Trump hasn’t rolled back Obama’s executive orders (so far)

The White House says it won’t revoke former President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive order prohibiting workplace discrimination among federal contractors based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The statement, made last week, was issued to address rumors that the Trump administration was drafting a “religious freedom” executive order that might curtail LGBTQ rights. The announcement was surprising in at least one sense: Trump had pledged to target Obama’s executive actions. It’s a promise he made throughout the campaign, including in January of last year in Burlington, Vermont, where he said: “[Obama] just goes along and signs executive orders for everything … because that’s easy to do. I’ll tell you, the one good thing about an executive order is that the new president [can] come and with just a signature, they’re all gone.”

Trump is correct: Incoming presidents can undo past presidents’ executive actions by revoking them with their own executive actions. Indeed, many observers expected Trump’s first couple of weeks in office to include a raft of revocations. But that hasn’t happened. (Not yet, at least.) Revocation, especially of popular Obama actions, may be postponed, given Trump’s limited popularity. Instead, Trump has been using executive orders to act fast on his other campaign promises, seemingly eager to demonstrate that he is a man of “action and impact.”

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