—Esther Chung, Head Copy Editor—
The first year of the Trump presidency was one like no other. From the moment he stepped into the office, Trump challenged political normality as one of the very few American presidents with no political background. With such a unique presidency, there’s no doubt that this past year was one of great change. So what exactly has happened since last January? Here’s a timeline of the most monumental events that mark Trump’s first year.
During this month, Trump signed a slew of executive orders, starting with his plan to roll back Obamacare. Other executive orders included orders to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to progress with the Keystone Dakota Access Pipeline, and most prominently, two orders for a wall to be built between the US and Mexico. Later in the month, another executive order was signed in what became known as the travel ban. Proceeding this order, he fired Attorney General Sally Yates for “refusing to enforce” the ban.
The month of February welcomed new faces into the Trump administration, from the controversial Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary to Jeff Sessions as the new Attorney General. At the same time, they also bid farewell to Michael Flynn, who served a month-long stint as the National Security Advisor before resigning. During this time, suspicions about Russian involvement in the elections began to arise.
March was a chaotic month, starting off with reports of undisclosed meetings Sessions had in 2016 with Sergey Kislyak, then-Russian Ambassador to the US. A few days later, Trump made bold accusations that Obama had wiretapping the Trump Tower, despite his lack of evidence. Trump also signed a new travel ban, this time exempting Iraq. At the same time, the House GOP presents a new bill meant to remove and replace Obamacare. (Later this month, it is rejected.) Less than two weeks in, the Justice Department ignited anger as they fired 46 US attorneys at the request of Sessions, without any prior warning. Towards the end of the month, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that they had begun investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russian involvement in the election. Ivanka Trump also stirred up a controversy as she made her White House job (“adviser” to the President) official.
In April, the US got involved overseas. A military strike on a Syrian government airbase was launched in response to chemical attacks that killed many civilians. Additionally, the US military dropped America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb (a MOAB) in Afghanistan as they targeted ISIS. Meanwhile, back in the US, the Trumps hosted their first Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, following the long-held tradition. At the 100-day mark, polls from ABC, NBC, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal showed less-than-satisfactory ratings; in fact, they reported the lowest level of support seen for any modern president.
In May, the House Republicans finally passed a bill to replace Obamacare. However, things took a turn for the worse when ex-Attorney General Sally Yates testified before Senate about Russian involvement. The following day, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and the grand jury issued subpoenas in the FBI’s Russia probe, the first sign of significant escalation of activity in these investigations. In mid May, the Comey memo revealed that President Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into Flynn. This allegation was denied by Trump, however. Meanwhile, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. To finish the month off, Trump took his first foreign trip as President, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican.
June began with Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, drawing criticism from countries around the world. During the second week, Comey finally testified before Senate, Melania moved into the White House, Trump’s travel ban was once again rejected in court, and Mueller reportedly began investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, though later denied by both Trump and his lawyer. Towards the end of June, the Supreme Court allowed part of Trump’s travel ban to take effect months after its initial proposal.
In July, Ivanka attended the G20 Summit in her father’s place, and Donald Trump Jr. admitted he met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, going as far as to release his chain of emails on his Russian meeting that took place at Trump Tower. In late July, Sean Spicer was replaced by Anthony Scaramucci, only to be fired after just a week on the job. Meanwhile, the bill meant to repeal Obamacare failed by one vote.
The White House began renovations in August, while things got heated between the US and North Korea amidst threats of nuclear war. In light of the Charlottesville protest, Trump condemns the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists after the public expressed anger over his initial silence. In mid August, chief strategist Steve Bannon was fired. At the end of August, Hurricane Harvey brought chaos and destruction, and in the aftermath, Trump visited Texas promising storm recovery “better than ever before.”
In September, Trump decided to end DACA but gave Congress a window to save it: six months. On the 11th, he honored the victims and heroes of 9/11, and later in the month, he voiced his dissent on those who protested the national anthem. Trump inaugural committee donated $3 million for hurricane relief, and tensions continued to rise between North Korea and the US as the month came to a close.
October began with the Las Vegas shooting tragedy, which took 58 lives and left over 500 injured. Then, in the second week, the EPA withdrew from the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, and days later quietly released a four-year plan that caused controversy due to its lack of the words “climate change” even appearing once over 38 pages. On October 20th, Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. Then, at the end of the month, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign official Rick Gates were indicted by federal grand jury.
In November, Trump embarked on his Asia trip, stopping by countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, and most notably, Russia. After returning, he pledged to end violence in Myanmar. Then, on Thanksgiving day, Trump celebrated the holiday at his own Mar-a-Lago, taking time off the next day to golf with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.
In the last month of 2016, Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to FBI and began cooperating with Mueller. Tensions over nuclear war increased with North Korea, and in the Middle East, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital caused a lot of controversy. Back in the US, Trump caused more controversy as he rallied for Roy Moore’s senatorial campaign in Pensacola to the outrage of many, due to the allegations of sexual assault against Moore. By the 15th, Trump and Bannon were urging Moore to concede, however. Towards the end of 2016, Trump signed a historic tax cut bill and on Christmas Eve, wished troops a merry Christmas.