New Year, New U.S.A.: A Review of Trump’s First Year in Office

New Year, New U.S.A.: A Review of Trump’s First Year in Office

We’ve written a lot about Donald Trump’s presidency this past year. We’ve discussed Russia’s suspected involvement in the 2016 U.S. election, we’ve marveled at Trump’s astonishing and baffling social media presence and we’ve shaken our heads at his support of the alt-right.

Our Trump fervor was fueled by many of the outlandish and xenophobic promises he made during his presidential campaign, which included defunding planned parenthood, bringing back waterboarding and potentially eliminating the Department of Education.

We’re finally at the end of his first year in office, so it’s time to assess the landscape and calculate how many of these promises he managed to keep.

Repealing Obamacare

One of President Trump’s most fervent campaign promises was to repeal and replace Obamacare—the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act brought in by President Obama’s administration that allows many Americans to obtain affordable or subsidized healthcare for their families. President Trump may believe that he has repealed Obamacare with the passing of a tax cut bill, but that isn’t quite true.

While the bill did remove the fine issued to Americans who do not secure health insurance under Obamacare’s individual mandate, it did not actually repeal the Affordable Care Act. What effect the tax bill will have on the future of Obamacare remains to be seen, but as of the end of 2017, it’s fair to say he failed.

Building the Wall

During his election campaign, Trump promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. While he hasn’t officially started construction—or even received funding for the wall—he has selected four companies to design prototypes. Each prototype could cost up to $400,000 to $500,000, with these funds coming from the $20 million Congress allocated for the Department of Homeland Security.

Whether or not the wall will ever actually be built remains to be seen. Even if a prototype is selected, no funds have been allocated to the wall’s construction, and Mexico (obviously) still refuses to pay for it. While this financial hurdle could just spell the end for this xenophobic project, let’s hope Trump’s solution isn’t to take the funds from Americans’ own pockets.

Upholding the Travel Ban

Early in his presidency, Trump signed an executive order that restricted immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, suspended refugee entry and banned all Syrian refugees until further notice.

After fierce opposition, he was forced to rework the executive order several times. It then landed in the Supreme Court, where the justices okayed its implementation. Many see this ban, which overtly targets Muslims, as unconstitutional.

Lowering Business Tax Rates

During his campaign, Trump promised he would reduce key tax rates for corporations in an attempt to make the U.S. more competitive internationally. He also pledged that, “Everybody is getting a tax cut, especially the middle class.” In these promises, it actually looks like he may have succeeded. Sort of. A little bit.

On December 22, 2017, Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% in 2018. This drop isn’t as impressive as he promised, with Trump initially pledging to lower the rate to 15%, but it’s still the lowest rate since 1939. Also, those in the lowest income bracket actually see no change, with their tax rate standing at 10% before and after the cuts. So, perhaps “everybody” was a little bit optimistic, but Trump has certainly done his part to help out the “struggling” One Percenters.

Recognizing Jerusalem

On December 7, 2017, President Trump announced that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This move broke a 70-year diplomatic precedent—but also recognized a campaign promise.

His announcement sparked outrage and contradicted the official opinion of the United Nations—who deems Jerusalem as a corpus separate (“separate body”)—and of the Palestinians—who see it as an occupied city. This puts a strain on international relations across the board, as most countries voted to censure Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem—even Trump’s BFFs in Russia.

The Takeaway

Whether or not President Trump fulfilled his campaign promises, he certainly made waves—he often left the rest of the world scrambling to react. We can only guess what 2018 has in store, but the President’s second year at the helm is sure to be filled with more surprises, upsets and scandals.

Is your New Year’s resolution to be more politically informed? Use Trump.Sucks to start a conversation online.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock / stock_photo_world, Shutterstock / Christopher Penler, Shutterstock / Rena Schild, Shutterstock / a katz