WASHINGTON — “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”
President Donald Trump’s blunt declaration during his stark inaugural address now becomes a yardstick to judge his administration’s ability to fundamentally reshape America’s politics and global posture.
The first weekday of the new White House opens a new chapter in the story of Trump the politician. It is the moment the promises he made and the huge expectations he has built begin to stack up against the reality of governing.
To succeed, Trump must quickly stamp his authority on his Cabinet, the government and his own party and sideline building resistance from Democrats — all while adapting the multiple personal challenges posed by learning the hardest job in the world.
His schedule is full. Monday, Trump has a private meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reception for congressional leaders, sessions with business leaders and union leaders, and is set to sign more executive orders.
His first executive action will be to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, two sources said.
That withdrawal is consistent with campaign promises Trump made. The real estate mogul ran on a platform of anti-globalization policies and vowing to create fairer trade deals for American workers.
His agenda is almost entirely open to cameras — ensuring a day’s worth of images his team hopes will show a commander-in-chief at work.
The new president acknowledged the “busy week” in a tweet Monday morning.
Trump, who embarks on his term with the lowest approval ratings of any newly inaugurated modern president, must confront the reality that his campaign is over and failing to live up to the elevated hopes of his devoted supporters will start exacting a political price.
He spent the weekend complaining about media coverage during a visit to the CIA’s memorial wall, a top aide suggested the White House simply presented “alternative facts” about the crowd size at his inauguration, and Saturday saw a series of nationwide protests against him.
But the real estate magnate and reality star now lives in the White House because he successfully sold despairing Rust Belt voters left behind in the modern economy on a vision of a nation trapped in social, economic and international decline.
His rationale was that only he, with his nonpolitical, deal-making skills and disdain for political correctness could restore a sense of hope, possibility and U.S. global dominance.
“When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. We’d win with trade. We’d win with wars,” Trump told CIA employees on Saturday, reprising his theme during a visit to the agency’s headquarters in Virginia.