5. Lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying for foreign governments
6. Complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections
The heart of the Trump campaign has always been immigration. Here, his proposals are all familiar, but packaged as legislation.
1. Cancel Obama's 'unconstitutional' executive actions, memoranda and orders
2. Pick a conservative replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
3. Cancel all federal funding to 'sanctuary cities' that harbor illegal immigrants
4. Begin removing the 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the U.S., and cancel visas to countries that won’t repatriate them
5. Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where incoming people can't be properly vetted.
Most of these proposals face a tough road in Congress, even if the GOP hangs on to their majorities. But Trump will probably be able to enact at least some of his agenda via executive order, given the certainty that Democrats will look to obstruct his agenda as much as possible.
As a political testament, the proposals are sound - even inspiring. But passing legislation in a Congress that is at least half hostile to his agenda will be a challenge that no one expects Trump to overcome.