Friday, January 20, 2017 11:16 pm
U.S. President Donald Trump signed his first bill into law on Friday, moments after being sworn in, clearing the way for his Defence Secretary to be confirmed.
The 45th President signed a bill passed by Congress earlier this month that would allow retired Gen. James Mattis to serve as Defence Secretary by waiving the legal requirement that he be out of the military for seven years before doing so, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Mattis will still need to be confirmed by the Senate, which is expected later on Friday.
Trump told supporters at a luncheon at his Washington hotel on Thursday that he was preparing to use the presidential pen to sign some “very meaningful” documents immediately after his inauguration on Friday.
“We will be signing some papers that will be very meaningful tomorrow right after the speech to get the show going,” Trump had said.
Cameras rolled as he signed his first orders as President in the Capitol, surrounded by congressional leaders.
According to Spicer, the other papers Trump was signing included formal nominations for his Cabinet and a proclamation for a National Day of Patriotism.
The ceremony took place moments after Trump left the podium outside the Capitol building where he was sworn in and delivered his inaugural address.
As is customary, Trump used a series of pens to sign the measures, then distributed the pens among the people who had gathered.
Presidential signing pens are regularly given out as commemorative gifts to politicians or individuals touched by the action.
The moment played out on live television as Trump offered his first pen to the Democrats around him, first House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who hails from New York and has long known Trump.
The mood was jovial, as the president, surrounded by family, joked with congressional leaders. (NAN)