Donald Trump’s First Year as President of the United States

Updated on March 6, 2018
Donald Trump, with his family by his side, being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2017.
Donald Trump, with his family by his side, being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. in Washington, D.C., January 20, 2017.

First Days

The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency was widely described as unorthodox and tumultuous, inundated by a series of controversies and scandals that ended up dividing not only the political scene but also the world at large. Although he is a successful businessman and TV personality, Donald Trump’s lack of political experience made his transition to the White House more difficult than usual.

Being the winner of the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. His inauguration speech dwelled on the need for a radical change in U.S. policy, which could make “America First” again. The crowd present at the event was smaller than expected, but Trump’s staff insisted that the number circulating in the press was wrong, and that the crowd had been the largest ever. This marked the beginning of a conflicting relationship between the administration and the press, which continued in the same terms throughout the year.

By the end of his first week in office, Donald Trump had already signed six executive orders of major impact. His first order initiated anticipatory procedures for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). He pulled out the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnerships and reopened Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction projects. Following his campaign agenda, Trump also issued an executive order for the construction of a new border wall between Mexico and the United States.

Staff Turn-over

From its early days in office, the Trump administration became a recurrent topic of dissection in the media, not just for its policy, but also for the unprecedented internal conflicts between the President and his staff, or between the President and the other political and administrative entities. Soon after he reached the White House, Trump appointed RNC chairman Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff and his campaign CEO Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist. The collaborations were unsatisfactory and Priebus was replaced by retired Marine General John F. Kelly in July 2017 while Bannon resigned a month later and was not yet replaced. Moreover, as Trump enforced his unconventional policies, hundreds of officials from the executive branch agencies have left government positions from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others.

A scandal put a strain on the White House when the U.S. Intelligence Community revealed with evidence that the Russian government interfered in the presidential election of 2016. According to an assessment by the Officer of the Director of National Intelligence, Russian leaders favored Donald Trump. Moreover, Russian president himself was behind a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton and to harm her chances of winning. The main ways in which Russia interfered was by spreading fake news that were intensely promoted on social media and by hacking e-mails of Clinton’s campaign staff. Several investigations ensued, which aimed to discover ties between Russia and Trump’s associates.

On May 9, 2017 Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, partly due to Russian meddling investigations as he was dissatisfied and frustrated with the suspicions surrounding him. Trump considered the investigation a “witch hunt” and was looking forward to getting himself out of it. Comey revealed a memo of a discussion he had with Trump in February 2017, in which Trump was trying to influence his decisions during the investigation. After Comey’s dismissal, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed to lead the investigation into Russian meddling that Comey was working on. Donald Trump was accused of obstruction of justice, but the accusations eventually died off.

James B, Comey Jr. served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013 until his dismissal on May 9, 2017.
James B, Comey Jr. served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013 until his dismissal on May 9, 2017.

Domestic Policy

During his early days in the office, Trump adopted a series of policies in support of deregulation and smaller federal government. On January 23, 2017, he ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze with the intention of reducing administrative costs. He also abolished ninety federal regulations. The efficiency of his measures is still debated by analysts.

In 2012, Donald Trump publicly talked about his opinions on global warming, which he described as a lie invented by the Chinese. He later said he was joking, but as soon as he reached the White House, it became obvious that he was dismissive of environmental protection policies.

This approach caused a lot of friction in the American society. Trump’s refusal to accept the scientific consensus on climate change caused international outrage, especially among environmental scientists and activists. Not only that he called the Environmental Protection Agency a disgrace, but also threatened to cut its budget. On June 1, 2017, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls 170 countries to implement policies that reduce carbon emissions. Moreover, climate change is no longer on the list of threats in the national security report released by the administration.

As a result of his disbelief in climate change, Donald Trump directed his energy policies to advocate domestic industrial support for fossil and renewable energy sources. The reason behind his policies was to limit the dependence on Middle-Eastern oil. Although energy independence is an important goal, the fact that neither Trump nor his advisers believe in the threat of climate change led to a non-regulated market with no sign of immediate action in sight.

