By Owen Heimsoth | USA
At 12:00 EST on Saturday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will have been officially in office for one year. After a surprising win in the general election, many protests, and much controversy, he was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Ironically, 12 hours before his one year anniversary, the government was shut down after the Senate failed to pass a spending bill.
Donald Trump wasted no time getting to work, with an executive order on his first day in office. Executive Order 13765 was signed, titled “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.” Of course, a year later, changes have yet to be made to the Affordable Care Act, but we will get to that later. In the 11 day period, Trump signed a total of 7 executive orders.
The most notable of those was the so-called “travel ban,” signed into law on January 27, banning entry into the US from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The next day, a judge in New York blocked arts of the order. On the 30th, Obama attacked the order while Senate Republicans blocked attempts to reverse the order. It was later blocked by the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals on February 9th by a three-judge panel. In other foreign news, Trump hosted Theresa May as his first diplomatic visitor.
Another notable happening was his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. Trump lauded him, saying “Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support.” The nomination was met with praise from conservatives across the country. He would later be confirmed by the Senate on April 7 at the age of 49, the youngest to sitting Justice since Clarance Thomas.
After a high paced first 11 days, the Trump train slowed down a bit as the controversy over the travel ban left the news cycle until March. Rex Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State on the first along with releasing his 24-person list of cabinet picks on the eighth. He also met with various foreign leaders such as a joint press conference with Justin Trudeau and playing golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinz? Abe. During the golfing outing in Florida, North Korea test-launched their Pukkuksong-2 missile, causing tensions to rise further.
On the 27th, he also called for a 10% increase of $54 Billion dollars in the defense budget to be taken from various other departments.
A day later, he made his first joint speech to Congress. He addresses various topics such as drug abuse, gang crime, immigration, terrorism, the Mexico–United States barrier, infrastructure, foreign trade and the stock market. A C-SPAN video can be found here.
With a new month in, the budget, healthcare, and a new travel ban became the forefront of the monthly Trump agenda. On the first, he would release his 2017 Trade Policy Agenda which can be found here. It was proposed as an agenda that would help American workers and businesses.
Immigration and a new travel ban would come crashing back into the news cycle on the sixth when he announced and signed a new executive order for another travel ban as the first failed. This revised ban came with travelers just six countries banned instead of the previous seven. The country excluded was Iraq. It was to take effect on March 16.
The new ban was again met with huge protest. Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded saying, “We cannot compromise our nation’s security by allowing visitors entry when their own governments are unable or unwilling to provide the information we need to vet them responsibly, or when those governments actively support terrorism.”
Hawaii attorneys immediately filed a lawsuit and the ban was blocked on the 15th by US District Court Judge Derrick Watson just hours before it was set to begin. A ban on electronics from Turkey, Morrocco, Jordan, Egypt, The UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait went into effect on the 25th.
On the 16th, the Trump administration also released their proposed 2018 Budget. It included spending increases to the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.
On the 23rd, a planned vote to repeal and replace Obamacare was postponed to the 24th and then canceled by Speaker Paul Ryan with the consent of President Trump. This was due to a severe lack of support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Ivanka Trump was also announced by the White House as an unpaid employee of the West Wing on the 29th.
The first major Trump news in April came on the 6th when President Trump took his first major military action of his term by using 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. The attack was successful in response to an April 4 sarin gas attack by the Assad regime. Trump said that he could take further action on the 8th in a letter to Congress, but no notable further action has been taken so far.
While not many advancements came on the Syrian front, a week later the military would make news again as a MOAB would be dropped by the US onto a supposed ISIS cave. Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar was killed at the spot of the drop on April 8th.
On April 26th, tax plan talks would start up as Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn released President Trump’s tax-reform outline plan, the proposals of which included a cut in the rate of business tax from 35% to 15% and a simplification of the tax system by reducing seven existing tax brackets to three.
May started off with an active start to the month when President Trump expressed his willingness to meet with Kim Jong Un under certain circumstances in an interview with Bloomberg. He said, “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely — I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the — again, under the right circumstances. But I would — I would do that.”
