President Donald Trump's first months in office have been filled with a flurry of action, and he's just getting started.
The 45th president has signed 78 executive actions so far, with far-reaching effects on Americans' lives.
There are technically three types of executive actions, which each have different authority and effects, with executive orders holding the most prestige:
- 1. Executive orders are assigned numbers and published in the federal register, similar to laws passed by Congress, and typically direct members of the executive branch to follow a new policy or directive. Trump has issued 30 orders.
2. Presidential memoranda do not have to be published or numbered (though they can be), and usually delegate tasks that Congress has already assigned the president to members of the executive branch. Trump has issued 27 memoranda.
3. Finally, while some proclamations — like President Abraham Lincoln's emancipation proclamation — have carried enormous weight, most are ceremonial observances of federal holidays or awareness months. Trump has issued 21 proclamations.
Scholars have typically used the number of executive orders per term to measure how much presidents have exercised their power. George Washington only signed eight his entire time in office, according to the American Presidency Project, while FDR penned over 3,700.
In his two terms, President Barack Obama issued 277 executive orders, a total number on par with his modern predecessors, but the lowest per year average (35) in 120 years. Trump, so far, has signed 30 executive orders in 99 days.
Here's a quick guide to the executive actions Trump has made so far, what they do, and how Americans have reacted to them:
Executive Order, April 29: Renegotiating trade agreements
Trump greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House on February 13, 2017.Reuters/Carlos Barria
In his last order on his 100th day in office, Trump started making moves to fulfill one of his top campaign promises, directing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to review all the US's trade agreements.
If a deal "harms the United States economy, United States businesses, United States intellectual property rights and innovation rate, or the American people," the Trump administration will renegotiate it, the order says.
In the days leading up to the order, rumors swirled that Trump was going to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada, and Mexico. But he said he spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and decided to renegotiate the trade deal that has existed since 1993 instead of completely abandoning it.
Corporate America reportedly went into "all hands on deck" mode to save NAFTA, having their CEOs call the highest-ranking Trump administration officials they could reach. Members of Trump's Cabinet and the Republican party are split on whether it's a "bad deal" or not. Democrats generally want to keep US trade agreement in place.
Executive Order, April 29: The Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy
Trump signs an Executive Order on the Establishment of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at The AMES Companies, Inc., in Harrisburg, Pa., Saturday, April, 29, 2017.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
This order, also signed on the 100th day, established the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, with the goals of stimulating manufacturing in the US, decreasing the trade deficit, and propose policies to create jobs and boost the economy.
Trump appointed National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro to lead the new office, which will act as a liaison between the White House and the Department of Commerce. After the announcement, Navarro told NPR he wants the US to renegotiate trade agreements like NAFTA, and get US factory jobs back — two promises Trump made repeatedly on the campaign trail.
Economic experts warn that trade policies Trump and Navarro have proposed could spark a trade war, and that considerably more American manufacturing jobs have disappeared because of automation, not trade agreements.