The Trump Years
Former President Donald Trump left Washington D.C. early on January 20, 2021. Having lost his reelection bid and refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration, he retreated to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, arriving one hour before current President Joe Biden was sworn in. But before leaving, outgoing President Trump made a few remarks. Among other things he said, “Despite the worst plague to hit since I guess you’d say 1917 … the things that we’ve done have been just incredible.” Let's look back at a few of those “incredible” things.
Trump spent his first 100 days failing to fulfill any of his campaign promises. He did not get the border wall paid for by Mexico or repeal Obamacare, but he did sign an Executive Order known as the ‘Muslim Ban’, which stopped immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
On February 13, 2017, Michael Flynn, Trump's National Security Advisor, resigned following allegations that he had made contact with Russian officials during the transition period.
Only four months later, on May 9, 2017, Trump fired the Director of the FBI, James Comey, because, according to the President, “...he wasn't doing a good job." Perhaps it was just coincidence that two months earlier Comey had publicly reported the FBI was investigating “... the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government….”
Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel on May 17, 2017, tasked with continuing the investigation Comey had begun, eventually producing the Mueller Report, which later formed the basis for the first impeachment trial.
At the end of that summer, after a standoff in Charlottesville, Virginia between neo-Nazis and counterprotesters which resulted in three deaths, President Trump said that there “... were very fine people, on both sides.”
The following summer, at the North Korea–United States summit held in Singapore on June 12, 2018, Trump became the only sitting President in history to meet with a North Korean leader, in this case, Kim Jong Un.
One month later, on July 16, 2018, Trump met with President Putin of Russia. During that meeting, Putin expressly denied accusations that Russia interfered with the 2016 election as the US Justice Department reported. Trump publicly sided with Putin saying, “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
On June 25, 2019, during a call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the then possible Democratic nominee, Joe Biden. This call was detailed in the Mueller Report leading, on December 18, 2019, to President Trump becoming the third President in history to be impeached. He was later acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
And then, Covid-19. In January 2020, the first case of a new, highly transmissible, and deadly virus that originated in China known as Covid-19 was detected in the US. On February 2, 2020, President Trump announced travel restrictions on trips to and from China while simultaneously downplaying the virus as it rapidly spread throughout the country, saying that “… One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”
With the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man by a Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, systemic racism was further exposed, and left millions of people around the world angry and demanding changes in the justice system.
On October 5, 2020, President Trump tested positive for Covid-19 while campaigning for reelection. Ultimately, he lost to Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 2020 election but claimed the loss resulted from massive voter fraud, a claim he failed to convincingly substantiate.
On November 25, 2020, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I..
On January 2, 2021, in a call leaked two days later, the President implored the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” 11,780 votes. Raffensperger refused.
On January 6, 2021, during a joint session of Congress to approve President Biden’s win, President Trump held a rally during which he told supporters “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol….” An armed insurrection at the US Capitol Building followed. Five people were killed and Trump was permanently banned from his main means of communication, Twitter.
He was impeached for incitement of this insurrection, making him the only US President to be impeached twice. However, it seems likely the Senate will once again acquit him.
During his tenure, Trump appointed three Supreme Court Justices and more than 200 federal judges. At the time of writing this, over 400,000 people are dead from Covid-19.
Although his term has ended, his effect on the country and the presidency itself will surely continue for some time.