On the 2nd, the President also suggested in a pair of tweets that the Senate abandon supermajority rules in favor of a simple majority system. Of course, this is coming when the Republicans had a very slight 52-48 majority in the Senate. One tweet reads, “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%”
He also held a meeting and press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the 3rd.
Perhaps one of the biggest Trump controversies came on May 9th when he announced that FBI Director James Comey had been removed from his position. Many accused this as a White House cover-up. They, of course, shot down these thoughts and nothing came of it after the Comey hearing.
On May 19th, Trump made his first official foreign tour to the beginning with a trip to Saudi Arabia. He received an Order of King Abdulaziz Medal from the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. It is regarded as the highest civilian honor one can receive in Saudi Arabia. A $350 Billion arms deal was announced the same day with Saudi Arabia.
In his May tour, he went on to visit PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Isreal as well as the Pope in the Vatican. He visited various countries such as Belgium before coming back to the US on the 27th. During the trip, he attended the 47th G7 summit in Italy.
June would start off very controversially as the President announced his intentions to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate agreement. This caused much backlash from the public, French President Emmanuel Macron, and caused Elon Musk and Bob Iger to leave the President’s business advisory council.
The DOJ would also appeal to the Supreme Court to reinstate the March travel ban on the same day. On June 26, SCOTUS reinstated the travel ban.
Other than the appointment of Woody Johnson as the UK ambassador, June was a rather slow month for the Trump admin in terms of new laws and legislation. He held multiple rallies to drum up support for a repeal of the ACA and also met with Senator Steve Scalise after he was shot at the congressional baseball practice. The James Comey hearing was held in June. Even though it reached high viewership and caused much controversy, nothing notable came of it.
July came with rising tensions with North Korea, more ACA repeal talks, press secretary drama, and the G20 summit.
The month started off with the rising threat of nuclear war. Nikky Haley said at a UN meeting, “The United States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend ourselves, and our allies,” two days before President Trump would attend the G20 Summit two days later on the 7th in Germany hosted by Angela Merkel. The same day he held a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, where he urged that he will keep his campaign promise of Mexico paying for his border wall.
The next major news of the month came on the 21st when Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation from his post effective in August. Anthony Scaramucci was appointed by Trump as the new White House Communications director the same day. Of course, he was removed 10 days later after an interview with The New Yorker. Sarah Sanders would become Press Secretary after this fiasco.
Other than that, an ACA repeal and replace bill would fail with a 49-51 Senate vote on the 29th. It is worth noting that the Trump term became “repeal and replace” instead of just “repeal.” He sent a tweet following the vote reading, “Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!”
The Trump administration had a slow first week until Trump made his famous “fire and fury” comment on the 8th of August. In regards to rising tensions with North Korea, he said, “They will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.” He later stated, “If anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”
4 days later, arguably the most controversial and divisive day of the Trump presidency would come. Late in the night on Friday, August 11, white nationalists convened around the Robert E. Lee statue on the campus of the Univerity of Virginia. Far right and left protesters would come, evoking violence and even one death. His speech that day was so controversial because he omitted that a counter-protester had died and he failed to condemn the neo-nazis, instead blaming both sides. He condemned the violence again a day later.
After that left the news cycle, it was a slower month in terms of big news for the President until disaster struck again with the arrival of Hurricane Harvey. It was formed on August 17th and became a tropical storm on September 1st. Landfall was made on the 26th as a Category Four hurricane and gave some people 40 inches of rain. It caused a reported $125 billion in damage. Trump donated $1 million of his personal money to victims.
On September 5th, Trump made another controversial order in telling the Department of Homeland Security to immediately cease to accept applications to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It is confirmed that current DACA recipients will be unaffected until March 5th, 2018.
On Saturday the 9th, the second hurricane in a month would hit the US. A Catagory 3 storm, Florida was the state hit the most. It caused 25 inches of rain. Trump was heavily criticised for not opening Mar-a-Lago to victims, even though it was in the evacuation zone.
