World

Trump seeks support during first week in office

WASHINGTON As US President Donald Trump embarks on his first full week in office, he will try to steady the ship, seeking support from lawmakers, business leaders and unions at the White House.

Since he was sworn in on Friday, the 45th US President's White House has been pilloried for lying to the public about crowds at the inauguration, and Mr Trump himself has been slammed for making a campaign-style speech before a memorial to fallen CIA officers.

Some two million Americans joined women-led demonstrations on the streets on Saturday in a scale unseen in a generation.

"Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly," Mr Trump tweeted angrily on Sunday morning.

An hour later, adopting a more conciliatory tone, he noted that "peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy".

"Even if I don't always agree, I recognise the rights of people to express their views," he said.

Mr Trump's aides said the next week will see a steady, if not daily, drip of executive actions designed to get back to his agenda.

There have already been moves to roll back former president Barack Obama's healthcare reforms and freeze some regulations in the pipeline.

Mr Trump also vowed to start re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

But reality has bitten. A pledge to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been put on the back burner for now.

A Washington group of lawyers and researchers also plan to file a federal lawsuit against Mr Trump, alleging that he is violating a constitutional ban on accepting payments from foreign governments.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Mr Trump was in violation of the Constitution because his business properties abroad operate partly based on goodwill from foreign governments and regulators.

A petition on Whitehouse.gov demanding that the billionaire immediately release his tax returns passed 100,000 signatures, the threshold at which the White House is supposed to respond within 30 days.Mr Trump's approval rating is around 40 per cent, according to the RealClearPolitics average, which is low for a president just starting out.

That could make legislators think twice about toeing the line with an unpopular leader.

But Mr Trump's bareknuckle style has also kept dissent in check, with some terrified that they will become the target of a presidential tweet that sets off a world of political pain. 
- AFP

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