(CNN)Like most successful candidates, President Donald Trump’s rhetoric from the campaign trail now runs up awkwardly against the often dense and arcane language that fills more formal executive actions and memos.
The “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall” he pledged to build on the Mexican border has been reduced, on White House stationery, to a “physical wall on the southern border.” Trump has kicked off his administration with a slew of aggressive actions, but it might be hard to tell from the reading.
Here are a few examples of campaign technicolor translated into the black and white of legalistic, government documentation:
1. In February 2016, Trump made this promise to a voter in New Hampshire.
“Obamacare is a disaster and we’re going to repeal it and we’re going to replace it with something great.”
As the administration and congressional Republicans now grapple with doing just that, Trump on his first day in office issued an executive order directing federal agencies to back off enforcing the law’s mandate. Here’s what it said:
- Sec. 2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.
2. The construction of a wall — “not a fence” — on the US-Mexico border was a cornerstone of the Trump presidential bid. Appealing to voters, he led chants of “build the wall” and described the coming barrier like this during first rally:
“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
In the executive order Trump signed on Wednesday, he delivered the following, rather soberer instructions to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security:
- (a) In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border;
- (b) Identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border;
- (c) Project and develop long-term funding requirements for the wall, including preparing Congressional budget requests for the current and upcoming fiscal years; and
- (d) Produce a comprehensive study of the security of the southern border, to be completed within 180 days of this order, that shall include the current state of southern border security, all geophysical and topographical aspects of the southern border, the availability of Federal and State resources necessary to achieve complete operational control of the southern border, and a strategy to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border.
3. Trump has also issued an executive order aimed at sanctuary cities. Back in September 2015, he told a rally in Dallas: “We have to end this sanctuary cities crap.” Later in the campaign, he made this declaration:
“Block funding for sanctuary cities. We block the funding. No more funds. We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”
And this is what it looked like on paper this week:
- Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the executive branch to:
- (a) Ensure the faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States, including the INA, against all removable aliens, consistent with Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution and section 3331 of title 5, United States Code;
- (b) Make use of all available systems and resources to ensure the efficient and faithful execution of the immigration laws of the United States;
- (c) Ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law;
- (d) Ensure that aliens ordered removed from the United States are promptly removed; and
- (e) Support victims, and the families of victims, of crimes committed by removable aliens.
Here’s how his opposition to the deal sounded on the stump, at a rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio, in June 2016:
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country — just a continuing rape of our country.”
And this is what the formal departure looked like in a presidential memorandum from January 23. This, after a preamble on the importance of trade and American jobs:
- Based on these principles, and by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct you to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations, and to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations to promote American industry, protect American workers, and raise American wages.
5. The Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver more than 800,000 barrels of petroleum daily from the Canadian oil sands to refineries on the US Gulf Coast, was blocked by the Obama administration in 2015. Trump did not agree with that decision and made it a bone of contention during the campaign. Here’s what he said last January in Iowa:
“When they do the Keystone Pipeline — I want it approved, I want all those jobs — I like a lot of oil flow, because right now we’re low.”
And here’s what the announcement that Trump would re-open the process looked like in a presidential memo issued this week:
- Sec. 2. Invitation to Submit an Application. I hereby invite TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (TransCanada), to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a major pipeline for the importation of petroleum from Canada to the United States.