Wednesday 20 September 2017

10 talking points from Trump's eventful first month in the White House

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Inauguration Freedom Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Inauguration Freedom Ball in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. President Donald Trump faces a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The sales boost came after Donald Trump's assertions that his inauguration had record attendance and millions of illegal votes were cast against him (AP)
US President Donald Trump takes the oath of office during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A bitter feud with the media, an ill-fated and chaotic travel ban and sparking diplomatic crises often with little more than a tweet... it is hard to believe it's only been a month since Donald Trump was inaugurated.

The former reality star has certainly made waves since taking up residence in the White House. We look at some of the highlights of his frantic first weeks in office.

Travel ban

Trump's January 27 order has been the most stand-out aspect of his presidency to date. The order which banned people, from seven Muslim majority countries, including those with valid travel documents, from entering the states.

It also put a temporary ban on refugees accessing the US. The order caused travel chaos across the world and sparked several legal challenges. The ban has now been abandoned following a ruling from a Seattle judge. It is expected that Trump will mark the fifth week of his presidency with a new immigration order.

'The Wall'

In his first week Trump ordered the 'immediate construction' of his long touted wall along the US-Mexico border. He has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will reimburse the US to cover the cost of the wall. Congress are facing a budgetary review over the cost of the wall.

Fake news

Trump has launched an offensive on the media, starting with accusations that attendance figures at his inauguration were under-reported and culminating in his first solo news conference since he was inaugurated where he attacked the press as 'dishonest'.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks with his wife Melania Trump on the tarmac after he arrived on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport for a visit to his Mar-a-Lago Resort for the weekend on February 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. President Donald Trump is on his his first visit to Palm Beach since his inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump walks with his wife Melania Trump on the tarmac after he arrived on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport for a visit to his Mar-a-Lago Resort for the weekend on February 3, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida. President Donald Trump is on his his first visit to Palm Beach since his inauguration. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

"The press is out of control," he said. "The level of dishonesty is out of control."

At the same conference when asked about leaks from his administration Mr Trump argued that while the leaks were real, the news about the leaks was fake.

The chaotic conference bounced from one top to another, all the while peppered with barbs at the press and accusations of fake news.

It is not the first time Trump has had a run in with the press. In his first press conference after the election he had a run in with CNN's Jim Acosta. The president declined to take a question from Acosta telling him: "Not you. No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news."

Twitter

Silicon Valley commentators have credited the President with reviving a struggling Twitter. His use of the micro-bogging platform has been colourful to say the least. From criticising judges who overruled his travel ban to sticking up for his daughter Ivanka and taking a swipe at Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While largely focusing on either the mainstream media, dubbed 'fake news' by the commander-in-chief or on the threat of domestic terrorism, Trump has also used his Twitter feed to comment on foreign policy and on domestic issues such as Chicago's crime rate when he threatened to 'send in the feds'.

Despite his prolific use of the platform he has used it incorrectly in the past - tagging the wrong Ivanka in a message, leaving a council worker in the UK with thousands of notifications on her feed when she woke up.




In-fighting

Trump has gathered a like-minded Cabinet around him and has brought advisors on board who have supported him throughout his campaig. He also relies strongly on his family, appointing Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, as a top advisor.

However, his reign in the White House has been dogged with in-fighting with the US intelligence services whom he has accused of 'un-American leaks'. Officials in the White House have also been reported as pushing back from within.

Federal employees have set up social media accounts to leak changes being made by Trump appointed officials, others have been resisting more openly and have attended meetings organised with the express purpose of deciding how best to express civil disobedience.

Russia

Trump's relationship with Russia has come under intense scrutiny in the past month and beyond. Trump reacted furiously when it was reported that the Kremlin holds a dossier with compromising information on him. Several media outlets published the dossier in full without being able to vet its contents. Trump's knowledge of Russia's influence in the election, his view of Russian President Vladamir Putin and potential business interests in Russia have all come under the spotlight.

Appointments

Donald Trump has failed to nominate candidates to a number of key positions, falling significantly behind the Obama administration and troubling the President's claim the White House is running like a "well-oiled machine".

And those he has appointed have grabbed headlines for a variety of reasons - many of them negative.

In a high-profile embarrassment for the Trump team, Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser after it was revealed he had discussed forthcoming sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the US, and then denied it in public statements.

Vincent Viola, the billionaire trader and veteran who was Mr Trump's first pick to head up the US Army, withdrew his nomination rather than divest from conflicting business interests.

Allegations of domestic abuse and mistreatment of workers at his fast foot chain likewise caused Andy Puzder to withdraw from his nomination to the Labour Secretary post.

Money

The Trump family's first month in the White House has reportedly cost the American taxpayer more than the Obamas cost in a full year.

His three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his presidential inauguration, combined with his sons’ business trips, reportedly cost €10.6m ($11.3m).

While Obama was in power Trump criticised his 'vacation habits' often, writing in 2014: "Obama’s motto: If I don’t go on tax payer funded vacations & constantly fundraise then the terrorists win".

Diplomatic relations

Trump's presidency has been characterised by off-the-cuff comments and Twitter firestorms which have put the US' relationship with a number of countries at risk.

In his first week in office he made good on his campaign pledge to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, distancing America from its Asian allies.

His interventions regarding Mexico lead to the President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelling a scheduled meeting with Trump in Washington - a decision Trump later framed as mutual.

With the UK Trump congratulated the country on Brexit  and signalled that he wants to sign a new trade deal with the UK.

Trump also stoked ire in Australia when he tweeted about a "dumb" refugee deal.

He has also taken several wipes at China and used Twitter to vow "it won't happen!" in reference to North Korea's threats to test an intercontinental ballistic missile. When North Korea launch the missile, however, the US President responded only with a clipped statement pledging support for Tokyo.

In a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump also seemed to back away from a two state solution to conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Just this week Vice President Mike Pence has rolled back on Trump's seeming derision of Nato as obsolete, saying that Trump is committed to Europe.

Melania

Despite staying in New York and forgoing 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue until their young son finishes school, rightly or wrongly the First Lady has become a talking point in her own right. She has been the subject of a 'Free Melania' theme on social media with people sharing images of her looking unhappy in her husband's company. Her sartorial choices and whether or not she can be held accountable for her husband's actions have all become fodder for debate since January 20. Despite appearing a seemingly reluctant First Lady Melania has said she is building an expert team around her for her term as first lady. Unfortunately her hashtag #Powerofthefirstlady left people confused, making for an awkward campaign debut.

 

Additional reporting by Independent News Service

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