It’s a formidable weapon. With one stroke it can literally build a wall between two countries. No it’s not the The World Engine from Man of Steel, that terraforming ancient piece of Kryptonian technology that transformed worlds. It’s US President Trump’s pen Century II. Ok, maybe it took more than a single stroke when he signed the executive order for the wall between Mexico and US.
Despite his radical executive orders, US President Trump stuck with a long-standing White House pen supplier. When he signs executive orders, Trump uses a Century II black lacquer and gold roller ball pen, made by manufacturer A. T. Cross. The Trump White House put in an initial order for 150 of the pens.
Century II – the pen
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also used the Cross Townsend pen, although Obama later switched to the Century II. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were also known to use Cross pens, however, the official Cross-White House program began under Clinton.
Trump, Obama and Bush use the medium felt tip refills – Bush in blue, Obama and Trump in black. A spokesperson to Cross North America told CNN the felt tip refill is “extremely quick to dry and can write on most surfaces.” The Century II in black lacquer is available for purchase for the general public at $110, plus the $6.50 felt tip refill.
Traditionally, these pens are handed out as souvenirs to guests attending bill signings. Trump’s pen first made its mark moments after the inauguration ceremony when he headed inside the Capitol to sign some bills for his Cabinet nominees alongside family members and Hill leadership.
“Yeah, I’d like to give some pens out. The government is getting stingy, right?” the newly sworn-in President said, a stack of Cross pens before him. He later added, “I think we’re going to need some more pens, by the way.”
Trump has used the pen for each order he’s signed thus far, often holding up the paper to show off his signature.
Executive orders are a fast-track method of turning a political pledge into reality. According to White House information more than 13,000 executive orders have been issued since 1789.
Presidents can use executive orders to bypass Congress approval as they still have the same legal weight as a Congress approved document.
President Trump is making use of this mechanism to rattle through his many controversial election pledges at speed, showing voters that he is prepared to follow through on bold promises. In his first week alone President Trump issued 14 executive orders, ranging from American industry to the right of some Muslims to enter the US.
Using an executive order to overturn the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed ‘Obamacare’ was one of his first moves. He wasted to do away with Obama’s scheme to provide all Americans with healthcare via a compulsory insurance scheme. He signed another order effectively blocking funding to organisations that provide services for abortion. But then he went ahead and signed another to give the green light to an oil pipeline that cut close to a native American reserve, Standing Rock, affecting both wildlife and the sacred land they call home. His justification: It will be good for US business and farmers.
President Trump also signed an order that sanctioned one of his major campaign pledges – building of a wall between the US and Mexico. He then signed off plans to increase deportations of illegal immigrants.
And his most recent order won him more fame than any other US president when he signed the executive order to stop Muslim people from seven countries – Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan – from entering the US. He’s also put a block on all Syrian refugees coming to America.
The only thing that Congress can do to cancel an executive order is to pass a law that would make funding it difficult. But then the president still has the power to strike this law down. Not very much different from our Executive Presidency is it?
An executive order can only be effectively wiped out by a new president. However, an executive order is subject to judicial review, which means that in the US Supreme Court judges having a say. And if deemed ‘unconstitutional’ can be scrubbed out. Critics of Trump’s Muslim ban say that it goes against one of the key parts of the US constitution – that one religious group cannot be ‘preferred over another’.
Last week a US judge has issued a temporary halt to the deportation of visa holders or refugees stranded at airports following President Trump’s executive order.
BBC and CNN