How well has US President Trump done so far?

After four weeks in the White House, Trump says incredible progress has been made

News Desk February 20, 2017
US President Donald Trump smiles a as he holds a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International...KEVIN LAMARQUE February 18, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

US President Donald Trump came into office on January 20, 2017, claiming to change the face of American politics and transfer power "back to the people".

After four weeks in the White House, he said: "incredible progress" had been made, having signed at least two dozen executive actions and put his signature on several bills, BBC reported.

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travelers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, US PHOTO: REUTERS US President Donald Trump signs an executive order to impose tighter vetting of travellers entering the United States, at the Pentagon in Washington, US. PHOTO: REUTERS

Recently, Trump also fired his national security adviser and acting attorney general, who defied his seven-nation travel ban, which later suffered an appeals court defeat.

Here’s a brief review of Trump’s achievements after taking office.

First executive actions

President Trump quickly moved to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, cut business regulations and push ahead with completing the construction of two controversial pipelines.

While it may appear that he has been signing executive actions at an unprecedented rate, he has signed less than President Obama did during the same period in office.

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Trump has used many of these actions to deliver on some of his campaign promises, but many of his promises cannot be fulfilled by executive action alone.

For example, his first executive order was designed to limit the effect of Obamacare, but his promise of repealing and replacing it can only be enacted by Congress.

Trump’s approval ratings

When Trump took the oath of office, he did so with the lowest approval rating of any incoming president.

He dismissed those polls as "rigged" but the strength of the opposition to him was obvious when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets the day after his inauguration.

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Most presidents begin their term with big approval numbers, but Trump has bucked that very trend. When George W Bush and Barack Obama enjoyed approval numbers in the 60s after one month in office, Trump is around the 40% mark.

Trump won the election with low approval numbers so it is unsurprising they are still low, but the scandal over his team's contacts with Russia and his controversial travel ban have kept them falling.

Economy under Trump

When Obama became president in 2009, the US was in the midst of its worst recession since the 1930s, with the economy shedding 800,000 jobs in his first month.

But after a few dips in the same year, the US economy saw its longest ever period of job creation and in total, 11.3 million jobs were created.

Trump, however, described the economy as a "mess" and said he had "inherited many problems" from his predecessor.

He has vowed to create 25 million jobs over 10 years and become "the greatest jobs president... ever".

Trump also cited the strong stock market as a sign that his policies are already having an effect.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes all closed at record highs on February 15, in a partial sign showing investors were encouraged by Trump's planned infrastructure projects, deregulation and tax cuts.


Demonstrators spell out Demonstrators spell out "# No Muslim Ban" during the "Boston Protest Against Muslim Ban and Anti-Immigration Orders" in Boston. PHOTO: REUTERS

Trump and illegal immigration

Immigration was Trump's signature issue during the election campaign and to fulfil his promises, he signed two executive orders on January 25.

The first declared that the US would build a "physical wall" or similar "impassable physical barrier" - to the delight of all of those Americans who spent 2016 chanting: "Build the wall!"

It remains to be seen how he will pay for it, although he has repeatedly insisted that the US will recoup the costs from Mexico, despite its leaders saying otherwise.

Trump's second executive order on border security said 10,000 more immigration officers would be hired to track down illegal immigrants - but extra funds will need to be signed off by Congress before this can happen.

Between 2009 and 2015, the Obama administration deported over 2.5 million people - most of whom were convicted of some form of criminal offence or were recent arrivals - leading some to label President Obama the "deporter-in-chief".

Healthcare: a test for Trump

President Obama's Affordable Care Act helped over 20 million previously-uninsured Americans to finally get health cover - but Trump said he would act quickly to "repeal and replace" it.

While the Republican-controlled Congress has started efforts to repeal what's known as Obamacare, it is unclear whether they will try to replace it completely or just repair elements of it.

The scheme has faced several problems along the way and premium hikes in 2016 helped the Republicans frame it as a failure during the election campaign.

This story originally appeared on BBC.


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