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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Donald Trump completes a year in White House: A look back at his controversy-ridden presidency

While these are some of the few controversies that dominated the Trump administration's maiden year in the White House, the shadow of Russian collusion hangs over their head in 2018 as well.

Written by Sibu Tripathi | New Delhi | Updated: January 20, 2018 5:44:52 pm
US President Donald Trump appears on stage at a rally in Harrisburg. (Source: Reuters)

As the United States federal government came to halt on Friday midnight, the shutdown marked the one year anniversary of the Donald Trump presidency. Trump, who was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017, had a tumultuous year in office, mired with political and personal controversies.

Trump emerged as an impulsive leader over the course of his campaign and has flouted numerous norms and outraging not only the Democrats but also his own base of supporters in last one year. The most talked about controversy that created ripples across the world is the alleged collusion of Trump campaign with Russia in a bid to influence the Presidential elections, so as to bring about a Trump presidency.

Here is a list of the most notable controversies that mark the one year of Donald Trump in office: 

Russian Collusion

President Trump has been trying to douse the flames of alleged Russian collusion ever since he took office on January 20. With a special counsel investigating the case, experts opine that the picture is getting clear with every hearing and testimonies. Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation has interviewed former national security advisor Michel Flynn who expressed that he was ready to testify about Russian contacts, as he pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI. President Trump, during one of his campaign rallies, had called on Russian hackers to hack and reveal the truth behind Hillary Clinton’s emails. A hack was then reported at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) systems which influenced the election in favour of then-Republican nominee Trump. It was later revealed that the hack was commission by Russian intelligence.

Firing of James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey received the news of his firing from a television channel during an ongoing interview. Comey’s firing paved the way for Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel into the Russian collusion investigation. Receiving the pink slip from the Commander-in-Chief, Comey went on record and testified in front of the Congress inferencing that the order came as he refused to Trump’s demand of backing off on an investigation against Michael Flynn over Russian collusion. “It’s my judgment, I was fired because of the Russia investigation,” Comey said in a widely televised testimony.

Trump’s travel/Muslim ban

One of the worst controversies that marked President Trump’s first year in office was his push to marginalise and ban people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. Within just a week of being sworn in, he signed the travel ban, prohibiting people from seven Muslim countries, which resulted in widespread protest at airports and entry points across the US. The White House defending the President argued that the move was to protect the country from increasing threats of terrorism. The travel ban was proposed by President Trump’s former advisor Steve Banon (Who was later shown the door). While federal courts managed to keep a check on the government’s bid to implement the ban by quashing the order time and again, Trump succeeded in implementing a refined version of the ban just weeks ago in December 2017, after receiving clearance from the Supreme Court.

Silence on racism and white supremacy

Donald Trump received a barrage of criticism from across the US and the world over his reaction to Charlottesville incident where white supremacist and neo-nazis took out rallies that led to violence. The violence that erupted between white supremacist supporters and those opposing the idea led to the death of a protester Heather Heyer. Reflecting on the incident and the growing violence against the people of colour said, Trump had said: “Hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” The comments resulted in wide criticism of President Trump from veteran Republican leaders like George H W Bush, George W Bush, Sen John McCain among others.

Nicknaming Kim Jong Un

Donald Trump has been known for nicknaming his rivals in the most infamous way. On the campaign trail he had called his rival Hillary Clinton as ‘Crooked Hillary,’ while Marco Rubio as ‘Little Marco.’ Extending his habits to the global diplomacy, Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as ‘Little Rocket Man,’ in a bid to mock Un’s short heighted demeanour and threats of firing nuclear missiles over US mainland. The reference came during a speech at the United Nations where Trump threatened to “Totally destroy North Korea’.”

The recent exchange between the two leaders came when Un in his new year’s speech to North Korean public said that he has a nuclear button at his desk at all times, to this Trump boasted, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Showdown with the NFL

National Football League players who took a knee during the national anthem-as a sign of protest-caught the eyes of President Trump in 2017. The 45th President wasted no time in rebuking the players calling them “son of b****,” during a rally. Trump asked the owners of the different team to throw out these players. Trump said, “people will love if NFL owners reacted to a player taking a knee by saying, Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!”

The comments unified even a much bigger base of NFL players and fans into taking the knee supported by owners of various teams.

Hiring and firing

With the number of appointments and firings taking place in the White House in last one year alone, the White House staff has become ambivalent to job security. The list of people who have been fired within just 365 days of this presidency is long and includes prominent names like Acting attorney general Sally Yates, FBI director James Comey, Advisor Steve Bannon, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Health Secretary Tom Price, Anthony Scaramucci among others.

While these are some of the few controversies that dominated the Trump administration’s maiden year in the White House, the shadow of Russian collusion hangs over their head in 2018 as well. Trump’s claim of building the wall on southern border for which Mexico will pay has also failed to see the light of the day so far. 2018 will judge this Presidency in a whole new way and President Trump is likely to create new headlines across the borders.

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