President Donald Trump came to power almost four years ago as an outsider who vowed to get things done quickly on behalf of the American people through sheer strength of will and unrivalled knowledge of the art of the deal.
He sorted out some of the things on his to-do list.
Trump has driven through the most important revision of the U.S. tax code since President Ronald Reagan. Trump, as he claimed, tilted the Supreme Court more to the right, confirming two conservative judges, and possibly the third, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming days. His pledge to be strict on illegal immigration has contributed to an increase in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.
But Trump has also faced the same hard truth that each of his predecessors in the White House has learned: governing is rarely easy.
Look through some of the President’s unfinished business as he asks the White House electorate for a second term:
Trump managed to undermine President Barack Obama’s health care reform but was well short of his pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
His administration has been able to abolish portions of the statute. Enrolment periods have been reduced, some subsidies have ended and the individual mandate — the fine for those without health insurance — has been abolished.
Trump claims he’s still intent on replacing it with something “much better and much cheaper.” In a 60-minute interview with CBS, he said that “it’s going to be so amazing” if the Supreme Court put an end to “Obamacare” when the justices hear challenges next month.
The number of uninsured Americans rose under Trump’s watch. According to Census Bureau data released last month, almost 30 million people in the U.S. missed coverage at some point in 2019, around 1 million more than in the previous year.
Trump has made moderate strides in fulfilling his 2016 promise to bring home all the soldiers from what he terms America’s “endless conflicts.”
As Trump took over the White House, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan was about 8,400, and there were about 6,800 troops in Iraq.
The number of troops in Afghanistan grew to around 15,000 in a year. Trump accepted demands from commanders for additional troops to reverse losses in the training of Afghan forces, combat an increasingly dangerous Islamic State group, and put enough pressure on the Taliban to bring it to the peace table.
In February, the U.S. and the Taliban signed an agreement calling for the eventual full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Looking forward to the election, Trump intensified his campaign to get the troops home, teasing that all U.S. troops could be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.
Pentagon officials said the number of troops in Afghanistan would fall to 4,500 in November. But defense officials insist that there is no attempt to bring all the troops home from Afghanistan by the end of the year. U.S. officials also state there is currently no approved proposal to reduce the amount to 2,500 by early next year. Officials were not permitted to discuss internal meetings in public and spoke on the basis of anonymity.
In Iraq, the number of U.S. troops has fallen from about 5,000 to about 3,000, while officials say the number fluctuates higher as the units move in and out.
THE WALL, man
During his 2016 primary race, Trump tried to mark his ground as a hard-line immigration officer who would create a “great, large wall on our southern border.”
“And I’m going to make Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said as he began his run to the White House in June 2015. “Take care of my terms.”
Almost four years later, Trump still has work to do to complete his wall, and everything that has been done has been compensated by U.S. taxpayers amid promises to do otherwise.
The President’s administration has vowed to build 450 miles by the end of this year and has constructed 371 miles so far. Trump has replaced hundreds of miles of old , worn-out barriers, intended only to block vehicles, with tall, 30-foot fences that are much harder to get over and discourage wildlife from crossing the border. Conservationists in Arizona, where a significant part of the construction has taken place, argue the new wall is harmful to biodiversity and the local habitats.
Mexico has steadfastly declined to pay for the border wall, while Donald Trump indicated earlier this year that the wall would be compensated, in part, by remittances from Mexican immigrants working in the United States.
The money is coming from the U.S. to date. Treasury, that is, today’s taxpayers and future taxpayers who will inherit the federal debt. To the extent that some immigrants who have reached the U.S. illegally are kicking in for the wall, it’s because they’re employed and paying taxes like most workers.
Trump also freed up $3.6 billion for the wall last year by diverting funds from military building programs as well as $2.5 billion from funded counter-drug spending.
Early in his presidency , Trump expressed confidence that his administration would be able to negotiate a long-term peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. “We’re going to get it done,” Trump said in May 2017. He took care of his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner.
Trump has pushed the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move cheered by Israelis and evangelical Christian backers in the U.S., but upset by Palestinian leaders. He has achieved a significant victory in recent weeks with the US nudging Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates — three Arab states — to normalise relations with Israel.
The normalisation of relations between Israel and the three Arab nations is definitely a significant achievement. But negotiations between nations that have never been in direct conflict do not make a major contribution to achieving the long-standing and far-reaching goal of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The White House’s numerous attempts to declare the “Infrastructure Week”—any initiative easily overshadowed by other issues — have become something of a hotline in the administration.
In his 2016 victory speech , Trump said that he will repair the nation’s roads , bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals, make American infrastructure “second to none” and put millions to work.
About four years later, Trump’s tumultuous rhetoric failed to generate legislation.
In April 2019, Trump reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to implement a $2 trillion infrastructure programme. This March, the concept of a “VERY Large & BOLD” infrastructure investment plan was revived to help crack the bleak economy after the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Although Pelosi and Schumer again lent their support to massive infrastructure spending, the Republican Senate broke into deficit spending, and Trump’s sales pitch went nowhere with his own party.
TAXES TRUMP ‘S
At the debate stage four years ago, Trump said his federal income taxes were “under routine audit” but vowed that they would be issued as soon as the IRS had concluded.
Four years later, Trump says the IRS has not yet done its job, and the President has yet to fulfil his vow to release his tax returns. No law forbids Trump from making his tax filings public while auditing.
Questions about Trump’s tax returns — and his wider financial situation — have only grown after announcements that he is personally responsible for more than $400 million in debt. That kind of debt burden, ethical experts claim, raises fears that he could be used to sway U.S. policy by those to whom he is indebted.
The New York Times estimated last month that Trump’s debt includes more than $300 million in loans due over the next four years.
Trump dismisses his debt burden as a “peanut” in relation to his properties.
The President is the first post-Watergate President not to file his tax return.