Health Care

Long before his presidency, Donald Trump talked about the need for universal healthcare. In his book from 2000, The America We Deserve, he brought numerous arguments in favor of a single-payer healthcare system and expressed admiration for the Scottish National Health Service. During the presidential campaign, he spoke about his goal of replacing Obamacare. As soon as he took office, Trump urged Congress to launch the process of repeal and replacement.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted the repeal of Affordable Care Act (ACA) in May 2017. Despite several months of debate, the Senate did not manage to pass a repeal bill. Frustration arose between Trump and Congress, leading to a shaky relationship. The Trump administration sabotaged the program by cutting the ACA enrollment period in half and significantly reducing funding for advertising that encouraged enrollment. In December 2017, as Trump signed the tax reform into law, the individual health insurance mandate was removed as a result. Without the individual mandate that was a key provision of the Obamacare, the number of people with coverage will decrease significantly. The repeal will be implemented in 2019.

Tax Reform and Trade

The major piece of legislation that affected the United States during Trump’s first year in the office is the tax bill introduced in December 2017. Although the impact of the bill on the lives of Americans has yet to unfold, financial specialists concluded that highest earners are expected to benefit most from it. The law permanently cuts corporate tax rate to 21% while individual tax rates are cut temporarily. The bill also increases child tax credit and doubles the estate tax threshold to $11.2 million.

Although he considers himself a free trader, Trump’s policies are regarded as rather protectionist, mostly because of his attitude towards North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He also proposed to increase tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports to the U.S. Moreover, Trump threatened to leave the World Trade Organization to ensure that his new tariffs were accepted. Donald Trump is also a supporter of Brexit and wants to negotiate a fair post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom that could benefit both countries.

Besides the political and social issues that marked Trump’s first year in the office, the natural disasters that affected many American communities in 2017 were a great challenge for the President. Severe floods and massive fires put Trump in the position of having to offer support and comfort to millions of people. According to the press, he struggled to find a proper, considerate approach when visiting ravaged zones where people were fighting for survival.

What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.

— Donald Trump

Immigration Policy

In parallel with the intense debate around Trump’s energy policies, his immigration agenda became another topic that caused division and outrage, and not just in the United States. During the campaign, he promised to stop illegal immigration from Mexico by building a higher wall on the Mexico-United States border and forcing Mexico to pay for it. He also vowed to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. and he condemns birthright citizenship. When faced with disapproval, Trump assured his opponents that deportation would focus on criminals, security threats, and visa overstays.

On January 27, 2017, only a week after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed an executive order that forbade entry into the country for the next 90 days to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. He also suspended admission of refuges for the next 120 days. The order was imposed without any prior warnings as Trump cited security reasons. As it took effect immediately, the consequence of it was waves of chaos, confusion, and protest at airports. Many travelers were detained on arrival or weren’t allowed to board planes heading to the country. Three days after the issue of the order, Sally Yates, the Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers to ignore it. She was promptly dismissed and replaced by Dana Boente, who agreed to enforce the order. However, several legal challenges were filed against it. On February 5, a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation.

On March 6, Trump issued a revised order to include exceptions for permanent residents and Iraqi travelers. Once more, the implementation of the order was blocked by several federal judges. Two months later, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban could be enforced on visitors with no credible relationship with a person or entity in the United States. On September 24, 2017, the temporary order was replaced by Presidential Proclamation 9645, which permanently restricted travel from the originally targeted countries, with the exception of Iran and Sudan. The new order also banned travelers from North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela. After a series of other legal actions, the Supreme Court allowed the proclamation from September to go into full effect on December 4. However, legal challenges continue in lower courts.

Judge Temporarily Blocks President Donald Trump’s Plan To End DACA | TODAY

Foreign Affairs

One of the main things that made Donald Trump stand apart in the run for the office was his nationalistic discourse. He repeatedly spoke about his desire to support an “America First” foreign policy. He proposed to increase U.S. military defense spending and also cut U.S. spending on NATO and in the Pacific region. He talked about redirecting the resources of the country toward domestic needs, claiming that assuming voluntary responsibilities on the international scene was detrimental to the development of the country. Although as a candidate he suggested to leave NATO, he changed his mind while at the White House, officially pledging commitment to NATO.

During his time in the office, Trump talked repeatedly about the need of establishing a good relationship with Russia. In May 2017, he visited Israel, Italy, the Vatican, and Belgium as part of an official trip. During the same international trip, the President and the First Lady visited the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Saudi Arabia. The trip was an unprecedented move for a U.S. President and indicated a shift in Middle East politics, mostly because the implication of his support for the Saudis is that he agrees with their war in Yemen and the blockade on Qatar.

