A look back at the presidency of Donald Trump


White House

U.S. President Donald Trump meets North Korean President Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea on June 30, 2019.

Sayan Sonnad-Joshi

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States after beating Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College vote on Jan. 20, 2017. No one could’ve predicted what his next four years in office would look like, from a trade war with China to the deadliest pandemic in U.S. history. 

With many of his decisions having a lasting impact on America, it becomes important to look back at President Donald Trump’s time in office.

As president, one of Trump’s most recognizable acts was becoming the first sitting U.S. president to meet with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. The relationship between the U.S. and North Korea has always been turbulent, but Trump vowed during his campaign to try and fix the worsening relationship. 

Trump’s efforts culminated in the first of two meetings between the two leaders on June 12, 2018.  During the meetings, North Korea agreed to shut down its intercontinental ballistic missile facilities and agreed to negotiate the dismantling of its nuclear weapons program

The meeting eased increasingly dangerous tensions between the U.S. and North Korea while also showing progress in the right direction. These meetings were a great move on Trump’s part and showed his willingness to work with dictatorial leaders for peace. The meeting strengthened the American peoples’ trust in Donald Trump and the world’s view of him as president.

One event from the Trump presidency that was extremely harmful to the country was the U.S.-China Trade War. The trade war ruined our relationship with China and caused higher unemployment and a turbulent economy. The “war” was officially started on July 6, 2018, when Trump invoked  $34 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods to fix China’s “unfair trade practices.” Two days later, China responded with $60 billion of tariffs, which prompted Trump to respond with $50 billion more of tariffs. 

Eventually, tariffs reached over $100 billion, negatively impacting the two biggest economies in the world. The trade war is still ongoing, though it has slowed down. As a result, the U.S. and China both lost an estimated 250,000 jobs each, and $500 billion in trade value with each other. The “war” turned into a battle of egos, as neither leader wanted to back down and concede to the other. This conflict highlighted a dangerous trend from Trump’s presidency, where he let his ego cloud his decision-making.

On Oct. 26, 2019, Trump announced one of the greatest achievements of his presidency, the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Al-Baghdadi led ISIS from 2013 until his death. He orchestrated attacks that killed thousands and was only growing more powerful. The death of Al-Baghdadi left ISIS in disarray. The organization is far weaker than it was with Al-Baghdadi at the helm and has carried out fewer attacks.

The killing of Al-Baghdadi was extremely important internationally and proved to the American people that Trump could deliver on his campaign promises. The raid reinforced the fact that Trump was the right man for the job and was a great achievement for his administration.

In one of the most memorable events of the year, on Dec. 18, 2019, Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, specifically on the charge that he solicited foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election to help his re-election bid. The whistle-blower report claimed Trump withheld military aid and an invitation to the White House to influence Ukraine to investigate current President Joe Biden for now-discredited claims. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presides over the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump. (White House)

The impeachment left a permanent stain on Trump’s record and highlighted many of the internal problems the U.S. government was facing, such as a broken two-party system. The impeachment trial led to a more divided America and had a major impact on the 2020 Presidential Election.

The impeachment trial was the lowest point of Trump’s presidency, and he faced the consequences of his alleged illegal actions. Before the trial, Trump was making dangerous decisions that could have harmed the future of the U.S. The trial showed Trump that he was not invincible and did not have unlimited power. Though Trump was eventually acquitted by a Republican-controlled Senate, the trial shone a bad light on Trump and many of his associates. As bad as the effects of the trial were, it was an important stepping stone in Trump’s presidency.

The most notable event under the Trump Administration has been the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken more than 443,000 lives in the U.S. alone. The first Covid-19 case in the U.S. was discovered on Jan. 19, 2020, and over the next year, Covid19 infections in the U.S. have continued to grow exponentially worse. As of Feb. 1, the U.S. has now had approximately 26.3 million cases of Covid-19. 

President Donald Trump attends a White House coronavirus briefing with top medical officials and cabinet members. (White House)

Trump and his administration have botched the coronavirus situation. From the beginning, Trump downplayed the virus and made dangerous decisions which had a domino effect that led to the current mess. Furthermore, Trump mishandled the vaccine distribution, which has only worsened the U.S.’s coronavirus situation.

Recently, the Senate opened the second impeachment trial forTrump due to, “incitement of insurrection.” The insurrection refers to the January 6th attack on the Capitol Building by Trump supporters, who invaded and wreaked havoc inside. Through the insurrection and second impeachment trial, Trump’s true colors have shone, and he has fallen from grace in the eyes of many. The attack on the Capitol was truly one of the darkest moments in U.S. history and shows the sad state of our divided country.

The Trump presidency’s impacts will be felt for decades to come. Due to the recent insurrection and upcoming second impeachment trial, Trump’s presidency ended on a sour note. The negative impacts of Trump’s presidency outweigh the good. It will be up to Biden to fix Trump’s mistakes, and keep the country moving in the right direction.