Ups And Downs Of The Trump Presidency

Ups And Downs Of The Trump Presidency

By Izzo Zwiren

This week, President Trump was finally able to deliver his second State of the Union Address, marking two years of his presidency. To commemorate this event, let’s take a look back at the first two years of the Trump administration. We will give the good bits an up and the bad bits a down. This will not be chronological, rather an overview of individual categories. I tried to get all of the greatest hits of the last two years in this article, and I apologize if I left out some of your favorites. Note: This was written before the address, so nothing mentioned in that speech will be discussed here.

UP
The Press

President Trump has shown Republicans how to handle the press. He constantly calls out bias, for which the media has no answer. For instance, the President discussed double-standards when it came to the coverage of the Obama administration’s mishandling of children at the border, even going so far as to use a picture of children in cages from that administration as indictment on his policies. He has handled CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, who seems to do his job solely for the purpose of grandstanding, and while he may have overstepped in banning Acosta, there is no question that he was able to do damage to Acosta’s reputation. Finally, no-showing the White House Correspondent’s Dinner was a terrific move on his part. Past presidents have been maligned by the press, but attended the dinner to show no hard feelings. Cordiality and respect obviously wouldn’t have happened in Trump’s case. Jokes would have been mean-spirited and classless (as they turned out to be anyway), so better to just not be there.

DOWN
The Press

However, not everything the President has done with the press has been handled well. He must get a DOWN for referring to the media as the “Enemy of the People.” While I don’t think this is cause for the media to think President Trump is threatening them, it’s definitely not good for the national discourse. He also barred the press from briefings. This is something President Obama did as well, but it wasn’t good when Obama did it, and that shouldn’t change for Trump.

DOWN
Rhetoric

The President has been awful with his rhetoric. Almost immediately after taking office, he waged a public debate regarding inauguration crowd size. Since then, he tweeted incessantly, dubbing anything he didn’t like as “fake news.” Some of his tweets have gotten him in hot water (Obama wiretapping accusation), while others have just been straight up gaffes (covfefe). Very little of his social media activity has been positive. Trump has also taken up ill-advised fights such as the NFL anthem protest, and aligned himself with any celebrity who will have him (e.g., Kanye West). Throw in his admonishment of the Mueller investigation, his inexplicable comments on the Charlottesville riots, and his public spats with Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, and you can see how terrible his public persona has become. There is much more about his dreadful rhetoric, but I have a word limit.

UP
Judicial Nominees

Despite all the commotion surrounding Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump was able to have two originalists confirmed to the Supreme Court. However, judging by the way both justices were confirmed, we can be guaranteed that future voting will definitely be split by party lines, making it difficult for future presidents to confirm a justice from his/her party without a majority in the Senate. Both votes on Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were by-and-large divided along party lines. Compare this to the two Obama-era appointments, Justices Kagan (confirmed 61-31) and Sotomayor (68-31). Moving forward, we can expect much closer margins of victory. President Trump has also been able to pack the appellate courts with younger judges. This should have a tremendous impact moving well past his presidency.

DOWN
Personnel

Trump administration personnel has been misfire after misfire. For a man who claims to only hire “the best people,” he’s had to clear out many bad mistakes. Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, Omarosa Manigault, and Anthony Scaramucci were all cancerous choices. But the White House has been a revolving door: Jeff Sessions, Tom Price, John Kelly, Reince Priebus, Scott Pruitt, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Sean Spicer, Hope Hicks, Michael Flynn, HR McMaster.

UP
Foreign Affairs

It is no surprise that President Trump’s policy towards Israel earns an UP on this list. His policies towards Israel have been beneficial for America’s closest Mid-East ally, especially his stance on the Palestinian leadership and his move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Elsewhere in that region, the President has taken tremendous strides to defeat Barack Obama’s JV Team, ISIS. Additionally, the President successfully backed out of two of the worst international decisions of the Obama administration, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Agreements. President Trump has also made great strides with North Korea. While, for now, this is placed in the UP column, I reserve the right to see how issues with North Korea play out over the long haul, and possibly turn it into a DOWN. Finally, I am adding in everyone’s favorite UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley. The decision to appoint Haley shined a spotlight on her and gives her the foreign policy experience she needs to make a future presidential run. Her performance at the UN is applauded across party lines and will be a future force to be reckoned with in American politics.

DOWN
Foreign Affairs

However, not all foreign policies have been winners. President Trump has had soft rhetoric on Russian leader Vladimir Putin, which is frustrating, given that his policy towards Russia has been mostly harsh. The President has repeatedly given ill-advised power and credibility to Russia when dealing with ISIS, as well as to China regarding North Korea, hoping that each country would step up to take care of regional problems. Trump also recently announced plans to pull out of Syria, declaring the war on ISIS prematurely over, and refusing to learn from the similar mistakes of the Obama administration. Another questionable relationship is with Saudi Arabia, especially calling into question the way in which Trump handled the murder and attempted cover-up of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government.

UP
Immigration

Until recently, everything the President has done in regards to immigration gets an UP from me. The temporary ban from certain countries was done with America’s interests in mind, despite the press calling it a Muslim Ban. When the story came out about families being separated at the border, the President correctly put it on Congress to change the law he was executing at the time. He has been harsh on sanctuary cities, as well as illegal immigration as a whole, which is down since he took office.

DOWN
The Wall

The President sure took his time with The Wall. Trump waited to fight for funding until after he lost one of the chambers of Congress. Funding the wall would have been a lot easier when the Republicans held both houses, but for some reason, he waited. On the first day of negotiations regarding the government shutdown, he threw away all of his leverage by stating that he would take the blame for it, a decision from which he never came close to recovering. The Democrats never had reason to change their position, as polls continued to show that Americans overwhelmingly blamed the President for the shutdown. To say that the President completely botched this “negotiation” is an understatement.

UP
Domestic Affairs

Domestic Affairs gets an UP for the following four reasons: Funding for the Affordable Care Act was cut, signing a death sentence for a dying program. The economy for the most part has been steadily improving. Unemployment has decreased across the board. The 2018 tax cuts helped the vast majority of Americans.

DOWN
Politics

Boy, does the President not understand politics. The blue wave of the midterms swallowed him up, and with more Republican seats in the Senate up in 2020, America could be looking at a Democratic House, Senate, and presidency in just two years. Trump backed Roy Moore in a special election in Alabama, even after terrible allegations came out. As mentioned before, Trump has no idea how to negotiate with Pelosi and Schumer, even calling them in for a meeting in 2017 when Republicans held both houses. There was no need to negotiate then.

DOWN
Trade

Trump’s position on trade has always stumped me. I don’t understand why he wants to get into a trade war with other countries. When goods are available to the American people at lower prices, that’s a good thing for 99 percent of Americans. Trump has waged this battle on behalf of a small sector of the population at the expense of the rest of the country. Instead, the President should focus on stopping foreign countries from breaking international copyright laws producing well-made American knock-off products, ranging from iPhones to baseball jerseys.

This review is meant to be qualitative, not quantitative, as some categories can be weighed differently. So despite the final tally being 7-5 in favor of the DOWNs, some categories outweigh others in their importance.

Izzo Zwiren works in healthcare administration, constantly concerning himself with the state of healthcare politics. The topic of healthcare has led Izzo to become passionate about a variety of political issues affecting our country today. Aside from politics, Izzo is a fan of trivia, stand-up comedy, and the New York Giants. Izzo lives on Long Island with his wife and two adorable, hilarious daughters.

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