Donald Trump often declared himself a “big fan” of Israel and it came as no surprise when, on December 6, 2017, Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after a promise made during the campaign. Despite numerous objections from Palestinian and world leaders, Trump added that he would initiate the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump’s decision to back up Israel caused waves of protests, especially across the Middle East. On December 21, an emergency meeting at the United Nations General Assembly condemned his actions. 128 members of the UN voted against the United States, which demonstrated to Trump’s critics that he has put the country on the path of isolation.

In summer 2017, Trump’s approach to foreign policy aggravated the relation with North Korea, becoming a major issue of concern. The tension increased significantly when, according to observers, North Korea tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles which have the capacity of reaching the western parts of the United States. Donald Trump saw this as a challenge at his address and promised to respond to further provocation with “fire and fury”. The dispute between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un continued with a series of threats from both sides.

North Korea's ballistic missile - North Korea Victory Day-2013
North Korea's ballistic missile - North Korea Victory Day-2013

Opposition and Criticism

Many agree that one of the main characteristics of Trump’s presidency has been the proliferation of nationalist views, along with the attempts to pull back the United States from global agreements. An evident result is the rise of racial strife as the hostility of far-right extremists towards minorities became more prominent on the public scene. For example, on August 11, 2017, a white nationalist march was organized in Charlottesville, Virginia. Other critics consider that Trump’s combative and divisive approach to politics, especially the repeal of Obamacare and the “Muslim Ban”, led to unrest and mass protests that destabilized the country.

In November 2017, six Democratic representatives introduced five articles of impeachment against President Trump, citing several violations of the law. Trump was accused of undermining the freedom of the press and obstruction of justice, among others. Another article of impeachment had already being introduced in July by a Congressman. In December 2017, another Congressman introduced two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of associating with neo-Nazism and white nationalism and inciting violent actions. The impeachment resolution was put to a vote and was finally defeated by a large margin.

According to presidential approval ratings, Donald Trump is the least popular American President in the history of modern opinion polls. Many fact-checking entities and media outlets agree that Trump made countless false statements in public speeches and interviews.

References

West,Doug. Donald Trump: A Short Biography: 45th President of the United States. C&D Publications. 2018.

Defying Trump, U.N. General Assembly Condemns U.S. Decree on Jerusalem. December 21, 2017. The New York Times. Accessed January 10, 2018

Donald Trump’s First Year as President: A Recap. December 30, 2017. The Atlantic. Accessed January 8, 2018

Donald Trump reveals his isolationist foreign-policy instincts. May 22, 2016. The Economist. Accessed January 9, 2018

Donald Trump promises post-Brexit Britain a 'fair' trade deal. January 15, 2017. NBC News. Accessed January 8, 2018

Donald Trump's Energy Plan: More Fossil Fuels and Fewer Rules. May 26, 2016. The New York Times. Accessed January 8, 2018

Donald Trump's unsettling nonsense on weather and climate. March 22, 2016. The Washington Post. Accessed January 8, 2018

The 18 photos that encapsulate Trump’s first year as president. December 27, 2017. Quartz. Accessed January 8, 2018

Trump on Paris accord: 'We're getting out'. June 1, 2017. CNN. Accessed January 8, 2018

Trump says he plans to 'let Obamacare fail'. July 18, 2017. Politico. Accessed January 8, 2018

Trump Calls To Ban Immigration From Countries With 'Proven History Of Terrorism'. June 13, 2016. NPR. Accessed January 9, 2018

Trump impeachment articles introduced by six Democrats calling for hearings to begin immediately. November 15, 2017. Newsweek. Accessed January 10, 2018

Top U.S. intelligence official: Russia meddled in election by hacking, spreading of propaganda. January 5, 2017. The Washington Post. Accessed January 10, 2018

Questions & Answers

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      • Ivan Hernandez profile image

        Erick Hernandez 

        7 months ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

        That's not going to matter anymore once America becomes a dictatorial country--OH WAIT!! IT ALREADY IS!!!!

      • dougwest1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Doug West 

        7 months ago from Raymore, MO

        Larry:

        Thanks for the comment on my Trump article. Donald Trump does elicit strong feelings in people. However, it is great we live in a country where we can openly disapprove of the government and the leadership.

