Written by Chris Walker (@cwlkr20)
As I write this, Donald J. Trump is weathering another controversy, involving countries he considers “shitholes”. This isn’t a shock — another Trump scandal because his loose lips sank his own ship. Over the past year, with either his voice or his Twitter profile, the 45th President has had an uncanny ability to annoy the American public. At this point, it’s more or less unsurprising, which is the best way to describe his presidency so far.
It’s odd, isn’t it? There’s no real shock to Trump and his decisions, because he just hasn’t changed course. When looking back at the 2016 race to the Presidency, Trump was mostly known for his mudslinging at his opponents and his crass, xenophobic comments. And he won. Why change course when you get to the country’s highest office? When you win, it isn’t a reason to change — it’s resolve that what you’re doing is successful. You only switch methods when you’re down — ask Nick Saban.
Here we are, though, a year in, and what can really be said of President Trump? He’s consistent. We, at The RYM, have covered his views in the past, from the core subject points in the election to what he’s done in his first 100 days. And he hasn’t moved away from his campaign promises, just the ability to get them done.
A recent success was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December, bringing about the most comprehensive changes to the tax code in over 30 years. In addition, he’s gone after Obama policies by approving the Keystone XL & Dakota pipelines, closing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program , and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. As well, Trump has signed 58 executive orders, ranging from regulatory cuts to job creation, along with getting his cabinet nominees confirmed by mid-May and adding Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
However, it hasn’t been a cake walk to accomplish his goals. The immigration ban, although it was re-calibrated and passed through, can still be challenged in the courts. Trump’s moves to take down the Affordable Care Act haven’t succeeded, blocked by Congress for being poorly constructed. His move for a transgender military ban was blocked by a federal court. As well, the President hasn’t gotten to a variety of different things, like his idea of a Muslim registry or working on the American Infrastructure. There is also the Mexican border wall, that no one besides Donald J. Trump really backs. It always seemed like a wild tangent, but the President still went for it.
For better or worse, the one place where the President remained truly consistent was on Twitter. Trump was always a firebrand personality and becoming Commander in Chief hasn’t changed anything. He still tweets out his musings and feelings on anything from North Korea to Colin Kaepernick & protesting NFL players. Trump’s social media presence guides the national media on a near daily basis. It would be off color for him to give that up and allow his press people to carry out his views for the public.
With all of these decisions, policies, and tweets, how is Trump’s approval with the American public fairing? Well, nearly a year in, he’s at 39.1% — the lowest since Gerald Ford. To note — Trump started at a solid 45%. Maybe it’s the policies; maybe it’s how he handles things like the Charlottesville protest; maybe it has to do with his consistent false claims and vulgar, racist, & homophobic/transphobic comments. An active investigation into whether he colluded with Russia to hack the election doesn’t help. Where are those tax returns again?
As I noted earlier, a year with Trump wasn’t surprising. He’s stayed on course, seeing some successes, but not accomplishing all of his goals. Going into his second year, the President is clearly hoping to check more off his list. As he adds to his agenda, it will be interesting to see his tactics in dealing with a possible new Iran nuclear deal or another go at repealing Obamacare. As Trump continues on his path, I’m expecting nothing to remain the same.