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The first year of Trump’s presidency in graphics

Donald Trump came into office promising to change the face of American politics and transfer power “back to the people”. So what has he achieved so far, at the 12-month mark?

We’re tracking the president’s progress on his agenda and how it is received by the American public and the wider world. And there are interesting – and surprising – comparisons with some of his predecessors.

How are his approval ratings?

Donald Trump is one of the most unpopular presidents in the modern era. His weekly approval rating is languishing at 39% after 12 months in office, according to Gallup.

Presidents Barack Obama (50%), Bill Clinton (54%) and George W Bush (83%) were way higher at this point.

His average over the year is also 39%, which is the lowest recorded of any elected president in his first term. Clinton had the previous lowest at 49%.

Even Gerald Ford was in the high 40s after 12 months in office, according to Gallup, following his politically radioactive pardon of predecessor Richard Nixon for the Watergate scandal.

When Mr Trump assumed office on 20 January he had the lowest approval rating of any incoming president. He won the election with anaemic numbers, so it’s unsurprising they’re still poor.

What may alarm the White House is some opinion polls indicate support is slipping for Mr Trump among his core voters, including white men without a college degree and rural Americans.

If his ratings continue to feel gravity’s pull, expect anxious conversations in the Republican ranks as Congress gears up for the November 2018 mid-terms.

And what about overseas?

The image of US leadership has fallen since Mr Trump took office, according to Gallup, falling 18% points since Barack Obama left office.

It’s also four points below Gallup’s previous lowest point which was under George W Bush – 34%.

Has Trump moved to cut illegal immigration?

Building a border wall paid for by Mexico was President Trump’s signature issue during the election campaign but it is no nearer to happening.

There are prototypes built but the Democrats have refused to approve a penny towards it and Mexico’s leaders say they will never pay.

President Trump continues to press Congress to change US immigration laws, including ending the visa lottery system and “chain migration” that gives priority to relatives of existing legal US residents.

In the meantime, he has signed two executive memos that instruct immigration officers to take a much tougher approach towards enforcing existing measures.

In October, the Trump administration announced it was ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca) programme, which granted normalised residency status to roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the US when they were young.

The White House and Congress have attempted to negotiate a means to enact legislation providing similar protections, but no final agreement has been reached.

Immigration enforcement – and President Trump’s tough rhetoric – may have led to a drop in the number of people trying to cross illegally into the US in the early months of the new administration, but the numbers rebounded in 2017.

The new president’s talk of a crackdown on illegal immigrants makes it sound as if they had an easy ride under President Obama, but he was labelled deporter-in-chief for a reason.

Between 2009-15, the Obama administration deported more than 2.5 million people – most of whom had been convicted of some form of criminal offence or were recent arrivals.

But an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants still live in the US, many from Mexico.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has launched a series of raids across the country since Mr Trump was elected – a change from the Obama administration’s focus on areas along the US border – leading to a 40% monthly increase over the latter part of the previous administration.

That hasn’t led to more deportations yet, however. Instead, there is now a backlog of more than 600,000 cases awaiting final review by immigration judges.

How is the economy faring under Trump?

During the campaign, Mr Trump vowed to create 25 million jobs over 10 years and become “the greatest jobs president… ever”.

He used to claim the actual unemployment rate was more than 40%. Now he’s America’s CEO, he’s embracing the same jobless figures he once dismissed as “phony”.

The basic trajectory of the economy under President Trump remains the same as it was under President Obama.

The jobless rate hit a 17-year low of 4.1% in October and has remained there, putting the labour market at or close to so-called full employment after 81 consecutive months of growth.

Stock markets have hit record highs, oil prices remain low, consumer and small-business confidence is buoyant, and inflation is under control.

Retail sales has begun to pick up, although auto sales declined in 2017. Wage growth remains sluggish.

The White House has set a growth target of 3%, which the US surpassed in the second and third quarters of 2017, marking 42 straight months of economic expansion.

And Republicans hope that their tax cuts will help boost growth, although experts argue about whether history provides evidence that one follows the other.

What bills has Trump signed into law or passed on his own?

“We have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman,” Mr Trump said in late December.

The president has signed off 107 bills during his first year in office, trailing his three most recent predecessors in totals, according to the nonpartisan website GovTrack, which tracks bills in US Congress.

Mr Trump falls behind George W Bush (118) and Barack Obama (124), but he did manage to pass the most sweeping overhaul of the US tax system in more than three decades before the year’s end.

The president has also claimed he has passed more legislation than any president since Harry Truman, which was only correct during his first 100 days in office. He has since fallen behind previous administrations, GovTrack found.

More than 30 pieces of legislation signed into law by the president appear to be modifications or extensions to existing law, an analysis by National Public Radio shows.

A dozen bills focused on honouring people or organisations, including renaming a building in Nashville and appointing individuals to a museum board, the analysis found.

The president also exercises political power through unilateral executive orders and memoranda, which allow him to bypass the legislative process in Congress in certain policy areas.

He wasted little time in using this tool, moving to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, cut business regulations and push ahead with the construction of two controversial pipelines.

But executive orders are limited in their power, because they cannot assign those agencies new funds or introduce new laws. Both of those powers are held by Congress.

We have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.

(President Trump, 27 December)


One thing that didn’t go well – healthcare

Healthcare was always going to be an early test for President Trump after he made it a centrepiece of his election campaign.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act helped more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans to finally get health cover, but it has suffered from rising premiums and Mr Trump said he would “immediately repeal and replace” it.

The House Republican bill eventually passed despite a damning assessment from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan federal agency, which said it would result in 24 million more uninsured Americans by 2026.

But the Senate failed to bring its own controversial version to a vote, citing a lack of support. It marked an embarrassing episode for President Trump and the Republican Party, which controls the presidency and both chambers of Congress for the first time in 11 years.

But Mr Trump has moved to upend his predecessor’s signature law in other ways. He suspended payments to insurance companies that help them offset the cost of insuring poorer, sicker Americans.

The administration also cut funding to encourage Americans to sign up on the government-run health exchanges while Congressional Republicans stuck a provision in the tax bill that removed the individual mandate, the requirement that all Americans buy health insurance or face a fine. Many viewed the mandate as the key to ensuring the law could work.

Repealing the mandate could prompt healthier Americans to skip insurance, driving up premiums for sicker customers.

The CBO estimates the number of uninsured Americans could increase by 13 million by 2027 while premiums on the individual market could rise 10% a year over the next decade. But until the mandate is official removed in January 2019, it remains unclear whether it will roil the insurance markets.