President Donald Trump announced a series of executive actions Monday focused on trade and the federal workforce, making good on a pair of his core campaign promises. The actions, signed Monday at the White House, implement a federal employee hiring freeze, formally withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and reinstate a GOP-backed policy regarding foreign aid and abortion funding.
A memorandum outlining the federal hiring freeze states that “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.”
Trump’s action to nix the TPP trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries also fulfilled one of his most consistent campaign promises from the 2016 election. The trade agreement, backed by the Obama administration as part of a pivot toward strengthening economic ties with Asian nations, earned criticism from both Trump and his Democratic foe, Hillary Clinton, during their protracted general election fight. But pro-business groups and many of Trump’s Republican allies have voiced support for the deal. Ultimately, the deal was never ratified by Congress and was unlikely to pass.
In a statement, Republican Sen. John McCain called Trump’s move “a serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primaries, applauded the move. The lawmaker has long been critical of international trade deals he views as harmful to American workers.