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Evaluating the First Year of President Donald Trump

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Free «Evaluating the First Year of President Donald Trump» Essay Sample


The approval rating of President Trump raises many questions regarding his performance or whether the Republican Party can survive his presidency. President Trump scored the lowest approval percentage ever recorded in the American history of presidents. The evaluation determines the possible causes of President Trump’s low approval rating. Therefore, the paper will explore the uniqueness of Trump, similarities or differences between the current president and his predecessors, his performance and his place in politics. The failure of President Trump’s legislation during his first year of service has raised concerns that originated from Democrats’ abstractions and Republicans’ disputes. The low approval rating of President Trump arises mainly from his conflicting ideas when combining transformative leadership and responsible manager leadership styles in his administration.

Uniqueness of President Trump in His First Year

The Uniqueness of President Trump

The first 100 days and the first year of President Trump show differences with the performance of the past Presidents in the American history. The administrative challenges experienced by President Trump together with the shortcomings he faced within his first year show no uniqueness when compared to the administration of the past five White House administrators. President Trump accused the White House occupants of wiretapping them and learned that his campaign had been under investigation by the FBI for months. President Trump is uniquely unpopular when compared to other predecessor Presidents. Both in his first 6 months and 100 days of administration, President Trump scored the least approval rating of 39 which was the least percentage ever recorded for any American President during their inaugurations (Pearson). Similar to President Trump, President Roosevelt showed uniqueness by being a good entrepreneur (Genovese 33). Unlike all American Presidents, President Trump shows uniqueness in creating enemies. According to Pearson, 58 percent of American citizens disapproved President Trump’s performance while only 36 percent approved his performance as the US President. The drop from 39 to 36 percent shows that President Trump is making more enemies than the previous American Presidents. Therefore, he is unique due to being unpopular.

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Measure of Extent to Which Other Republicans Could Tackle the Similar Obstacles as President Trump

The Republicans show similarities and differences with President Trump regarding how they could have handled the low approval rating obstacle. For instance, similar to President Trump, Ronald Reagan, a Republican, pushed a big cut on tax packages. President Trump uses the GOP Tax plan to become more popular and improve the current low approval rating. The New York Times (2017) state that the senators who were not willing to vote for Trump’s GOP bill became more receptive after the committee of budget had voted to pass the $1.5 trillion tax package. However, despite President Trump viewing the tax plan as a tremendous bill for the middle-class citizens, challenges in passing the bill exist because of the party division in President Trump’s Administration that acts as an obstruction. Despite Presidents Reagan and Trump using the same strategy to improve their approval rating, President Reagan’s reform was approved in 1986 but the same strategy is harder to implement for Trump nowadays. President Reagan differed from President Trump in strategies when pushing for the tax cut package. Unlike President Trump, Ronald worked hand in hand with the Congress leaders from both parties to pass the tax reform. On the other hand, according to The New York Times (2017), President Trump attacked two Congress top Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in his Tweeter that made them pull out of the White House meeting regarding the tax cut package. Comparing the two Republican leaders, President Reagan showed higher proficiency in handling obstacles than Trump.

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President Trump’s Place in Politics

Skowronek’s Politics

Skowronek’s Politics examines how the US Presidents reckon the performance of their predecessors with the aim of establishing their political power and asserting their authority with regards to service for a change. However, in the case of President Trump, there exists an intuitive link between the great leadership and great disruptions. According to the Washington Post (2017), great Presidents become great disrupters only when they uphold legitimacy for something new. Taking into account the first 100 days of President Trump in office, there can be raised a fundamental question on whether he partakes the wherewithal to follow through. During his campaign, President Trump talked of “Making America Great Again” but his campaigns resonate from reason, especially in the presidency-led political reconstructions (Blake). According to Skowronek (2017), the Americans have grown intolerant to the received term of legitimate administration. President Trump advocated for reckoning President Obama’s work by cancelling Obama care. However, President Trump seems to be struggling to redefine his legitimacy considering he had the lowest approval rating during his inauguration in the American history. Presidential reconstruction seems to be a heavy burden for President Trump because his campaign involved “Making America Great Again” that indicated the elimination of the foundation that supports the politics of the past (Blake). However, considering that the institutional environment of the President’s actions in the U.S has widened in the past, reconstruction becomes a heavier burden for Trump. Therefore, President Trump does not take the position of great disruptors who are greater Presidents in Skowronek’s politics because he does not want to lend legitimacy to something new.

