Like a lot of people who awoke to the prospect of a Trump presidency on the 9th November 2016, I had little idea of what the future of American politics was going to look like. But, as I kept reminding myself, the system had to be abided by and the result of the election had to be accepted. The world had to give Donald Trump a chance. Over one hundred days later, the reviews are in. This article aims to examine the key domestic and foreign actions of Trump that have gained the most notable headlines in the past three months.
The White House insists that the President has taken “bold action” in his first one hundred days, and it is true that he has committed himself to major policies. Trump has already withdrawn from the trans-pacific partnership, authorised the Keystone Pipeline and appointed the conservative Neil Gorsuch a seat on the Supreme Court of Justice. Yet, not all that the President has claimed to have done has been a success and, in some cases, the credit cannot be attributed to him at all.
Trump supporters have repeatedly argued that this business mogul has the ability to bring back jobs to America and strengthen the economy. So, how has he done so far? If you take the Trump narrative at face value it looks promising, with 533,000 jobs created in the first three months of 2017, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. However, the statistics for January (216,000 jobs created) reflect the period before he was inaugurated as President and the figures for February (219,000 jobs created) were only calculated three weeks into his administration. In fact, the March numbers, which reflect the first full month of Trump’s influence, are the lowest of 2017, with just 98,000 created.
Sticking with financial matters, when it comes to the controversial conversation about taxes, it is not just Donald Trump’s refusal to publish his own that worries America, but also the fact that he has failed to produce a detailed tax plan. Indeed, the only insight we can gain from his one-page summary is that he is keen to abolish the Alternative Minimum Tax that ensures the wealthiest in society pass a minimum tax threshold. This raises questions about the fairness of the President’s plan which, for now, appears to be shrouded in mystery.
Next, we come to the President’s cabinet: a Secretary of State with no political experience; a Secretary of Justice who lied about his connections to Russia; a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development with no qualifications for the role; and a Secretary of Education with seemingly little knowledge of America’s schooling system. Of course it is not all bad news. With Trump’s cabinet finally full, there are members with considerable experiences, such as Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, and Secretary of Labour, Alexander Acosta. One can only hope that their political knowledge can supplement the limited insight of the President as he finally admits that the job is harder than he expected.
When it comes to women’s rights, the President did not get off to a strong start, with the infamous voice recording leaked during the campaign casting a shadow over his presidency. From my perspective, he has failed to make progress from there. Whilst his wife and eldest daughter appear oblivious to his sexism, images of a room full of men making decisions on de-funding maternity care and withholding money from organisations that fund abortion send a clear message that the female opinion is inferior. Moreover, Trump’s budget cuts threaten to remove the Office of Global Women’s Issues, demeaning the human rights of women everywhere.
Perhaps the most infamous policy so far has been Trump’s failed attempts to implement a travel ban, barring entry from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan) and lowering America’s intake of refugees. Although he argued this was done in the interest of protecting America, Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric is likely to alienate different cultures further and provide propaganda for ISIS who consistently portray the West as hostile to Islam.
Yet, despite continued protests against his policies, there has been praise for the 45th President of the USA, most notably over his decision to strike Syria after Assad’s suspected chemical attack on his own citizens. This dramatic change in policy came after the President felt emotionally compelled to act after seeing images of dying children. Reports even suggest it was the influence given by Ivanka that motivated Trump’s actions. This begs the question of whether we should be worried that the most important foreign policy decisions are being determined by the tears of the President’s daughter. Whilst acting in defence of helpless children is always commendable, it is hard to praise a man who launches an attack with one hand yet closes off America’s borders to these same vulnerable people with the other.
So, in the first one hundred days, much has been spoken about but little has been done, and what has been achieved does not instil me with much confidence. Whilst Trump’s attempts to create a travel ban and repeal The Affordable Care Act have so far failed drastically, this does not mean that his plans will not eventually progress. Granted, approval ratings remain historically low at about 41%, but the President is not showing any signs of toning down his controversial policies, like building the wall and draining the swamp. As the next one hundred days progress, Trump battles on, despite his setbacks, determined to enact his promised policies.
One hundred days in and in my eyes, the future is as uncertain as ever. Despite the use of misogynistic, racist and provocative language that dominated the President’s campaign, I vowed to give him a chance to prove his worth as a President because ultimately, whether you like the man or not, it is counter-productive to wish him to fail. But, three months later and the President has already violated numerous universally accepted values, leaving me with the question: How many chances does this man really deserve?