Trump’s First Month of Presidency: A Review
March 1, 2017
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President Donald Trump has now been in office for roughly one month, and while that’s a relatively short amount of time compared to the four terms he’ll have to serve, he’s already made quite a few accomplishments. Between discussions with foreign leaders and several surprising executive orders, the Trump administration has surely been busy. It’s easy to miss a few of the things President Trump may have done over these past few historic weeks, so here’s Trump’s first month in review:
President Trump began his presidency extensively exercising his ability to sign executive orders, or create policies based on already-existing laws. So far he’s made quite a few of these executive orders, but the biggest ones he made were in relation to the Keystone XL Pipeline and his famous wall on the US-Mexico border. On January 24, four days into his presidency, Trump officially signed the executive order to expand pipeline construction in the US. This order approves the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as the Dakota Access Pipeline. These pipelines would, as Trump says, create jobs as well as provide for safe transportation of oil. However, environmentalists argue that these pipelines harm the environment and can potentially contaminate the local drinking water. The next day, Trump signed another executive order outlining the construction plan of the wall on our southern border. This doesn’t mean construction has actually started, but this order introduces the plan to start the wall and hires 5,000 additional agents for the border patrol. Moving on, Trump also stated his intention to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with several other nations in the Pacific Rim, lowering tariffs on imports from those countries. Obama joined the TPP back in 2008, believing it would promote economic growth between the countries, but it has received some heavy criticism for it’s apparent adverse effects to our economy. To wrap up Trump’s first week, he also stated his intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) although he has yet to provide information on any sort of replacement. This has left many people who depended on Obamacare for treatement wondering if they’ll receive any more federal financial support.
President Trump started off the second week of his presidency with a bang, or rather, a ban. Trump’s controversial “Muslim Ban” executive order prohibits citizens of certain middle-eastern countries from entering the US in an attempt to stop terrorism. These countries include Iraq, Syria, Iran, and are all majority muslim; resulting in heavy criticism from Democrats for essentially imposing a ban on muslims. Critics from both parties alike also claim that this executive order does not do much to stop terrorism, as every recent tragedy including the Orlando Nightclub shooting as well as the shooting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport were all conducted by US citizens. In foreign affairs, President Trump also announced his intention to begin loosening the economic sanctions placed on Russia. These sanctions were placed on Russia by the Obama Administration in 2014 in response to the crisis in Ukraine. President Trump intends to strike a deal with Russian officials to lift these sanctions, hoping to come to an agreement which would profit both the US and Russia equally.
Week 3 sees the re-arranging and increasing of members to Trump’s staff, namely with the addition of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice. On February 7, after a strong day of debate between Democratic and Republican senators, the US senate voted on whether or not to elect businesswoman Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education. The final vote ended on a 50-50 tie between the entire senate, resulting in Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie by voting in DeVos’ favor. Devos’ election has stirred criticism from the Democratic party for her apparent lack of experience, never having worked in the public education field before; her only experience with educational facilities has been her advocation and funding of private school organizations. On the other hand, DeVos has promised to play a smaller role when it comes to developing a nation-wide curriculum (which the Obama administration heavily pushed for), instead letting these key choices fall to state governments, which many claim to be beneficial in the long term. In related news, President Trump has also officially nominated Republican politician Neil Gorsuch for the position of Supreme Court Justice. Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings begin in March, and if he becomes officially elected to the position, he would become the youngest Supreme Court justice in history.
President Trump has had to face an increasingly alarming amount of allegations pertaining to his ties to Russia. Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, faced heavy scrutiny after the New York Times reported that Flynn was secretly paid by the Russian government during a meeting in 2015. The US Army and defense officials stated that they were privately investigating the issue with Flynn. A few days later, Michael Flynn retired as National Security Advisor. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated after Flynn’s resignation that it was no longer a legal matter, but a “trust issue.”
All in all, it has been an eventful month for not only the Trump Administration but for the nation as a whole. President Trump has already been the center of several controversies from “fake news” and false massacres to connections with Russia, and whether or not these controversies are true, they have undeniably only divided the nation further. It remains to be seen if Trump will be able to unite the nation together, as he has stated he intends to do.