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Secular Times

President Trump is a President that does not embrace current and post-secular visions of life. Consequently, President Trump takes the position of a repressive and irrational leader in terms of secular times. President Trump’s victory may have originated from the fact that his belief of post-secular times consists in returning the value of religion to the public. According to Blake, “President Trump stated that imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people, under one God, saluting one American flag during his campaign in Maine”. During the night of President Trump’s victory, the Blacks’ voting interest relied on justice and liberation while the Caucasians’ interest relied on nativist bigotry according to Van Jones on CNN. President Trump assaulted the media through tweeting; especially those who he considered did not approve his actions. President Trump stated that the First Amendment undergoes daily attacks yet he exercises the freedom of speech and prevents the media from doing the same. According to Rockville, Trump censors the media to stop conducting his personal daily attacks by stating that the media should only focus on Presidential tweets that cover policy statements provided by his administration. Therefore, President Trump occupies the position of a repressive and irrational political leader in the secular times.

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President Trump’s Performance Compared to Past Modern Presidents

Leadership Style

Trump shows lack of transformational leadership in his presidency. Considering Trump’s visions of becoming a transformational leader, he has violated the rules of conducting politics in the American political history. Having the desire to become a responsible manager and at the same time a transformative leader, Trump visions it will tear Americas apart because the two expectations conflict among Americans themselves. According to Skowronek, Presidents need to be both transformative leaders and responsible managers but they cannot perform both functions well simultaneously. President Trump wishes to transform the American system without taking into consideration the existence of indisputable evidence that there exists no possible option to achieve this goal. As a result, President Trump lacks the ability to seize control over of his envisioned changes because he cannot reconstruct the politics of his predecessors due to the existence of less perceptible consensus that shows that his predecessors failed in their system. Making reference to his predecessors, the political system used by President Obama neither showed vulnerabilities, nor collapsed internally because President Obama was rated higher than President Trump, and the country at that time had a fairly successful economy, while the number of unpopular wars was reduced. Reduplicating the Obama’s system is a viable option for President Trump; however, it poses political questions. President Trump’s recent actions show that he lacks the ability to develop a conservative regime as a reconstruction strategy that would focus on uniting the coalitions because he has made more enemies, without being endorsed by any individual in the Republican Party and without receiving more than 50 percent of the American votes. Therefore, President Trump is a responsible manager, but not a transformational leader.

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Opportunity Level

President Trump takes a low opportunity level in his presidency. President Trump distances himself from his party when he needs an opportunity unlike President Roosevelt whose legacy and power were embraced from 1933 to 1990s by both his party and the Congress (Genovese 32). According to Genovese, “despite Roosevelt’s legacy being challenged in 1995, the Republicans still focus in fulfilling his legacy” (32). Similar to Jimmy Carter, President Trump reigns over the endpoint of his personal party’s convention. For instance, on the 1st of July during the Republican National Convention President Trump stated that, “I alone can fix it”, which meant that he was never going to rely on any kind of external help from anyone including his party (Hansler). Similarly, Jimmy Carter said “why not the best” that showed that he distanced himself from the Democrats (Chavez). Both Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump demonstrate the kind of presidency that has no relation to the party’s establishment when they obtain an opportunity. President Trump distanced himself from opportunities that aim at contradicting conversations and moved closer to opportunities that focus on building new ideas or offering broader alternatives to current obstacles in his government. President Trump thinks according to the President Obama-style of progressivism versus Reagan-style of conservatism that results into a mix-up of different ideologies and coalitions that make him sync with the Republican Party. Unlike Trump and Carter, Presidents Jefferson and Roosevelt showed higher performance in seizing opportunity levels through marginalizing their supporters. According to Prothero, during his first inauguration, President Jefferson stated that “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists”, which enabled him to seize the opportunity of marginalizing his supporters. Similarly, President Roosevelt welcomed the progressive Republicans by offering new deals instead of supporting only the conservative Democrats. Therefore, President Trump, like Carter, distances himself in the face of a new opportunity, dissimilar to the approaches of other American Presidents.

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President Trump’s Performance

Implementing and Enacting Policy with the Legislative Branch

Trump has formulated the travel ban as opposed to the recommended process required for legalizing an executive order. According to Soffen and Cameron, President Trump kept congressional party leaders in the dark when formulating the executive order despite the fact that the process required the President’s staff to inform the party’s congressional leaders. Soffen and Cameron state that the President did not send the travel ban executive order through the Office of Management and Budget as well as the responsible state agencies. President Trump’s travel ban executive order is unconstitutional as it was not passed by the Congress hence being illegal. The law has suffered several judicial actions.  Currently, the law is blocked from implementation. However, considering that the President will need to veto the bill, passing the travel ban will require the approval of two-thirds of the Congress. Considering the approval rating of the President, the bill is likely to fail considering that only a few Republicans approve the bill (Soffen & Cameron). Therefore, the Congress has powers that can overturn President Trump’s travel ban executive order. Similar to President Trump, President Roosevelt faced similar challenges in his presidency in regard to Senate support. According to Genovese, “despite Roosevelt adopting a wide range of arrays in his approaches that aimed at promoting security and economic growth from the states and the senate, little agreements existed in each of his approaches” (40).

