The Trump Presidency: A Legacy of Broken Promises

The 2020 Presidential Election is now just 2 days away. The candidates are barnstorming the country looking for votes and trying to secure their path to 270 electoral votes. They are blazing Americans with their closing arguments on who would be the better candidate to lead this country.

Here at The Liberty Herald we have a closing argument of our own.

Donald Trump made a lot of bold promises in 2016 that if elected he would drain the swamp and alter the state of Washington politics. After four years in office, it appears that Trump has become the typical Washington politician. He was full of rhetoric on the campaign trail and did absolutely nothing to curb the disgusting nature of American politics.

So here is our series; The Trump Presidency: A Legacy of Broken Promises.

National debt

Before: “I know the Wall Street people probably better than anybody knows them,” Donald Trump told the Washington Post in 2016, and promised to clear the country’s then-$19tn national debt “over a period of eight years”.

After: Four years into this promise the US national debt has ballooned by more than a third, reaching $27 trillion in October 2020. President Trump increased the national debt ceiling in 2017, before suspending it until after the 2020 election in July 2019. 

It is predicted the debt will rise even further once the full economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic becomes apparent.

Repeal and replace Obamacare

Before: One of President Trump’s trademark pledges on the 2016 campaign trail was to repeal and replace Obamacare – which was President Obama’s attempt to extend healthcare to the estimated 15% of the country who are not covered.

It is widely disliked by Republicans, who say the law imposes too many costs on business, with many describing it as a “job killer” and decrying the reforms – officially the Affordable Care Act – as an unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of private businesses and individuals.

After: Republicans have been unable to pass a repeal of the law or reform bill.

That said, the Trump administration has managed to dismantle parts of the law – enrolment periods have been shortened, some subsidies have been axed, and the fine for people who did not purchase health insurance has been eliminated as part of the 2017 tax plan.

And in December 2018, a federal judge in Texas ruled that repealing this penalty, an “essential” part of the law, meant the entirety of Obamacare is therefore unconstitutional.

The law, however, remains in place as an appeal heads to the US Supreme Court, with a ruling expected sometime in 2021.

A border wall paid for by Mexico

Before: His vow to build a wall along the US-Mexican border was one of the most controversial of Mr Trump’s campaign promises. Mr Trump also insisted that Mexico would pay for it.

After: Mexico poured scorn on the claim that it would pay for such a barrier, and even Mr Trump appears to have dropped that idea.

Democrats are vociferously opposed to a wall, whereas some Republicans have baulked at a bill that could reach $21.5bn (£17bn), according to a Department of Homeland Security internal report.

In December 2018 the US government went into shutdown after Democrats resisted Mr Trump’s demands for $5bn to fund the wall. He has since redirected defence and some other funds to build or replace sections of the wall, a decision that has faced legal challenges. 

As of late May, 194 miles of wall system had been built, mostly to shore up dilapidated or outdated designs of the barrier already in place – just three miles construction was part of an entirely new system.

Trade deals

Before: Mr Trump called Nafta “a disaster” and warned that the TPP “is going to be worse, so we will stop it”. He also pledged to correct the trade deficit with China.

After: Mr Trump followed through in his first few days on his pledge to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). He later said he would consider re-joining the TPP if he got a better deal.

On 30 November, after protracted negotiations, the US, Canada and Mexico signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was designed to replace Nafta and recently came into force. However, the US has reimposed aluminium tariffs on Canada, and Ottawa reciprocated with retaliatory tariffs. 

The US and South Korea also signed a revised trade pact in September 2018. 

The US and China, meanwhile, became embroiled in an escalating trade battle – with both sides imposing tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods. 

Despite ongoing tensions, in August the US and China held talks over their so-called “phase-one” trade deal – signed early this year – that is aimed at easing the trade war.

China as a currency manipulator

Before: Mr Trump repeatedly pledged to label Beijing a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office, during an election campaign when he also accused the Asian powerhouse of “raping” the US. China has been accused of suppressing the yuan to make its exports more competitive with US goods.

After: In August 2019, the administration officially named China as a “currency manipulator”. The US Treasury department defines currency manipulation as when countries deliberately influence the exchange rate between their currency and the US dollar to gain “unfair competitive advantage in international trade”.

But in January, the US reversed its decision when China had agreed to refrain from devaluing its currency to make its own goods cheaper for foreign buyers.

Rebuilding infrastructure

Before: The country’s infrastructure “will become, by the way, second to none, and we will put millions of our people back to work as we rebuild it”, he said in his victory speech in November.

After: Has repeated his vow to spend big on the country’s roads, rail and airports, but as yet, there is little sign of action. By March 2018 Congress had allocated $21bn for infrastructure spending – far short of the $1.5tn Mr Trump has called for. The money will be spent on a wide range of upgrades and investments, according to a congressional graphic.

In April 2019, Mr Trump and Democratic leaders agreed to spend $2tn on infrastructure, an agreement that later fell apart. This June there were reports the Trump administration had a $1tn plan in the works, but no announcement has been made.

Ditching Nato

Before: Mr Trump repeatedly questioned the military alliance’s purpose, calling it “obsolete”. One issue that irked him was whether members were pulling their weight and “paying their bills”. In one New York Times interview in July 2016, he even hinted that the US would not come to the aid of a member invaded by Russia.

After: But as he hosted Nato’s secretary general at the White House in April 2018, the US president said the threat of terrorism had underlined the alliance’s importance. “I said it [Nato] was obsolete,” Mr Trump said. “It’s no longer obsolete.”

In July 2018, Mr Trump reiterated his support at the Nato summit, but suggested the US might still leave if allies did not acquiesce to his budget demands. 

Mr Trump has continued to argue that Canada and European members of Nato are not spending enough to support the alliance, and recently said the US will move nearly 12,000 troops out of Germany.

Categories: Politics

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