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Global News and Perspectives

The Impact of the Trump Era on America

A look at how some critical issues were addressed under the Trump Presidency.

Presidents and prime ministers leave an indelible mark on the country they govern. Every policy, every decision and every speech they make has far-reaching consequences. They have the power to shape — and change — discourse. They have the ability to influence decisions and the potential to change the course of history. The actions of world leaders affect everything from domestic policy to international relations.
It is little wonder then that when the inexperienced Donald Trump was announced as the 45th President of the United States, the world watched with growing trepidation and fascinated horror.
To say that the Trump Presidency has been controversial would be an understatement. From his treatment of immigrants to the nuclear deal with Iran, from the Paris Climate Accords to the trade deals in Europe, Trump has upturned nearly every policy decision made by his predecessor — more often than not, to disastrous consequences.
Below is a brief assessment of the impact of the Trump Presidency on critical issues.

Economy

The economic record of the Trump presidency can only be described as discordant. While impressive improvements have been made in some areas (particularly in wage growth, which has finally started to pick up after years of stagnation), the overall picture looks rather bleak. The country largely seems to be in recovery mode, and manufacturing continues to face a prolonged and significant slump.
Trump’s biggest policy achievement seems to be the $1.5tn tax cut that was pushed through in November 2017. However, analysts suggest that although promoted as a “middle-class miracle” that would benefit the masses, the policy was, in fact, a giveaway to the rich that will allow billionaires to pay less tax than the working class.
The president’s erratic and irresponsible approach to previously sealed trade deals has antagonized trade partners and landed the country in trade wars that have further contributed to the economic slowdown. The ongoing US-China trade war has already negatively affected the world economy, and things are only expected to get worse.
Trump won his first election on the promise of reviving the economy. His second election will be determined by whether or not he can deliver on the promises made to “bring back jobs, bring back manufacturing” and become “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

Environment

As a climate change denier, Trump’s dismissive attitude to global warming is not surprising, even if it is alarming.
Terming climate change an “expensive hoax,” the Trump administration is overseeing the dismantling of more than 80 environment-friendly policies. It has also rolled back several of the progressive steps set in motion by former president, Obama. These include revoking the program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, relaxing standards for fuel efficiency in cars and reversing the ban on pesticides that have been found to be harmful for children.

In 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report, warning that we have only a couple of years before global temperatures reach new highs and result in an increase in natural calamities across the world. Even as international experts emphasized the urgent need for countries to adopt environment-friendly policies, Trump decisively rejected the report. He stated that he has a “natural instinct for science” and that the climate “goes back and forth.” His cavalier attitude on one of the most pressing issues of our time is distressing, to say the least.

Immigration

Trump’s xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric and his oft-repeated promise to build a border wall between the US and Mexico were the focus of his presidential campaign.
It is no wonder then that his presidency will perhaps be most infamously associated with the harrowing images of migrant children separated from their families at the border and placed in cages. Media attention helped uncover stories of inhumane treatment, provoking bipartisan criticism and global condemnation, forcing even Ivanka Trump, daughter and senior advisor to Trump, to admit that it was a “low point” in the presidency.
The administration is also responsible for the notorious travel ban that targeted Muslim-majority countries, making the lives of immigrants from these countries extremely difficult. Trump has reduced the number of refugees allowed in the US to the record-low of 30,000 per year, while also threatening to end birthright citizenship.

Judiciary

The Trump administration’s blatant manipulation of judicial posts holds damaging long-term implications for the country.
Not only has Trump, along with Senate leader Mitch McConnell, bent the law to block the progress of ideologically-different judges, they have also done their very best to fill the courts with conservative white male judges. Several of these judges have been given lifetime appointments, ensuring that even after Trump’s presidency ends, these judges toe the Republican Party line on issues of importance — whether it is gun control, abortion rights, environmental laws, voting rights or labour issues.
Trump’s most controversial appointment was Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed as a Supreme Court Judge amidst vociferous protest over his alleged sexual misconduct.

International Students

The Trump administration has implemented restrictive policies that have made it difficult for international students to pursue their education in the US.
Students found violating their visa conditions face harsh punishment, even if the violation was unintentional. Permit programs that allow students to find work in the US after their graduation have now come under increased scrutiny, making it difficult for students to maintain a legal status in the country. These conditions have driven international students away from the US.

A Four-Year Presidency with Long-Lasting Impact

It is often remarked that Trump has wreaked irrevocable damage in his four years as President, far surpassing the good work done by other Presidents over two terms.
Whether it is immigration, the environment, the judiciary or the economy, Trump has been accused of taking irrational, irresponsible decisions. Since the first day of his presidency, the Trump administration has been busy putting out fires that are, more often than not, started by their leader.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the US — and the world — will continue to face the consequences of the Trump presidency for a long, long time.

Date added
09.01.2020

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