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Trump’s Presidency: Year in Review

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After one of the more divisive presidential elections in recent memory, Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016. Trump’s claims throughout the campaign that he would make great changes in Washington D.C appealed to many who were frustrated with the status quo. Now over a year into his presidency, Trump’s legislative and diplomatic skills are being put to the test. With his first State of the Union address behind him, the following events in his presidency are likely the greatest indicators of how the President will govern moving forward.

 

January 20-21: Inauguration and Women’s March

  • On Jan. 20, 2017, Trump was officially inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Due to his unusually high 47 percent disapproval rating among voters as he entered the White House (Gallup), a nationwide protest was held on the second day of Trump’s presidency opposing his inflammatory campaign statements on various civil rights issues.
  • Impact: While running such an aggressive campaign may have done him well in the most recent presidential election, his base is not large enough to support him through the midterms and the next election. If Trump is not able to effectively appeal to moderate voters and some of the same people that continue to protest his actions, the Republicans may lose seats in Congress next year, which would make it difficult for Congress to pass any legislation.

May 9: Trump fires Comey

  • President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, acting upon recommendations by the attorney general and deputy attorney general. This came shortly after Comey had opened an investigation on Russian meddling in the 2016 general election involving Trump’s campaign.
  • Impact: President Trump is under suspicion of firing the FBI Director in an attempt to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russian interference. If true, the firing has certainly backfired on him, since the special counsel appointed to investigate his administration, led by Robert Mueller, now operates outside of his control and may continue to be a cloud that looms over the Trump administration through the rest of his first term.

May 14: North Korea launches ballistic missile test

  • North Korea, years ahead of schedule in their development of nuclear weapons, completed their first successful test of their new intercontinental ballistic missile technology, prompting Trump to take a strong stance against the rise of the North Korean regime as a nuclear power.
  • Impact: While the media has been resistant to Trump’s aggressive statements regarding North Korea, the President’s inability to back down has so far been a helpful influence. As a result of his assurances that North Korea would be met with “fire and fury” in the event of an attack on the U.S., the regime in North Korea has decreased their rhetoric considerably since their first missile test.

July 25: Obamacare repeal bill fails to pass

  • The Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare failed to pass through the Senate by one vote due to Arizona Senator John McCain’s last minute decision to not vote in favor of the bill. Prior to the vote, the CBO reported that the bill would have likely resulted in over 20 million people losing their health insurance.
  • Impact: The Obamacare repeal bill’s failure was a huge blow to the Republican Party. Trump’s insistence of a simple fix to healthcare proved to be one of the most difficult challenges he has faced during the first year of his presidency. While the GOP is still pressing forward in trying to dismantle aspects of Obamacare, such as the individual mandate which will be removed as part of the GOP tax bill passed in December, this failure has proved that legislating may be more difficult for the Trump administration than he made it seem on the campaign trail.

December 19: GOP passes their tax bill

  • In one of his first major legislative achievements as President, Trump and the GOP passed a bill promising extensive tax cuts for the American people. The bill has come under scrutiny due to the lack of tax cuts for the middle class in comparison to the larger tax cuts given to the wealthier upper class.
  • Impact: Despite Trump’s claims that the bill wouldn’t be good for the upper class, financial experts concluded that the bill would be considerably more beneficial for the wealthy than the middle class families that Trump claimed it would help. Moving forward, the bill will give temporary benefits to middle class families, while large corporate businesses and the top one percent of income will receive permanent tax cuts

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Trump’s Presidency: Year in Review