The next big Trump happening came on the 19th, as he made his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly. He notably called Kim Jong-Un “rocket man” and was praised by Republicans for a very strong speech that included an attack on socialism in Venezuela.
On the 24th, President Trump signed a new executive order introducing new travel restrictions on countries such as North Korea, Venezuela, and Chad along with countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iran listed under Executive Order 13780.
In ACA news, a third vote to repeal and replace the ACA was abandoned on the 26th. On the same day, he was briefed on Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane that leaves parts of Puerto Rico still without electricity. This hit about a month after Hurricane Harvey tore through the south.
To end the month, he held multiple meetings to drum up support for his tax reform plan that would later pass.
On October 2, potentially the worst tragedy of the Trump presidency occurred. Stephen Paddock opened fire on thousands of people at a country music festival. 500+ were injured and 59 killed. It, of course, did not take very long to become politicized. The left called for even more gun control in wake of the shootings including the banning of bump stocks. Trump addressed the nation soon after the tragedy.
The next controversy was on October 7th when, under the orders of the President, walked out of an Indiana Colts game after the National Anthem was sung and 15 players kneeled.
The month didn’t have much other than controversy and tragedy. This was made clear on Holloween morning when a radical Islamic terrorist drove a truck into multiple pedestrians for a mile in New York City. Eight deaths occurred and an ISIS flag was found in the truck of the attacker. Trump would address the nation later in the day.
November started on the 2nd for the Trump administration as that was the day that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was introduced to the House of Representatives. A week later on the 9th, it would be introduced to the Senate. It passed the House with on the 16th. It passed in the Senate Budget Committee on the 28th.
Also taking place in November was the President’s tour of Asia. He departed the US a day after the tax bill was introduced and made a quick stop in Hawaii before departing for Asia. In order, he visited South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. He reported that $300 Billion worth of goods were sold on the trip.
Roy Moore drama would soon become the main topic of his presidency in the month of November. Trump very clearly endorsed Roy Moore, who was accused multiple times of sexual assault. This obviously came controversial and he was met with heavy criticism.
Trump also ordered to impose new sanctions on North Korea as they tested a missile that was suspected to be able to reach Washington D.C.
December would start off with a bang as the Senate passed the tax cuts on the second day of the month with a 51-49 party-line vote. The bill was met with criticisms by the left for lowering taxes on the rich while raising them on the middle class. More notably, the corporate income tax rate was lowered from 35% to 21%. Economic growth and some companies raising their minimum wage are often credited with the lowering of this tax rate. The votes were moved to later in the month after adjustments and mistakes and would be signed into law by President Trump on December 22nd. Most of December was purely tax work for the Trump administration.
While not directly affected by the President, the two other major news stories of the month were the repeal of Net Neutrality and Doug Jones Senate win over Roy Moore in the special election held on the 12th. Trump supported the repeal of net neutrality and did not support Doug Jones winning in Alabama.
By many, the Alabama race was supposed to be an indicator of how the midterms in 2018 would go for Republicans. It was argued otherwise by Republicans after their loss because of the Roy Moore allegations.
Another notable move was the announcement that the US Israeli embassy would be moved to Jerusalem, which sparks more controversy in the Palestinian conflict.
20 days into January, it is easy to tell that the defining moment will be the government shutdown that occurred on midnight of the Trump inauguration one-year anniversary. A fierce debate was held over topics such as CHIP, DACA, and the border wall in a stopgap spending bill that never technically reached the floor of the Senate. Who the blame lies on for the shutdown depends on your own political views.
Trump made a couple interesting statements this month, calling himself a “stable genius” and saying that his nuclear button was much bigger than Kim Jong-Uns.
A Look Ahead
The government shutdown could take days or weeks to solve. It will certainly be remembered come November. Trump’s approval rating continues to drop while the stock market is up. Major legislation in the next year may include healthcare reform, infrastructure reform, or entitlement reform. 2018 is sure to be another unpredictable year with both parties vying for seats in Congress in the midterms.