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Day One Pledges: What GOP Candidates Would Do

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06:  Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush take the stage for the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
GOP presidential candidates have projected ambitious goals for their first day in office, if elected president. (File Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Inauguration Day 2017 could be a busy one if you take the pledges from Republican presidential candidates at their word — most have lofty goals for their first day in the Oval Office.

To be fair, the current resident of the White House had his own pledges — then-Sen. Barack Obama promised to “give the military a new mission: ending this war” in Iraq on his first day in office – a promise he did keep eventually. But his pledge to “launch the most sweeping ethics reform in U.S. history” had mixed results despite an Inauguration Day 2009 executive order.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fellow candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, at a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, to oppose the Iran nuclear agreement. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Trump has dominated in the polls. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump: The Republican front-runner said last month he would immediately boot all of the immigrants who have moved to the country illegally on Day One of his presidency.

“It starts with getting the bad ones,” he said. “Day One. If I win, Day One of my presidency, they’re getting out. We’re getting them out. We’re getting them out fast.”

Ben Carson: The retired neurosurgeon who has emerged as a challenger to Trump said his plan on Day One would be to tackle cybersecurity issues.

“I have asked the experts to put together a plan to use on Day One. We are working our way through that plan right now. I hope to release it early this fall. I take this threat very seriously,” he said.

Bush campaigned for Tillis in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Bush has yet to overtake Trump’s lead. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor, when asked whether he would rip up the Iran Deal on Day One, said it is “important to be mature and thoughtful about this,” rather than make promises.

“At 12:01 on January, whatever it is, 19th, I will not probably have a confirmed secretary of state; I will not have a confirmed national security team in place; I will not have consulted with our allies. I will not have had the intelligence briefings to have made a decision,” he said.

Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor is in the same boat as Bush.

“I’m not one of those guys who’s going to say to you, ‘On Day One, I will abrogate the agreement,’ he said. “On Day One, I will look into and try to decide what to do with the agreement, depending on where we are at that moment.”

Ted Cruz: “The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama. The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations. The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS to start persecuting religious liberty, and then intend to cancel the Iran deal, and finally move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” he said.

Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, speaks at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is rising in the polls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Carly Fiorina: While Republicans have criticized Obama for his use of the phone and pen, a President Fiorina has said she would only need to use that phone on Day One of her presidency.

“On Day One in the Oval Office, I would make two phone calls. The first one would be to my good friend Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the State of Israel,” she said. “The second will be to the supreme leader of Iran. He might not take my phone call, but he would get the message, and the message is this: Until you open every nuclear and every military facility to full, open, anytime-anywhere, for real, inspections, we are going to make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system.”

Mike Huckabee: A President Huckabee, meanwhile, would use that Obama executive-order pen.

His first day in office would be used to “sign executive orders in support of traditional marriage that protect religious beliefs,” and, “direct the attorney general to protect religious liberty and aggressively prosecute any violations of First Amendment rights of individuals, businesses, religious organizations, institutions and civil servants, including those who believe in traditional marriage.”

Bobby Jindal: Louisiana’s term-limited governor has his own ambitious Day One proposal: He says he would immediately try to repeal Obamacare, go after “sanctuary cities,” and quickly add new protections for religious beliefs.

George Pataki: The former New York governor would employ a counter-executive order executive order.

“In the first day in office, my first executive order, I revoked every one of the executive orders that he had — he had enacted over the prior 12 years,” he said, referring to his time in New York. “I would do that to Barack Obama’s executive orders. But I’d sign a second one, as I did in New York, as well, having a hard hiring freeze on adding new employees except for the military or defense-related positions. I’d sign that executive order.”

Pataki also said he would immediately propose a law that would institute “a lifetime ban on you ever being a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.,” if you’re a member of congress.

“You get elected, you go back home. You don’t stay and support the special interests,” he said.

Paul is a potential presidential candidate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Paul, running for both president and re-election in 2016, has struggled to gain traction. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rand Paul: The Kentucky senator who inspired people to “#StandWithRand” during his filibuster of the National Security Agency over its wiretapping program, has said: “On Day One, I will immediately end unconstitutional surveillance.”

Lindsey Graham: The national security hawk said his plan for his first day in office would be to be the best military leader.

“Above all others on both sides of the isle, I’m most qualified to be commander in chief on Day One — 33 years in the Air Force, 35 trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand this war. I have a plan to win it, and I intend to win it,” he said.

John Kasich: The Ohio governor, said he, like Graham, plans to “hit the ground running” as a great commander in chief, too, but, unlike Graham, he has “declined to commit himself to tearing up the deal on day one of his presidency, assuming the deal goes through and he becomes president.”

Marco Rubio: The Florida senator said all of the governors in the race are wrong when they say they will be ready on Day One. But, he said he will be.

“Governors can certainly read about foreign policy in briefings, and meet with experts, but there is no way they’ll be ready on Day One to manage U.S. foreign policy because the learning curve alone would take a number of years, and you see that reflected in the history of the presidency,” he said. “I believe that I can take over on Day One as President, prepared to lead this country in the most crucial obligation the President faces, as commander in chief.”

Rubio has also said he will get rid of that Iran deal and “increase sanctions on Day One.”

Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator said on Day One Iran better be ready to show us its nuclear facilities – “or else.”

“On Day One, I would say to the Iranian government, you open up all of these facilities for inspection, you make them available to the U.N. and to the U.S., everything, we can go everywhere or else we will take out those facilities,” he said during the CNN debate earlier this month.


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