Four years ago, Donald Trump, in his inaugural address, promised that ” America will start winning again, like never before.” However, he will go down in US history as one of the country’s most controversial leaders.
NV reminds with what unprecedented events, steps and results the United States will remember Donald Trump and the era of his presidency.
1. Two impeachments for one president
Donald Trump became the first president in American history to be impeached twice by the US Congress .
The Senate acquitted the 45th President for the first time on February 5, 2020. Then the House of Representatives put forward two charges: Trump was tried to convict of abuse of power and authority, as well as obstruction of Congress in the investigation of the impeachment case. This was the third time in US history that an impeachment process reached the Senate.
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It was about the fact that Trump, in his personal political interests, put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities. Or rather, he sought from President Volodymyr Zelensky a public statement about the opening of two investigations: about the role of Joe Biden’s son ( Trump’s competitor in the 2020 elections) in the activities of the Ukrainian company Burisma and about the alleged interference of Ukraine ( and not Russia) in the 2016 American elections. The impetus for the impeachment process was Trump’s scandalous telephone conversation with Zelensky and information that, for his own benefit, the president ” froze” military aid to Ukraine.
The course of the second impeachment Trump was given in January 2021, in the last days of his term. The US House of Representatives has accused the president of incitement to rebellion and has called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump . Pence refused to exercise this right, and Congressmen began formal proceedings for a second impeachment. This decision was supported not only by Democrats, but also by 10 Republicans – a record level of bipartisan support for the removal of the president.
Congress decided to take such steps after a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, responding to his speech at a rally several hours earlier.
2. Historic storming of the Capitol after Trump’s speech
The laurels of America’s most controversial speaker could have gone to Donald Trump for just one speech – his speech at a rally in Washington on January 6, 2021. On this day, the US Congress confirmed the victory of Joe Biden. Usually the formal procedure this time turned into a real drama due to the storming of the Capitol by supporters of the 45th president.
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The pogrom came after Trump urged his supporters to “ walk to the Capitol to support our brave senators and congressmen” – and de facto demand non-recognition of the election results. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” the US President addressed the crowd.
Five people were killed in the assault ( among them one policeman), and the world was covered by footage of the barbaric invasion of the Capitol, the evacuation of senators and ransacked congressmen’s offices. After the burning of Washington in 1814 during the Anglo-American War, this was the first such large-scale attack on the building of the US Congress.
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3. The longest government shutdown due to the ” Trump wall”
In December 2018 – January 2019, many American government agencies were forced to suspend work due to the government shutdown , which lasted a record 35 days for the United States .
Donald Trump at the wall on the border with Mexico, which has become a symbol of his migration policy, January 12, 2021 / Photo: REUTERS / Carlos Barria
Government work has been blocked by Trump trying to get Congress to fund his fix – a wall on the border with Mexico . To complete the wall, which has become a symbol of his tough migration policy, Trump demanded $ 5.6 billion. Congress was supposed to put these funds into a project to finance the US government. The House of Representatives, where the majority belonged to the Democrats, rejected such a demand – and the United States met the new 2019 year without an approved budget.
For more than a month, 420,000 American civil servants ( from museum workers to employees of executive departments) were forced to work without wages, and another 380,000 went on unpaid leave.
4. Buy Greenland: Stunning Initiatives in International Politics
For four years, Donald Trump managed to become famous in the international arena as one of the most unpredictable US presidents. Despite the fact that his most famous book is The Art of the Deal ( of The Art of the Deal, 1987), Trump can claim the title of avoidance among other American leaders.
Former White House employee said Trump offered to trade Puerto Rico for Greenland
He pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iranian nuclear deal, the UN Human Rights Council. Even more surprising were the ideas that the US president failed to implement: such as leaving NATO or the initiative to buy Greenland from Denmark ( Trump equated this idea with a “major real estate deal”).
Trump will also go down in history as one of the presidents who implemented the toughest protectionist economic measures – including for the main economic partners of the United States. New tariffs on imports from the EU and China have provoked a series of trade wars, the consequences of which have been felt throughout the world. This made Trump’s attempts to build trusting relationships with authoritarian leaders like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin all the more contrasted.
5. The most chaotic personnel policy in the administration
Trump will be remembered by Americans as a president who valued personal loyalty over skill. Under him, the White House and the entire executive branch of government in the United States were seized by a series of constant resignations and layoffs .
Photo: Brookings Institution
During this time, two secretaries of state were replaced ( two more were acting); two defense ministers ( four more were acting); two attorneys general ( with four acting), three heads of the White House staff ( two others were acting), four presidential advisers for national security.
