Today in Trump: January 31, 2017

Last Updated Jan 31, 2017 9:16 PM EST

Today in the Trump administration

Supreme Court nominee 

President Trump  revealed his Supreme Court nominee in a prime time announcement on Tuesday from the White House.  

Donald Trump has selected Judge Neil Gorsuch to be the next Supreme Court justice, filling the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia almost a year ago, he announced at the White House Tuesday night.

“I am a man of my word, I will do as I say, something that the American people have been asking for from Washington for a very, very long time,” Mr. Trump said at the East Room announcement. “Today I am keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch ... to be of the United States Supreme Court.”

LGBTQ protections

The White House says the new administration has no interest in rolling back protections of LGBTQ workers.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” said a White House statement released Tuesday morning. 

The statement appeared to come in response to rumors that Mr. Trump would soon sign an executive order that would remove some protections of LGBTQ people.

Executive actions

The White House canceled the signing of the executive order on cyber security without explanation. The order was to notify agency and department heads that they will be held accountable for cyber security, CBS News’ Mark Knoller reported.

Agency and department heads were to be directed to use the best practices from the private sector to enhance cyber security. They will also be required to prepare for the modernization of cyber security in their agencies. The Office of Management and Budget would oversee government-wide efforts to enhance cyber security. No vulnerability study has yet been made, according to a White House official said. 

Just before he signs the order, he’ll hold a “listening session” with cyber security experts.

And with regard to Mr. Trump’s executive order halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and top-level DHS officials worked to push back against the perception that federal agencies were caught off guard by the order.

At a noon press conference, Kelly said DHS knew the order was coming, and that he had seen at least two drafts of it before Mr. Trump signed the final version of the order Friday evening. Some news reports had indicated Kelly found out about the order while mid-flight on Friday.

“We did know the executive order was coming … we knew it was coming, it wasn’t a surprise, it was coming and then we implemented it,” Kelly said, noting that he “certainly didn’t learn about it on an airplane.”

The Trump Cabinet 

In an extraordinary and abrupt postponement, the nominations of Rep. Tom Price for HHS secretary and Steven Mnuchin for treasury were blocked by a Democratic boycott. The Senate Finance Committee was to vote this morning on both. Republicans delayed the committee votes on both indefinitely. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats used an obscure Senate rule to delay the committee vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. His vote, which is expected to be approved by the panel, will now take place tomorrow, and then his nomination would proceed to the full Senate.   

There was some progress on nominations today, though. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee voted on the nominations  of Rep. Ryan Zinke to be secretary of the interior and on former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be secretary of energy. Both were advanced to the full Senate. 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted on Betsy DeVos to be education secretary. She was advanced to the full Senate for confirmation.

In the afternoon, the full Senate voted to confirm Elaine Chao as transportation secretary. She was confirmed with bipartisan support, with only six Democrats voting against her. 

What you missed yesterday

Acting attorney general fired over travel ban

President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she ordered Justice Dept. lawyers to stop defending Mr. Trump’s executive order banning new arrivals to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The White House said President Trump “relieved Ms. Yates of her duties” and named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting attorney general. The White House said he would serve “until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate.”

Executive action 

President Trump signed another executive order at the White House this morning, this one to address regulations.

Mr. Trump said as he signed the order that it requires two regulations to be removed for every new regulation added, making good on a promise he made during the campaign. The White House argues that this will reduce the burden the private sector has in complying with federal standards.

Quebec shooting

Mr. Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express his condolences over the shooting, according to the Associated Press.

Tillerson advances in full Senate; final vote expected this week

The Senate voted Monday evening to advance ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s nomination as secretary of state to a final vote by the full Senate, putting him one step closer to being confirmed.

Fifty-six senators voted to invoke cloture on Tillerson’s confirmation, which limits debate on the nomination ahead of a final vote, while 43 senators voted against the motion.


The president tweeted early yesterday morning “There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists,” and in a tweet about airport detentions related to his executive order Friday banning travel from seven countries, he said, “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.” 

What to watch this week

It’s been an eventful 10 days in office for President Donald Trump -- and the pace isn’t expected to slow this week

In his first week in office, Mr. Trump began implementing several of his key campaign promises, largely through executive actions: he’s directed federal agencies to ease the financial burden of Obamacare, authorized the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall and temporarily suspended all travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries.

A long-awaited Supreme Court nominee, multi-city protests over the new travel ban and Cabinet votes and hearings are just a few of the things going on in the week ahead. Mr. Trump may also roll out additional executive orders and actions.