Week 2: Foreign Leaders and Executive Orders

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President Trump had a busy weekend. On Saturday, he spoke to Vladimir Putin by phone. They agreed to coordinate efforts to crush ISIS and other terror groups in Syria. The White House statement said it was a positive call and a significant start to improving the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. A statement released by the Kremlin said the two men discussed aspects of the Ukrainian crisis and a possible date and place for a future meeting.

Also on the agenda for Saturday were phone calls to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, French Prime Minister Hollande, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The most noteworthy of the conversations was between Trump and Merkel in which they agreed on the fundamental importance of NATO. The President had questioned its viability during his campaign.

On Sunday, Trump spoke with leaders of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and suggested the countries help build safe zones in Syria where refugees could receive humanitarian aid.

In light of President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp in Washington, he signed an executive order on Saturday that bans administration officials from lobbying the U.S. on behalf of foreign governments. This is a lifetime ban. A separate element of the order bans domestic lobbying by administration officials for five years after leaving office. Trump said they should focus on helping the American people, not thinking ahead to peddling their influence. While signing the order he joked that the advisors standing behind him–Reince Preibus, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway–had one last chance to “get out.”

Another order he signed was the restructuring of the White House National Security Council (adding Mike Pompeo, CIA Director and Steve Bannon, Senior Advisor to the group) and the Homeland Security Council. A separate action gave Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the Joint Chiefs of Staff thirty days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS.

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that will drastically ease the regulatory burden on small and large businesses. The order, called “one in, two out,” requires federal agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new one enacted. Additionally, the costs associated with new regulations cannot go up and must be offset by eliminating the costs of the two prior regulations. For fiscal 2017, the total cost of new regulations should be “no greater than zero,” according to Trump. The military, national security, and foreign affairs are exempt.

william-ryan-owens

One Killed, Four Wounded in Yemen Attack

Progress was made in the war on terror over the weekend. Navy Seal Team 6 launched a raid on al Qaeda headquarters in Yemen. Sadly, Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens was killed during the attack and four others were wounded when their helicopter made a hard landing on an aircraft carrier.

Seal Team 6 took out fourteen terrorists, which included armed women and the eight-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awaki. Al-Awaki was the cleric who preached to the 9/11 hijackers and sent the underwear bomber to blow up a jet several years ago. In 2011, al-Awaki was killed in an airstrike. It is suspected that three senior al Qaeda leaders were among those killed, and the Seals were able to grab several computer hard drives that may contain information that will help prevent future attacks.

The President released a statement expressing his “deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries,” he said.

This was Trump’s second military action. The first was a bombing raid that took place just one day after the inauguration. It was day one for Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis, who directed the 31 strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. The missions took out tactical units, headquarters, tunnels, fighting positions, vehicles, weapons, and oil well heads.

Pray for Owens’ family and the swift recovery of the wounded. Father, grant our military success and victory over the enemy. Guide our generals as they fight the war on terror, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Is. 25:8 – He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

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