One year of Trump: 12 key moments in his presidency

November 9, 2017
| Report Focus News

One year ago today, Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.

His presidency is among the most politically divisive in the history of the US, with President Trump’s administration facing a string of scandals over the last twelve months.

From disputing the number of people attending his inauguration to rejecting mass shootings as a “mental health problem”, Trump’s politics have split America.

Here we present some highlights of  the key moments from Donald Trump’s first year in office.

1. “Alternative facts”

From the moment he was handed the mantle of president, Donald Trump was attacking the mainstream media for reporting what he called “fake news”.

His (now resigned) press secretary Sean Spicer insisted Trump’s initiation attracted “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration” both in person and globally, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.

He said: “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm for the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

When asked to clarify his statements, Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said he had been employing “alternative facts”.

2. Withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement

The UN convention on climate change was agreed by 195 countries in 2015, with each state promising measures to curb the damage done to the environment.

In a televised White House announcement in June, however, Mr Trump said: “In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect the United States and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Parisclimate accord.”

Climate scientists around the world were left in shock, with leading expert Dave Reay, of the University of Edinburgh, saying “The United States will come to rue this day.”

Bashar al-Assad has very recently signed Syria up, making the US the only country in the world openly opposing the treaty.

3. White supremacists are ‘some very fine people’

After violence broke out between white nationalists and counter-protesters at a rally, the president suggested there were “some very fine people” on both sides.

One woman was killed and more than 30 people injured in the spate of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

VP Mike Pence spoke in stronger terms, saying “these dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life”.

4. Firing Comey

James Comey, the seventh director of the FBI, was dismissed by Mr Trump in an unprecedented move in May.

Comey had been under pressure over his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and his inquiries into Russian interference in the election.

The president later confirmed he had been frustrated that Mr Comey had refused to publicly say the president was not under investigation.

5. Mass shootings ‘are a mental health problem’

Last week’s massacre in a Texas church was the 38th mass shooting in America this year.

Data from the Gun Violence Archive shows more than 13,000 people have died as a result of gun violence in the United States this year.

“But this isn’t a guns issue…” Mr Trump said, “This is a mental health problem at its highest level.”

6. The travel ban

Commonly known as the “Muslim ban”, the executive order restricted the entry of nationals from Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Somalia into the United States.

Following a legal challenge, Trump was forced to introduce what he called a “watered down, politically correct” version.

This update removed Iraq and Sudan from the list while adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.

7. Obamacare failure

During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump repeatedly promised to do away with Obamacare, which had succeeded in making costly health insurance more accessible to average Americans.

A July vote in Congress saw plans to scrap Obamacare defeated by a slim majority, owed in part to the Republican rebel and former presidential candidate, John McCain.

8. Firing Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci was drafted into the White House to act as chief of communications in July.

After a reporter at the New Yorker magazine leaked an expletive-filled interview, however, “the Mooch” found himself out of a job after just ten days.

He had been recorded calling his colleague and chief-of-staff Reince Priebus a “f******* paranoid schizophrenic”.

9. Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, which hit Ohio in August, was the most extreme hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic, while Irma, which hit Florida in September, set the record for the most rainfall in continental US.

Together, they marked the first time in recorded history that two Atlantic, Category 4 hurricanes hit the US in a single year.

Both states were left devastated – but it didn’t affect Trump’s views on climate change, saying later: “We’ve had bigger storms than this.”

10. Take the knee

Mr Trump came in for heavy criticism after he dismissed black football players for going down on one knee as a mark of protest upon hearing the national anthem.

Black sportspeople began “taking the knee” back in 2016 in response to a rise in police violence against African-American citizens.

Speaking at a rally in Alabama, Mr Trump said: “Get that son of a bitch off the field.”

11. One state or two?

In his first meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said he was “looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like” in relation to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The White House press team were later forced to clarify his position, saying the United States remains committed to its policy of seeking a two-state solution.

12. “Little rocket man”

Channelling Elton John, Mr Trump denounced dictator Kim Jong-Un as “little rocket man”.

He had earlier threatened the North Korean leader with “fire and fury like the world has never seen”.

Tensions remain high between the two states, with Kim responding: “I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire.”