On January 30, Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, which she deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional; Trump immediately dismissed her. Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and on February 5 a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation. On March 6, Trump issued a revised order, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, and removed priorities for Christian minorities. Again federal judges in three states blocked its implementation. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban could be enforced on visitors who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
The Trump administration has been characterized by high turnover, particularly among White House staff. By the end of Trump's first year in office, 34 percent of his original staff had resigned, been fired, or been reassigned. As of early July 2018, 61 percent of Trump's senior aides had left and 141 staffers had left in the past year. Both figures set a record for recent presidents—more change in the first 13 months than his four immediate predecessors saw in their first two years. Notable early departures included National Security Advisor Mike Flynn (after just 25 days in office), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, replaced by retired Marine General John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Close personal aides to Trump such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, John McEntee and Keith Schiller, have quit or been forced out.
Starting in the 1990s, Trump was a guest about 24 times on the nationally syndicated Howard Stern Show on talk radio. Trump also had his own short-form talk radio program called Trumped! (one to two minutes on weekdays) from 2004 to 2008. In 2011, Trump was given a weekly unpaid guest commentator spot on Fox & Friends that continued until he started his Presidential candidacy in 2015.
The paradox of the Trump campaign is that its biggest asset, Trump, is also at times its most intractable—a weapon that threatens, at any moment, to blow up in its face. He’s a constant critic of his own operation. “Trump trusts absolutely nobody,” a former top West Wing official told me. That includes Stepien and DeStefano. In recent months, Trump has complained to aides that he’s not being well served by the White House political operation, according to multiple Republicans who’ve spoken with Trump. Trump has told people he questions DeStefano’s loyalty after DeStefano developed a close relationship with the president’s long-suffering chief of staff and nemesis, John Kelly. “Trump openly questions Johnny,” a former official told me. “He asks people, ‘Is he to be trusted?’” A source said Trump has also complained that Stepien is too cautious because Stepien was among advisers who told Trump not to take sides in Republican primary elections.
During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; after legal challenges, the Supreme Court upheld the policy's third revision. He signed tax cut legislation which also rescinded the individual insurance mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act and opened the Arctic Refuge for oil drilling. He enacted a partial repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act that had imposed stricter constraints on banks in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He pursued his America First agenda in foreign policy, withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and imposed import tariffs on various goods, triggering a trade war with China.
In January 2018, The Washington Post reported that Mueller wants to interview Trump about the removal of Michael Flynn and James Comey. Trump has expressed a willingness to do the interview; according to The New York Times, some of his lawyers have warned against doing so. Mueller can subpoena Trump to testify if Trump refuses. As of March 2018, Trump is reportedly a "subject" of the investigation, meaning his conduct is being looked at, but not a "target" which would indicate the likelihood of criminal charges.
In December 2016, Time named Trump as its "Person of the Year". In an interview on The Today Show, he said he was honored by the award, but he took issue with the magazine for referring to him as the "President of the Divided States of America." In the same month, he was named Financial Times Person of the Year. In December 2016, Forbes ranked Trump the second most powerful person in the world, after Vladimir Putin and before Angela Merkel. In 2015, Robert Gordon University revoked the honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) it had granted Trump in 2010, stating that "Mr. Trump has made a number of statements that are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university."
"We are losing our influence because this is the type of man who calls a woman a 'horseface.' By the way, a woman he chose to have sex with. I don't know where that begins and ends and I wouldn't want to pick that apart," Brzezinski said on Morning Joe Tuesday. "If you look at how he is speaking on the international stage about the murder of a Washington Post reporter [Jamal Khashoggi], that itself should be deeply disturbing to anybody who works inside the White House...At some point, you are working for a president who is not fit to lead, who is going to do something crazy in five minutes, one hour, tonight or tomorrow. What more do you need to hear from him to start thinking 25th Amendment or something else?"
I have wobbled back and forth on the idea of supporting President Trump in 2020. I opposed him in 2016 and voted third party. The candidate I supported, Evan McMullin, has, like so many others, abandoned all his values as his hatred of Trump poisons his conscience. I dare say the worst mistake in my life was not climbing a mountain only to remember I was scared of heights or playing with a scalpel that nearly cut off my finger as a kid. It was voting for McMullin.
Trump acquired his third casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal, in 1988 while it was under construction, through a complex transaction with Merv Griffin and Resorts International. It was completed at a cost of $1.1 billion and opened in April 1990. The project was financed with $675 million in junk bonds and was a major gamble by Trump. The project underwent debt restructuring the following year, leaving Trump with 50 percent ownership. Facing "enormous debt", he sold his airline, Trump Shuttle, and his 282-foot (86 m) megayacht, the Trump Princess, which had been indefinitely docked in Atlantic City while leased to his casinos for use by wealthy gamblers.
Vice President Mike Pence strongly denied charges lodged by an August 5 New York Times report, which speculated that the Vice President was orchestrating a "shadow campaign" for the presidency in the 2020 election. Pence called the accusations "disgraceful and offensive" and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway called the story a "complete fiction, complete fabrication".
