President Donald Trump, fighting against a majority of Americans’ disapproval of his handling of the presidency, faced a challenging first one hundred days that featured controversies, policy reversals, and campaign promises placed on indefinite hold. In what should have been a momentous time of advancement for the President’s agenda, Trump suffered his first major setbacks as the nation’s commander-in-chief.
Even before winning the Presidency in a shocking upset against Hillary Clinton (who shared her fair share of political controversies), the former businessman’s campaign was accused of being supported by the Kremlin, particularly with the proliferation of articles and videos flooding the internet with “fake news” against the Democratic nominee during the General Election. When becoming president, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey confirmed that the Trump Campaign (in particular, Trump’s aides) was under investigation for its ties to the Russian government. The “Trump-Russia” scandal grew to embroil former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, foreign policy advisor Carter Page, and former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Even now, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle increasingly grow confident that Flynn, who refrained from disclosing payments he received from companies directly connected to the Russian government, possibly violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution in accepting payments as a retired U.S. General (without the consent of Congress) from the Russian government.
Policy-wise, the Trump Administration has battled internally with fellow conservative and moderate Republicans in Congress and has been challenged with rulings from federal and Appellate judges in the Judiciary branch. While trying to remain true to his campaign promise of “repealing and replacing” former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) led the initiative of drafting the American Health Care Act, but removed the bill from a floor vote after losing the support of the conservative Freedom Caucus and moderate Republicans.
Trump’s promise of imposing a temporary ban on foreigners from several Muslim-majority nations was challenged in federal court, with the Judge ruling, and the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court upholding the blocking of the immigration “ban” from entering into effect. The revised immigration executive order also encountered another speed bump when two federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked it from being implemented.
However, the President can take credit for the nomination, and confirmation (despite the Senate using the “nuclear option”) of Colorado-based Appellate judge Neil Gorsuch- solidifying a conservative successor to the late Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court for many years. Also, Trump successfully withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement pursued by the Obama administration, with prospects of possibly doing the same with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the future.
In terms of foreign policy, Trump’s isolationist stance of “America first” has become more complex, especially since the Assad regime, with evidence provided by U.S. and French intelligence agencies, launched a chemical sarin-gas attack against his own civilians provoking Trump (at the urging of his daughter and advisor, Ivanka) to retaliate by launching Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase.
Further demonstrating his tough stance when dealing with threats was the use of the “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” (MOAB) against an ISIL underground compound in Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.
Increased tensions between the United States and North Korea due to the regime’s repeated nuclear tests prompted Trump to declare finding a permanent solution for dealing with the nation, going as far to suggest a preemptive military strike against Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear facilities. Placing his hopes in China, Trump met with President Xi Jinping to discuss diplomatic options for diminishing the rising threat of North Korea, and also implored the United Nations to place new sanctions against Kim Jong-Un. Trump has drastically deviated from his isolationist outlook of the campaign, facing opposition from the Libertarian and far-right branches of the Republican Party because of his increased interest of American intervention in foreign affairs.
The challenges and controversies faced by Trump in his first one hundred days created the historically-low approval ratings surrounding his administration. What should have been a momentous time for the President’s agenda turned out to be one embroiled in political infighting and gridlock, foreshadowing a difficult future for the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump, in what should have been the most ambitious and momentous part of his presidency, faced a divisive, rough, and challenging first 100 days. His proposed (and revised) immigration ban has been placed on hold because of federal court judges’ rulings, the GOP healthcare plan failed because of disagreements with moderate and conservative Republicans, and his promises on building the Southern border wall and reforming the tax code will prove challenging with a Republican-controlled Congress deeply divided over how to appropriately allocate government spending.
Although being a frustrating and unpopular 100 days for the Trump Administration, a poll recently conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post showed a majority of Americans arguing that Democrats are out of touch with mainstreet Americans. With Congress, both political parties, and the President suffering from severe unpopularity with the American people, the 2018 Midterm Elections and beyond are shaping up to be polarizing fights.