It has been 100 days since President Trump assumed office in the White House. In any presidency, these 100 days are generally characterized as a “honeymoon” period, during which the incoming president capitalizes on the momentum of his successful campaign, as well as the surge of popularity with his electorate in order to lay out his agenda. Throughout his electoral campaign, then-candidate Trump made many promises to the American people regarding his future agenda once in the White House. Indeed, within days of his inauguration, President Trump exercised his executive power, often in the form of executive orders, to institute changes and reverse policies from the previous administration, which is not uncommon for incoming presidents to do.
However, sitting in the Oval Office firing off tweets about domestic and foreign policy is much different than firing contestants on his previous television show, The Apprentice. Keeping campaign promises is always difficult for a newly elected president; as such, in our first article, we examine whether President Trump can use his brash businessman style to deliver on his promises in the political arena of Washington, DC.
President Trump entered the White House with a mandate to change the way government operates in Washington, DC. This strong message galvanized his supporters, who were looking for someone “anti-establishment,” a message that President Trump seized and ran with. Within days, President Trump started signing executive orders that would reduce business regulations, in line with his campaign promise to ostensibly improve America’s business environment. Whether these changes hurt or help the U.S. economy in the long-term is explored in our article regarding how these changes in the domestic economy will impact America’s standing in the global investment environment.
In addition, President Trump had to endure setbacks in the formation of his cabinet. Several cabinet nominees underwent difficult confirmation hearings. Some were unable to keep their positions – for example, then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had to resign after less than a month in the position for misleading the administration regarding his communications with Russian officials prior to the presidential inauguration. One of the more interesting cabinet picks, however, has been that of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. With no prior experience in government or diplomatic affairs, President Trump’s selection for arguably one of the more important roles in the cabinet is examined in greater detail in our newsletter.
During these 100 days, President Trump has had to familiarize himself with the ins and outs of the important role that America plays in the field of foreign affairs. He often campaigned with the promise of putting “America first” before other states’ interests. However, it has become clear that America’s interests, actions, and behavior are so intertwined with various international actors that it will be difficult for him to act solely on the basis of America’s interests, as promised. This conundrum is examined in greater detail, especially with respect to how his “America first” policy will affect relations with China. In addition, we raise questions about President Trump’s largely incoherent strategic policy towards China as well as a Middle East policy that similarly appears undefined and undelineated.
Lastly, President Trump has raised ire through his executive order banning immigrants originating from six predominantly Muslim countries, as well as suspending the U.S. refugee program. Many citizens, organizations, and other countries decried the order, particularly in the context of human rights. Comparisons to President Trump’s immigration order are made to similar policies followed in European countries, thus bringing into question whether his immigration policies are indeed as radical as the media portray them to be.
President Trump’s first 100 days have been beset by several policy stumbles and media distractions. However, in his eyes, there have also been many gains in the “win” column. Irrespective of his take on these supposed “successes,” his actions and decision-making have made it difficult for policy advisers, government leaders, and others to have a clear view of America’s strategic policy. What is certain is that President Trump has given us an interesting first 100 days to write about. One can only imagine what his presidency will bring over the next three years and eight months.
We hope our readers enjoy our first newsletter of the year.
The Brasidas Editorial Team