The alt-right movement coalesced around Trump's candidacy, due in part to its opposition to multiculturalism and immigration. Members of the alt-right enthusiastically supported Trump's campaign. In August 2016, he appointed Steve Bannon—the executive chairman of Breitbart News—as his campaign CEO; Bannon described Breitbart News as "the platform for the alt-right." Trump personally condemned the alt-right in an interview after the election.
For much of the country, the situation at the border posed a moral crisis. But for the Trump campaign, the quandary was political. Immigration was not only a Trumpian rhetorical staple—Build the Wall! Mexico Will Pay For It!—but mostly a winning issue for the G.O.P. Now, the news that the United States government had forcibly separated as many as 2,000 children from their families, a number of them with little hope of ever being re-united, was a bridge Republicans weren’t willing to cross with Trump. Michael Hayden, C.I.A. director under George W. Bush, compared the detention camps to Auschwitz. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell privately told Trump he would “go down big on the issue,” a Republican briefed on the conversations told me. And so, Trump, who prides himself on an umbilical connection to his base, did the most un-Trumpian of things: he blinked. As the furor over child separations intensified, and with the midterms looming and Robert Mueller circling ever closer, the stakes were existential. “He felt trapped,” recalled a Republican who spoke with the president during the deliberations. Walk the policy back, and he risked angering his hard-line anti-immigration base; dig in and it would further galvanize Democrats and independents to vote against Republicans in November, likely tilting the House, and possibly even the Senate, in their favor, and facilitating the possibility of an impeachment trial. “This election is very simple,” Steve Bannon told me recently. “It’s an up-or-down vote on impeachment.”
In late January 2017 several members of Trump's 2016 campaign staff formed America First Policies, a pro-Trump political nonprofit. Those involved included former deputy campaign chairs Rick Gates and David Bossie. Brad Parscale and Katrina Pierson were also involved. Additionally involved were Nick Ayers and Marty Obst, both of whom served as advisors to Mike Pence during the 2016 campaign. Trump's former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh has also joined the organization. Near the end of May, members of the organization (including Walsh) participated in meetings at the RNC's D.C. offices with members Trump's family to discuss campaign strategy.
“Part of what he’s doing that makes it feel like a reality show is that he is feeding you something every night,” said Brent Montgomery, chief executive of Wheelhouse Entertainment and the creator of “Pawn Stars,” about the Trump show’s rotating cast and daily plot twists (picking a fight with the N.F.L., praising Kim Jong-un). “You can’t afford to miss one episode or you’re left behind.”
On September 26, Trump also attended a campaign fundraising dinner hosted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) in New York City. The event was reported to have raised nearly $5 million, with major donors spending up to $250,000 to dine with President Trump. Since Trump scheduled for a quick meeting with Nikki Haley and other U.N. officials immediately prior the fundraiser, he was able to file the travel expenses related to that visit to New York as "government business", thus making them the expense of the American taxpayer, and not his campaign. Trump's pattern of mixing travel for fundraising activities with travel for government business has drawn criticism from government watchdog organizations.
Nell Scovell, a veteran comedy writer and author of “Just the Funny Parts: … And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking Into the Hollywood Boys’ Club,” has another theory. She remembers a cab ride in Boston before the 2016 election. The driver told her he would be voting for Mr. Trump. Why? she asked. “He said, ‘Because he makes me laugh,’” Ms. Scovell told me. “There is entertainment value in the chaos.”
The idea gaining currency on the right is that Trump can be Bill Clinton, not Richard Nixon. It depends on a delicate political calculation — that a Republican-held Senate would never follow a Democratic House and vote to remove Trump, and that voters tired of the long-running Russia scandal will, as they did in the late 1990s with Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, want to move on.
Trump has praised China's President Xi Jinping, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. On April 7, 2017, Trump ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airfield in retaliation for the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack. On April 13, 2018, he announced missile strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, following a suspected chemical attack near Damascus. According to investigative journalist Bob Woodward, Trump had ordered his Defense Secretary James Mattis to assassinate Assad, but Mattis declined.
The reports gave rise to speculation that not only was the president’s re-election campaign itself ordering campaign items produced in China rather than in the U.S., but that they were attempting to mitigate against the increased costs that would come with the tariffs by pushing for the quick completion of those materials — moves that would provide a double dose of irony for a politician who has famously emphasized prioritizing American jobs and manufacturing.
On November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 pledged electoral votes versus 232 for Clinton. The official counts were 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides. Trump received a smaller share of the popular vote than Clinton, which made him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote.[nb 3] Clinton was ahead nationwide by 2.1 percentage points, with 65,853,514 votes (48.18%) to 62,984,828 votes (46.09%); neither candidate reached a majority.
On May 1 the campaign announced that they were spending $1.5 million on national advertisements touting Trump's accomplishments in the first hundred days." The ad buy, which included advertisements targeted at voters who supported specific agenda items of Trump's presidency, came approximately 42 months before election day 2020, or any other major party's candidate declarations. FactCheck.org found several inaccuracies in the advertisement, and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune described the 30-second advertisement as being, "stuffed with Trump's signature misleading puffery". Additionally, original versions of the ad showed Trump shaking hands with H. R. McMaster, an active-duty military member who was barred from participating in any political advocacy while in uniform. Subsequent airings of the advertisement substituted this clip.