      • Larry Fish profile image

        Larry W Fish 

        7 months ago from Raleigh

        Doug, I have never been a fan of Donald Trump and I never will be. I think the election was rigged by the Russian influence. Hillary won by nearly 3 million votes and lost. It just doesn't add up. Trump putting his daughter and son-in-law in key positions in the White House is something I am totally against. Family should not be involved. He has done a lot to harm America by his policies and standing around the world. Politics is a dirty business and if anyone supports Donald Trump I have nothing against them. I have friends that think he is the greatest. I just don't happen to be one of those.

      • bradmasterOCcal profile image

        Brad Masters 

        8 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

        Doug

        "Long before his presidency, Donald Trump talked about the need for universal healthcare. In his book from 2000, The America We Deserve, he brought numerous arguments in favor of a single-payer healthcare system and expressed admiration for the Scottish National Health Service. During the presidential campaign, he spoke about his goal of replacing Obamacare. As soon as he took office, Trump urged Congress to launch the process of repeal and replacement.

        The U.S. House of Representatives voted the repeal of Affordable Care Act (ACA) in May 2017. Despite several months of debate, the Senate did not manage to pass a repeal bill. Frustration arose between Trump and Congress, leading to a shaky relationship. The Trump administration sabotaged the program by cutting the ACA enrollment period in half and significantly reducing funding for advertising that encouraged enrollment. In December 2017, as Trump signed the tax reform into law, the individual health insurance mandate was removed as a result. Without the individual mandate that was a key provision of the Obamacare, the number of people with coverage will decrease significantly. The repeal will be implemented in 2019. "

        B:----

        He did try to repeal the Obamacare. Obama either lied or didn't care when he said, if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

        These two things are the core of having success in your health. Not all doctors are alike, and if you find a good one you want to keep it. Many people that were undergoing cancer treatment lost both of those things.

        One thing that no healthcare system so far has done is to improve the quality of healthcare. This is more of a problem than the type of insurance. Since the Salk vaccine in the 1950s for Polio, I don't know of any cure for any major disease. What we have is long term and expensive treatments, and in many cases the treatment only deals with the symptoms of the disease and not the root.

        What has improved are surgeries, but these are not cures they are just removing disease, not curing it.

        What Trump did with the Tax Plan is to take the ridiculous mandate of Obamacare and that gives the young and healthy people a choice.

        Instead of reforming Healthcare as Obama and his democrat controlled congress did, he could have made a few laws that would accomplish more immediately than the over eight year rollout of Obamacare. The one significant law would have been stop preexisting diseases from adversely affecting or preventing a person getting affordable healthcare.

        Obamacare allowed both the health insurance people and the drug companies in having a monopoly where they were in control.

        Also, in 2013, congress raised the medical tax deduction threshold from 7.5% to 10%. That means that people will be paying more for their medical. That doesn't seem to be the direction if the healthcare was more affordable. It shows that the government thought that people would be paying more than 7.5% of their AGI for their medical. And taking more than 6 years to fill the donut hole is also not helping the people.

        President Trump has done what he can to reverse Obamacare, but he is doing it alone. The blame goes on the democrats and those republicans that act like democrats.

      • dougwest1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Doug West 

        8 months ago from Raymore, MO

        It is very hard to write about Donald Trump in an unbiased fashion. Depending on which news organization you watch (or read), he is either the devil in a suit or the best thing that has ever happened to America. I am sure the real Donald Trump is somewhere in between.

      • Ivan Hernandez profile image

        Erick Hernandez 

        8 months ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

        Doug. Thanks for once again taking the time to publish an article on the best president ever (I meant that sarcastically, by the way, because Trump really is the worst. I am a conservative Democrat who wants females to shine and not have to worry about drama and such. Trump is replacing the good republicans with the bad. Remember, the Republicans control the entire government.

        I agree with Jean's post. It's totally unbiased, and yes, illegal stuff are legal now.

        I hope you have a wonderful day.

      • Jean Bakula profile image

        Jean Bakula 

        8 months ago from New Jersey

        Hello Doug,

        Thanks for the attempt at an unbiased look at the first year of Trump's campaign. It's not an easy thing to do in such a divided country.

        Also agree if Congress can't get it together, maybe they should get docked for time off and go without the best health insurance like the rest of us when we don't work.

      • Eastward profile image

        Eastward 

        8 months ago from Phuket, Thailand

        Nice coverage of President Trump's accomplishments so far. I find it peculiar that his recent moves towards putting the U.S. in a position of fair and balanced trade have been attacked so harshly in the media. I must have missed the memo when making moderate moves to close an enormous trade deficit became a "trade war".

