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What has Donald Trump done to America in 365 days?

It has been a full 365 days since Donald Trump defeated Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

What did he campaign on?

President Trump campaigned on the nostalgic slogan of, “Make America Great Again.

There were never any specifics attached to that slogan, at least not in detail, allowing for measurements or statistics.

When Donald Trump took office the economy was improving, unemployment was below five percent, and the number of troops in the war had drastically reduced. Unfortunately for all future leaders, they were also inheriting a country where retirement plans had been decimated for many, and the red tape and costs for Obamacare had begun crippling our nation.

President Trump’s inaugural address echoed the themes that were central to his campaign. It was a populist, anti-establishment message teamed with a promise to transfer power to “the people.” He said, “A nation exists to serve its citizens.” [1]

Donald Trump went on to say, “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules — buy American and hire American.” [1]

He also said, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” [1]

What has happened in the last 365 days?

Just eleven days into his presidency, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to take Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was sworn into the Court on April 10th, 2017.

There have been many personnel changes; the firing of James Comey, Michael Flynn resigned in February, Sean Spicer resigned in July, Trump also removed Reince Priebus in July, and Steve Bannon left the administration in August.

On May 4th, 2017, President Trump stood in the Rose Garden flanked by Congressional Republicans after the House had approved a plan to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan. And yet, in the end, the Republican-led Senate rejected the plan.

October 12th, 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order to loosen restrictions on the Affordable Care Act. His order was set in motion to allegedly, “promote healthcare choice and competition.” [2]

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Irma

Robert Reich argued in an article this week, that President Trump is not really the president of the United States, “because he’s not governing.” [3] He went on to give examples of ways that President Trump has struggled to get along with his own administration, like: publically blasting his Attorney General for recusing himself from an FBI investigation, leaving top positions of departments and agencies empty, telling his Secretary of State he’s wasting his time trying to open relations with North Korea, tweeting public policy changes out of the blue, like not allowing transgender people to serve in the military, withdrawing from the Paris Acord with very little, to no, reasoning, bragging about ending the Clean Power Plan before it’s even gone to court allowing for challenges.

And then, of course, there were the tweets. Tweets like: saying there were good people on both sides of a deadly, racially-charged protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, questioning the patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting during the National Anthem or making nasty remarks about national heroes like John McCain. And now, Twitter has increased their character limit to 280; God help us all.

It appears President Trump’s support could be waning. Trump was unable to help secure victory in races like the Senate primary in Alabama, or in the Governor’s race of Virginia. Republican senators refused to go along with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The airwaves in Congress have been consumed with all things Russia. President Trump’s business advisory councils were vacated.

Tom Brady once called Donald Trump a “good friend.” Now, instead, he calls him “divisive” and “wrong.” [4]

Then there were the travel bans. On the campaign trail, Donald Trump called for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States of America.” In January, Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days, and he blocked all refugees for 120 days. Faced with constant legal challenges, the Administration issued a revised ban in March. To date, the bans are still in legal flux.

Approval ratings are subjective, but regardless of how the cookie crumbles, Donald Trumps’ are the worst ever.

No wall.

No repeal and replace.

The news hasn’t all been bad.

In early August, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crested 22,000 for the first time. And in the first seven months of the Trump Administration, 1,372,000 jobs were created. Another signal of strength in an economy is the Gross Domestic Product, which is essentially the measurement of all value being created by a country. At the end of the second quarter of this year, the GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.6%. [5]

The US Border Patrol has estimated that apprehensions have increased along the southwestern border by 37% over last year. [5]

In August, Brett McGurk, who leads all anti-ISIS efforts within the State Department, announced that one-third of all the land reclaimed from ISIS since 2014 has been done since Trump took office. Not that strikes equal success, but they have increased under President Trump. In July alone there were 947 strikes in Syria and 223 in Iraq. [5]

Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s. While most of the MS-13 members are of Central America descent, their presence is heavy all over the United States. In July, 17 members of MS-13 were arrested for 12 different murders, among numerous other charges, on Long Island. [5]

With a special counsel investigation looms, tax reform is on the docket; time will tell what is accomplished there.

Time will tell how history will remember Donald Trump’s presidency. Bob Mueller may have a little to say about that narrative as well.

What Could Happen?

There are a plethora of opportunities for President Trump to make a lasting impact on our nation.

Having already appointed one judge to the Supreme Court, there are a few more chances that could arise during his presidency.

Presidents have typically been major players in their political party’s success and failure. Many have argued that Barack Obama left the Democratic Party in disarray and set up the demise of the Clinton campaign. There seems to be a great divide in the Republican Party that grows more every day between the Party itself and the Trump Administration. Trump was known as the “outsider.” But it really has become more than that. He has bucked the system, with little to no regard for Party politics. And honestly, many Americans that voted for him are probably just fine with that. For those of us who are Republicans but perhaps not on the Trump train, we are left feeling concerned for our Party, and what will be left of that when Mr. Trump moves back to New York City. I’ve written on here before about the need for new candidates to step up on both sides of the aisle. It’s just hard to know what that might look like in 2020, or beyond.

Donald Trump campaigned on the “drain the swamp” war chant created largely by Steve Bannon. Many have argued with the billionaires filling his cabinet that he perhaps has not been faithful to that pledge. I for one do not believe the “swamp” is the cabinet; I think it’s the House of Representatives and the Senate. And here’s the thing, is it even possible to drain that swamp without term limits? In my plea for fresh blood, young minds and new, warm bodies in our legislative branch, one must ask, how is that even possible without the elderly passing on?

I truly don’t believe our legislative branch was set up to employ career politicians, but that’s certainly what it has become.

Donald Trump is definitely the opposite of a long-term politician. An outsider is what we needed. Perhaps a different one, but one nonetheless.

We have to look at our system and realize we have built a beast by re-electing the same candidates every cycle. Perhaps that process is how we ended up with a Donald Trump presidency.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2017/01/20/510629447/watch-live-president-trumps-inauguration-ceremony

[2] https://www.nbcnews.com/slideshow/trump-s-election-victory-first-year-triumphs-stumbles-n818581

[3] http://www.newsweek.com/robert-reich-trumps-first-year-mayhem-and-destruction-703869

[4] http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/what-trump-actually-accomplished-in-his-first-6-months.html

[5] http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/07/politics/trump-fact-check-tweet/index.html

Photo by Ludovic Toinel on Unsplash