President-elect Donald Trump released a video message on YouTube, expanding on a technique first used by President Barack Obama of going around the media to speak directly to Americans. He listed some of his plans for his first days in office but didn’t mention education.
“My agenda will be based on a simple core principle: putting America first,” he said. “Whether it’s producing steel, building cars, or curing disease, I want the next generation of production and innovation to happen right here, on our great homeland, America, creating wealth and jobs for American workers.”
To accomplish that, he said he had asked his transition team to develop a set of executive actions he could take “on day one to restore our laws and bring back our jobs.” His video included several distinct calls for action, many of which had already been announced either during the campaign or the transition period.
- On trade, he said he would issue a notification of our intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He said he would replace this by negotiating fair and bilateral trade deals that bring jobs back to America.
- For energy, he said he “will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs.”
- On national security, he’ll ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Department of Defense to develop a plan to safeguard America’s infrastructure from cyberattacks and “all other form of attacks.”
- On immigration, “I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”
- He will impose a five-year ban on lobbying by former executive branch workers and a lifetime ban on those officials ever lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
He promised more updates during the transition period, “as we work together to make America great again for everyone, and I mean everyone.”
This language is perhaps some of the most hopeful yet in terms of representing all Americans, including women, children, Mexican- and Asian-Americans, blacks, Christians, Muslims, and white men who have a college degree and those who don’t. He didn’t say that specifically, but he was emphatic in his delivery of the word “everyone,” saying it twice.
It is also hopeful that he mentioned curing disease among the many ways America can innovate. This will require both strong partnerships with scientists and doctors in foreign countries and innovative thinkers who are well educated in the STEM disciplines at home. And in his reference to building cars and making steel is an oblique reference to careers that are supported both by STEM and by CTE programs in our high schools, known as career and technical education.
He did not mention his campaign promises to build a wall along the border with Mexico or his desire to deport immigrants who are here illegally. But his speech was brief, and those plans may still be in the works. He also made no mention of ending President Obama’s executive order to grant work permits to immigrants who were brought here illegally as children, known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
He also did not mention Obamacare changes he would like to see or any plans to track Muslims who are living in the US, despite his talk about these ideas during his campaign. These are complicated ideas that would involve complex interactions between many agencies in the government. Because of the complexity of these ideas, we can’t be sure whether he’s still working on them with his transition team or they’ve been discarded as harmful to Americans.
Nor did Mr Trump mention any work his team would do to revise the tax code or the Iran nuclear deal, both of which were central to his election.
We’ll keep posted during the coming days, as Mr Trump appears to be doing a good job of avoiding the media. (This is really the first time the public has heard from him since his election, other than the one interview he gave for “60 Minutes” with his family present.)