      • dougwest1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Doug West 

        8 months ago from Raymore, MO

        I want to blame all the elected officials (Dems and Reps) in Washington, DC, for shutting the government down. They need to get off their rears and get the government functioning again. That is what we pay them for!

      • ptosis profile image

        ptosis 

        8 months ago from Arizona

        @ Brad, Trump blamed POTUS for 2013 shutdown. So in Trumpian terms, POTUS is at fault in 2018 also.

      • Sharlee01 profile image

        Sharlee 

        8 months ago

        I am very pleased with the accomplishments our president has made in such a short time.Would be hard to find fault with his accomplishments.

      • bradmasterOCcal profile image

        Brad Masters 

        9 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

        Doug

        Are you also going to blame president Trump for the Shutdown? The democrats and some republicans but Illegal Aliens before the American People and the country. The DACA had until March, and it isn't even a non discretionary item in the budget.

        BTW

        "In November 2017, six Democratic representatives introduced five articles of impeachment against President Trump, citing several violations of the law. Trump was accused of undermining the freedom of the press and obstruction of justice, among others. Another article of impeachment had already being introduced in July by a Congressman. In December 2017, another Congressman introduced two articles of impeachment, accusing Trump of associating with neo-Nazism and white nationalism and inciting violent actions. The impeachment resolution was put to a vote and was finally defeated by a large margin."

        B:-----

        The freedom of the press. The main stream media has no credibility as being the press, as they have shown they are totally biased against the president.

        An example, was the alleged sh-----e comment that they used after only Dick Turpin (D) said he heard the president say in a Closed Door Meeting at the WH. Even though Trump and the rest of the 5 people in that room say that the president didn't say it.

        Then CNN used the Shithole word 195 times in one night. How is that reporting the news.

        The Obstruction of Justice didn't happen. Comey didn't even support it, and if there was obstruction of justice Comey didn't report it as a crime to the DOJ.

        So these two items are just running loose with no foundation.

        ------------------------------

        According to presidential approval ratings, Donald Trump is the least popular American President in the history of modern opinion polls. Many fact-checking entities and media outlets agree that Trump made countless false statements in public speeches and interviews.

        B:------

        Remember how those presidential candidate polls turned out in real life. Trump won the presidency while the polls said he didn't have a chance.

        As far as the 1950 "lies" in 347 days, I have made my answer in an article.

        -------------

      • Ivan Hernandez profile image

        Erick Hernandez 

        9 months ago from Maintaining The Ivan Brand in Total Nonstop Ivan

        I agree on everything. I'm normally not a politician and don't talk about politics, but look at my politics-relatated articles. Some are in HubPages, and the other ones are in Soapboxie. I don't normally do this, but read my articles.

        https://hubpages.com/politics/America-A-Horrible-P...

        https://soapboxie.com/us-politics/10-Reasons-Why-D...

        https://hubpages.com/politics/DonaldTrumpAntichris...

        https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/parisaccordcli...

        Read those articles.

      • dougwest1 profile imageAUTHOR

        Doug West 

        9 months ago from Raymore, MO

        bradmasterOCcal :

        Thanks for the helpful comments. I'll clean that section up in a day or two.

      • bradmasterOCcal profile image

        Brad Masters 

        9 months ago from Orange County California BSIT BSL JD

        I am not sure that there is a point being made in this article.

        "Trump’s combative approach has likely only worsened the conflict, as many suggest. In November 2017, Trump went on a trip to Asia, visiting Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, and meeting many leaders in the region."

        For example, "has likely only worsened" "as many suggest".

        Hardly factual and doesn't make a conclusion.

        Del if u wish

      • Sharlee01 profile image

        Sharlee 

        9 months ago

        Enjoyed your article. well done.

      • Misfit Chick profile image

        Catherine Mostly 

        9 months ago from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD

        Wow, despite this being a very compact article, it is power-packed with highlight after highlight. I think you covered just about everything, much of which I had already forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder.

        While I'm not nearly as convinced that this is entirely 'unbiased' - it is a really good try. Believe it or not, there are many of us who would like to be unbiased about Trump - and find it damn near impossible, most of the time. Its not like he makes it easy, LoL!

        Well done. :)

      • ptosis profile image

        ptosis 

        9 months ago from Arizona

        Very good article! Unbiased and informative. Unlike me - I'm biased as hell!

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