Trump’s First Year

Let’s Recap…

Written by Connor Graham, Maryam Khan, and River Stone

He’s been labeled Audacious. Bold. Determined. Outrageous. As one of the most controversial figures of the year, President Donald Trump has received far beyond his fair share of media attention. One year later, the commotion has not died down. Despite his overwhelming presence in every news source on the web, many people are wondering: what has actually happened as a result of Trump’s inauguration?

Donald Trump’s triumph in the 2016 primaries can be accounted to his success at appealing to the millions of Americans unhappy with the status quo. Woodgrove junior Darin Avila had high hopes for him.

“I hoped that Trump would take a hard stance on immigration, create a no-nonsense foreign policy, and stay true to his fiscally conservative principles when dealing with the economy,” Avila says. “I wanted him to stick to the platform he ran on, but have enough flexibility to compromise and actually get legislation passed.”

Trump promised the American people something new, something fresh; someone who would “drain the swamp” of the Federal Government. However, business tycoon to commander in chief is a big leap, and some students doubt whether Trump is fit for the job.

“The most striking quality about Trump is his lack of political knowledge and experience,” says Woodgrove senior Lance Czarnecki, “You can’t really run the U.S. like a Fortune 500 company.”

Whatever your political stance may be, the numbers seem to be in Donald Trump’s favor. Unemployment rates are currently at 4.1%, an all time low in 16-plus years, and the S&P 500 has increased 20.4% since one year ago. However, debate continues over whether or not these gains can be attributed to Trump himself, or the actions of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

Nevertheless, many are claiming that the promises Trump made in order to win over the American people have not been acted upon.

“He’s made a lot of promises that he hasn’t fulfilled, a lot of foreign policy he said he’d try and figure out, and it’s kind of just gotten worse over time,” says Woodgrove senior Luke Hall.

Trump has yet to pass any pieces of major legislation, including tax reform, repealing Obamacare, or his infamous pledge to build a wall using Mexico’s money. However, he has not remained stagnant during the past 12 months. Trump has signed a total of 42 bills into law, the most notorious being the Accountability and Whistleblower Act, which makes it easier for Virginia to fire bad employees and provide safety nets for potential whistleblowers.

In fact, Trump has been mobile since his first day in office when he removed the U.S. from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership; a covert, multinational trade agreement that would extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe. This measure won Trump praise from portions of both parties. However, the applause was short lived. A few months later, at the protests of Democrats around the nation, Trump announced that he would remove the U.S. from the Paris climate deal, saying, “I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The Mayor of Pittsburgh was quick to remind Trump over Twitter, that the city had voted overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Although, with fragmented support from within his own party, it has become increasingly difficult to attain the needed percentage of votes in Congress for Trump’s policies and legislation to pass; despite the fact that the U.S. currently has a predominantly Republican House and Senate.

“I am not satisfied with what Trump has accomplished so far, but this is through no fault of his own,” says Avila. “Almost every major idea that Trump has attempted to bring into reality has been blocked by some opposing group, whether it be the democrats in congress, a liberal leaning court, or even his own party members, such as John McCain. I hope Trump can find some way to deal with these obstructionists so he can start to make real progress on his agenda.”

Others would say one of Trump’s major victories was his execution of the Travel Ban. Trump’s first plan at enacting a travel ban on certain countries in the Middle East, caused predicted chaos and was effectively shut down. However, the second attempt at passing the legislation was far more successful. It was ultimately allowed to take effect, with limitations put on by the Supreme Court.

Although the Mexico border wall has not yet become reality, ever since Trump’s election last November, illegal border crossings have plunged. Without any policies having been passed on this, perhaps it is Trump’s resounding discourse alone that is convincing illegal immigrants that they are not welcome.

Trump’s biggest impact on the nation within this short span of time, has undoubtedly been on the environment. In addition to withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, Trump has had his administration working on dismantling nearly every environmental plan or policy put in place by former president, Barack Obama. This includes Barack Obama’s Clean Power Act, a policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions; as well as undoing a ban set by Obama on drilling in the arctic and parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

Donald Trump seems to be rewriting the role of political parties for the common voter. As a soon-to-be voter himself, Hall feels that this presidency has drastically changed his way of thinking.

“It’s definitely made me a lot more issue- based than party-based,” says Hall, “because there are some issues from both parties that I agree with, and some I don’t, like I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative; so you kind of have to look at the issues rather than ‘Democrat’ or ‘Republican’.”