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On the other hand, the Congress supported Trump by approving the Proof Russia Sanctions that would enable the Congress to veto and review any sanctions imposed by Trump in the future with the aim of easing the sanctions. “President Trump signed it into law Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (Hansler). The new policy targets the implementation of sanctions to North Korea and Iran over testing nuclear missiles. Thus, President Trump managed to pass the two laws that advocate for new policies in the American Constitution.

Appointments and Executive Actions with the Federal Bureaucracy

Despite President Trump receiving the lowest approval rating in his first 100 days, he has handled the management of the executive branch almost in the same manner as his predecessors. According to Lewis, the President is required to nominate ambassadors, judges, public ministers and consuls. Lewis states that currently, 1242 positions in the executive branch are filled meeting the demands of the law. In Partnership and Public Services that contain 556 positions, President Trump has nominated 66 individuals, while 26 of them have been approved by the Senate (Lewis). However, his predecessors show better performance. For instance, Lewis states that Obama nominated 190 individuals and 69 of them were confirmed, while Bush nominated 85 individuals and 35 of them were approved. Lewis states that President Bill Clinton nominated 179 individuals, out of which 49 became approved by the Senate. Considering the trend of nomination and confirmation of the President Trump’s predecessors, the question of whether he is leaving the executive bench understaffed arises. President Trump has the least nominations and confirmations when compared to his last four predecessors. According to Lewis, President Trump told Fox News that some positions were unnecessary. Lewis argues that President Trump was right because unlike U.S. that has over 2,800 political appointments, most developed democracies have between 12 and 200 political appointees. However, the nations are not equal in terms of wealth, size and population hence there exists certain variance. Therefore, Trump is running the administration as a manager and not a transformational leader.

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Appointments and Judicial Actions Restraining the President with the Judiciary

President Trump’s travel ban executive order underwent several judicial tests that resulted in the provision of a restraining order to the law. According to Soffen and Cameron, Seattle judge temporarily postponed the implementation of the executive order with regards to the Washington state’s lawsuit. According to Hansler, “In Hawaii, the U.S. federal judge Derrick Watson altered the temporary restraining order of Trump’s travel ban for a preliminary injunction”. According to the Hawaii court, the travel ban is a discriminatory act against the Muslims that violates the American Constitution. President Trump appointed several judges to the judiciary. In the Supreme Court, he appointed Neil Gorsh, nine judges in the court of appeal and six judges in the district courts (Liptak, & Matt). Therefore, the judiciary has played a significant role in preventing the President from misusing his executive orders to implement laws that are unconstitutional.

Success and Failures of President Trump


President Trump has managed to sign several bills into laws. According to Hansler, Trump stated in Phoenix that “We’ve accomplished historic amounts in a short period of time. We’ve signed more than 50 pieces of legislation”. Within the six months of his stay in the office, the President signed a total of 53 laws (Hansler). 15 laws have cancelled the regulations under President Obama’s administration, two laws have formed new policies, and 11 have magnified the existing legislations while 15 have been associated with government funding (Hansler). Hansler states that the “new policies in Trump’s administration include Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017”. “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 shows that President Trump completed one of his major campaign promises” (Hansler). Thus, President Trump has managed to reduce immigration rate in the United States as he stated during his campaigns.

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During the period of President Trump’s stay in office, his failures and success regarding the legislation agenda form a key topic for debates. Major initiatives formulated by the President such as passing tax reforms and cancelling the Obama care have come to a standstill either because of Democrats’ obstructions or Republicans disputes, or both. When compared to his predecessors, President Trump has failed by receiving the lowest approval rating in the history of the American politics. President Trump promised that the wall in the Southern part of the Mexican border was to be funded by the Mexicans but the Mexican government denied the responsibility. Stevens et al. state that Trump said that “I will build a great, great wall on our Southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall,”. Also, the Republicans in the Congress have not succeeded in transferring the funds required to complete the project.


The research shows that Trump is good in executing the responsible leadership style rather than being a transformational leader. However, considering that he tries to use both approaches, he is faced with conflicting coalitions and contradicting ideas that make him not to able to cooperate with the Republicans efficiently. Trump shows uniqueness in his unpopularity and the rate at which he makes enemies. The low approval rating of 39 percent confirms these two signs of uniqueness of the President. Trump and fellow Republicans use the same approach of pushing bills such as tax cut when dealing with obstacles that arise from the low score in approval rating. However, he differs from the Republicans in the strategy of implementing the bills through making enemies from the opposition instead of collaborating with them. Tramp takes the position of a repressive and irrational political leader in the secular times. With regards to Skowronek’s Politics, Trump does not take the position of a great disruptor because he does not lend legitimacy to something new. Unlike President Trump and Carter that distance themselves from their parties, their predecessors such as Roosevelt and Jefferson used to marginalize their supporters. Trump has made appointments in the judiciary and the executive branch. However, when compared to his predecessors, he has made the lowest nominations that received the least number of confirmations from the Senate.

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