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Editorial: The good and bad of Week One

The Detroit News

The best way to describe President Donald Trump’s first week in office is it unfolded, for better or worse, exactly the way he said it would.

Trump was like a house afire, moving fast pace through his campaign promises. He signed more than a dozen executive orders on matters ranging from immigration to Obamacare.

And as we expect will be the case throughout his tenure, some of the things he did we really like, and some we really don’t.

His first meetings were with business executives, a positive sign. Business has not had a sympathetic ear in the White House for eight years. Listening to the advice of the job creators is a good first step in creating a climate friendly to job creation. And he met with labor leaders, too — again a pragmatic step to reinvigorate the economy.

Automakers and leaders of other industries got a promise of lower taxes and fewer regulations — details to come — that the president told them will make keeping workers and facilities in this country more profitable. He must fulfill that pledge if he’s also to twist their arms to bring jobs back to America. And he must end his flirtation with tariffs on Mexican imports, which would hurt all manufacturers, but especially automakers.

Labor perhaps was the week’s biggest winner. On Day One of a new Republican president, unions got their wish of scuttling the Trans-Pacific Partnership and reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement.

TPP was gone no matter who was elected president. Too bad. It was an essential deal to open more markets to American goods and check Chinese influence on the Pacific Rim. Trump promises bilateral deals that will accomplish the same thing. TPP will be difficult to replicate on a one-to-one basis, but the effort must be made.

Trump began dismantling Obamacare with an order waiving all requirements “to the maximum extent of the law.” Democrats are howling about the doomsday consequences, but the reality is the Affordable Care Act has driven up the cost of health insurance, and that is hurting middle-class families. It must be reworked.

On immigration, Trump fulfilled his most controversial campaign promise by authorizing the start of his giant wall on the border with Mexico. We doubt it will be worth the $12 billion cost. While we share the goal of ending illegal immigration and controlling the border, there has to be cheaper and less offensive ways of getting there.

Trump also offered a legally questionable immigration ban on those from Muslim countries, and an open-ended suspension of refugees from Syria. Both are unnecessary and needlessly divisive. Most of the recent terrorist strikes on American have been by home-grown radicals, not immigrants or refugees.

The border wall also led to the first international fallout from the Trump presidency. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a planned visit to the White House in protest.

On a more hopeful front, the new president ordered both a regulation freeze and a 60-day review of regulations for American manufacturers, with the goal of speeding the permitting process and getting factories opened faster. He also ordered fast-lane reviews for high priority infrastructure projects.

And he lifted the Obama administration’s unwarranted bans on the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines. These are infrastructure projects that will contribute to America’s energy security. And best of all, they are privately funded.

His order freezing federal hiring riled the bureaucracy and drew subversive tweets from government workers. But the federal payroll has grown unwieldy. The first step to cutting the size and reach of the government is to trim the workforce.

As feared and perhaps expected, Trump’s temperament surfaced as an issue immediately. He allowed his ego-driven obsession with trivial matters to dominate the discussion.

He won the election. Why is the size of the inaugural crowd and the popular vote so important to him? Move on.

But do give credit to Donald Trump for this: He is the rare politician who goes to Washington and does what he promised to do.