10 big political moments since Trump’s election
A year after Donald Trump won the presidential election in one of the biggest political upsets in modern U.S. history, he and his team have struggled to advance key parts of their legislative agenda.
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So some of the biggest political moments since the stunning electoral victory have come both from that push for policy changes, as well as the clash of personalities.
Here are 10 of the biggest political moments since Trump won the election a year ago today.
1. Jan. 27: First iteration of travel ban proposed
The proposal to ban people from certain countries from entering the United States has gone through a number of legal hurdles and multiple versions, but it was originally put in place via executive order Jan. 27.
The original order, named “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” took immediate effect to bar admission to the United States of all people with nonimmigrant or immigrant visas from seven countries — Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days.
It also barred entry to all refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days and placed an indefinite ban on refugees from war-torn Syria.
But federal judges blocked the measure and circuit court judges denied an emergency stay. A second executive order was issued, but also challenged in court. The Supreme Court eventually said that it would allow parts of the second executive order to go into effect, including the 120-day ban on refugees from entering the country, and said it would hear arguments on the case in October before canceling that in September.
2. April 7: Putting a judge on the bench
One of the clearest accomplishments of his term so far has been confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, though even that was not without controversy.
In order to get Gorsuch confirmed, the Senate voted to change the longstanding confirmation process and lower the 60-vote threshold to a simple majority vote because Republicans did not have enough votes to confirm Gorsuch on their own. The move, known as “going nuclear,” means that from now on only 51 votes are required for such a confirmation.
3. June 1: Trump withdraws from Paris agreement
Trump announced he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
“The United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris Accord or really an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States,” the president said in the Rose Garden. “So we are getting out, but we are starting to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”
The decision fulfilled a key promise Trump made on the campaign trail and overturned a major accomplishment by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
4. July 21: The summer staffing slaughter [or major personnel shifts in the White House]
A series of key White House staffers left their posts in a nearly weekly succession beginning in late-July and carrying through mid-August.
5. July 28: Republican health care replacement plan fails
Senate Republicans’ effort to pass a stripped-down version of an Obamacare repeal measure — the so-called “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act — failed during a vote, 49-51, held shortly around 1:30 a.m. after a night of debating.
About an hour after the vote was announced, President Donald Trump, tweeted, “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was among the Republicans who voted ‘no.’ There were gasps and applause from the Senate floor when McCain voted. The other Republicans who voted ‘no’ were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
6. Aug. 15: Uproar over remarks that there were ‘fine people on both sides’ at Charlottesville
Trump was criticized for his initial response to violent protests stemming from a planned rally against the removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, but his response to the criticism made matters worse.
When asked about his immediate response, Trump blamed “both sides” for the conflict, adding that there were “very fine people” among both the protesters — which included white supremacists and white nationalists — and the counterprotesters.
“I think there is blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said.
He later issued a statement condemning white supremacist groups, though his “very fine” comments were widely rejected by both Republicans and Democrats.
7. Sept 1: Companies selected for border wall prototypes
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that four vendors were selected to design and build prototypes for the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Each of the selected companies has been tasked with building one wall prototype made of “reinforced concrete” along the border in San Diego. CBP will decide on up to four additional vendors that will be selected to build wall prototypes made of nonconcrete materials.
The promise to “build the wall” became a campaign slogan for Trump and was regularly chanted at his campaign.
8. Sept 19: Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea at UN
In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Trump used the platform to slam North Korean leader “rocket man” Kim Jong Un.
At first, Trump did not name the North Korean leader, using a nickname that Trump had previously coined instead.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy
North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary,” Trump said.
The remarks came after a summer of escalating tensions with North Korea.
9. Oct 24: Infighting in Republican Party
A number of squabbles have cropped up between Trump and members of his own party over the course of the past 12 months, but they appeared to reach a tipping point in late-October with Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Trump and Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was an ally of Trump’s during the election, had been having a war of words for weeks. The back and forth largely took place over Twitter, and Corker took to referring to the White House as an “adult day care center.”
That same day, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced he would not seek re-election and gave a speech on the Senate floor slamming the tone of politics in the Trump era.
“I rise today to say, enough,” Flake said. “We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalies never becomes the normal, with respect and humility. I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it.”
10. Oct. 30: First charges doled out from Russia investigation
The investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was officially launched in mid-May, but it wasn’t until the end of October that the first criminal charges were handed out.
One former Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents. Additionally, former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Manafort’s longtime associate Rick Gates were indicted on charges, including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and working as unregistered foreign agents. They entered not guilty pleas.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect title for Sens. Collins and Murkowski. The story has been updated.