The Trump administration broke all records in the first year of his presidency. According to the Brookings Institution , turnover in the White House during this period reached 35%, which is several times higher than that of any of Trump’s five predecessors in office.
6. Loss of Record Number of Jobs Amid Unsuccessful Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
In the last weeks of Trump’s presidency, the US Department of Labor released a report according to which the number of jobs in the country fell by 3 million compared with their number at the time of the inauguration of the 45th US president . Analyzing these figures, the Washington Post wrote about another anti-record of the Donald Trump administration: no president in recent US history ( since 1939, when statistics are being kept) have completed his term with a “negative” employment balance – and even so significant.
Photo: Washington Post
The biggest blow to the US economy was the coronavirus pandemic. However, the situation was further aggravated by the insufficiently competent response of the Trump administration to this crisis, states William Spriggs, a leading economist at the American Federation of Labor and a professor at Howard University, in the same WP article. A tougher and more consistent mobilization of all the country’s resources to fight the virus could save at least some of the lost jobs, he said. Whereas Trump has long played down the threat of COVID-19 and promised until May 2020 that the virus would soon “ disappear”.
7. The most scandalous TV debate in US history
In September 2020, the first round of presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden took place, which the American press described as a blow to the very tradition of debates in the United States and perhaps the worst discussion of this kind in the history of the country.
In this round, Trump interrupted his opponent 73 times, which turned the debate into a chaotic skirmish instead of an exchange of views and strategies. The President of the United States has outdone himself: in the course of the debate in 2016, he interrupted his rival Hillary Clinton 51 times. Because of this, the organizing committee of the presidential debate took an unprecedented step: in Trump’s second debate with Biden, candidates were muted at the most important moments of the opponent’s speech.
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8. The ignorant president and the narcissist
Over the four years of Trump’s presidency, as many books have been published about him as few of the current US leaders. Among them were many revealing works by former Trump administration employees or people who worked closely with him.
From the book by John Bolton, the fired US national security adviser ( The Room Where It Happened), the world learned about Trump’s blatant ignorance of international politics . The US leader did not know that Britain possessed nuclear weapons, whether Finland was part of Russia and regularly confused the presidents of other countries.
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Former FBI Director James Comey, in his memoirs ( A Higher Loyalty. Truth, Lies, and Leadership), described Trump as a ” notorious liar” acting under the influence of his ego and having built around himself a ” cocoon of alternate reality, which he energetically entangled” all the employees of the cabinet … And also as a “mafioso” president and a person who is “morally unfit” for the role of an American leader .
American journalist Michael Wolff spent months in the White House and interviewed two hundred people for the bestselling book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House . The book also talks about Trump’s incompetence, the chaos in his administration, and the disdainful attitude of many White House employees towards the president.
9. Champion of False Claims
From the very beginning of his presidency, Donald Trump has launched a real war with the press, calling ” fake media” any media that criticized him. Against this background, fact checkers of influential American publications analyzed Trump’s own statements with particular scrupulousness. By November 2020, the Washington Post counted 29,500 false or misleading statements made by the president .
Twitter permanently blocked Donald Trump’s account
Among other things, Trump questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship, exaggerated the number of participants in his inauguration, lied about his achievements in the economy, denied the danger of COVID-19 and his pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Both the media and academia have repeatedly analyzed the unprecedented scope of lies from Trump’s lips, calling it a record for a first person in the United States.
By the end of his term, social networks and the media began to openly label many of Trump’s allegations as false, TV channels interrupted broadcasts with his speeches about allegedly rigging the presidential elections. And after the storming of the Capitol, the President of the United States completely lost his main mouthpiece – his Twitter account.
10. “Title” of the worst president in US history – by the middle of the term
In early 2018, the American New York Times published the results of a large-scale poll , in which 170 members of the American Political Science Association took part. This circle includes specialists who study the executive branch and the institution of the presidency in the United States.
All of them were asked to rank American presidents from best to worst ( NYT conducts such polls every few years). Among 44 US presidents ( Grover Cleveland held office twice with a break, so Trump is formally 45th), the White House leader was already ranked last – Donald Trump was recognized as the worst in American history .
Another similar study was published a year later, in February 2019, by the Siena College Research Institute (the sixth such report since the early 1980s). Donald Trump was ranked 42nd and the worst of nine presidents who have ruled the United States for the past 50 years . 85% of experts believed that he led the country on the wrong course in matters of foreign and domestic policy, another 92% expressed the same judgment regarding the sphere of human rights and the quality of democracy in the United States during the Trump era.