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After a challenging first year, Trump has his hands full

The sequel to President Donald Trump's first year in office is opening with the lead player hamstrung by a government shutdown and hunkering down amid investigations, crises and political unease.

After 365 days in the Oval Office, Trump has found that his drive to deliver quickly on campaign promises has yielded to the sobering reality of governing — and the prospect of an electoral rebuke in November. Administration aides, outside allies and Republicans on Capitol Hill see the Trump White House continuing to face many of the same challenges it wrestled with last year, with fresh plot twists to boot.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election keeps moving ever closer to the Oval Office. The government shutdown highlights the legislative challenges that persist even with Republicans controlling the White House and both the House and Senate, and makes clear the administration's need to more carefully target its political capital on specific agenda items. And the fall elections are shaping up as a referendum on Trump's tenure.

"In the second year, you no longer are one-dimensional," said Ari Fleischer, press secretary when George W. Bush was president. "There's an inevitable pivot that every administration makes, and that is to recognize that it's no longer about future events and promises, it's now about defending and promoting last year's accomplishments."

No administration comes into office fully ready for the task of leading the government, and Trump's team has taken disruption to a new extreme. Republicans outside the White House are now hoping the Trump administration will be more politically savvy. But the 71-year old president has proved set in his ways, trusting his instincts over the advice of his aides, and there is no reason to expect that won't continue.

Yet Trump has been changed by the experiences of the past year, according to aides and outside advisers, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal dynamics. The president has grown more fearful of leaks. His inner circle of friends is smaller, most recently with the banishment of former chief strategist Steve Bannon. This smaller group of informal advisers has seen Trump favor those who tell him what he likes to hear, according to several people who talk to him regularly. And that, combined with chief of staff John Kelly's determination not to manage the president, is furthering the Trump's impulsive streak.

What comes next?

Personnel changes are afoot to streamline the West Wing political and legislative affairs teams in preparation for the November elections, and Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are preparing aggressive campaign and fundraising schedules.

Despite a booming economy, Trump's approval rating is at historic lows for a first-year president, weighed down by partisan controversy and his own divisive actions and statements. The fall contests represent a make-or-break moment for Trump and could influence his pursuit of a second term, an effort that will begin in earnest next year.

GOP lawmakers frame the importance of keeping control of the House and Senate in self-serving terms for Trump: Democratic control would grant subpoena power to the president's fiercest critics.

Wary of potentially losing the Senate, the White House plans to continue its aggressive push to appoint conservative judges before Congress breaks for campaign season.

For all the legislative ambition of the first year, Trump's second stands to be a more muted affair.

Immigration, the sticking point in the current shutdown, stands as the most promising option after the president provoked a crisis by setting up the March 5 expiration of protections for roughly 700,000 young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children. He's hoping to use it as leverage to pass his hard-line immigration priorities.

Before the State of the Union address Jan. 30, the White House has been preparing much-delayed policy proposals on infrastructure and welfare, but little progress is anticipated as lawmakers have begun turning their focus to their own re-elections.

White House officials said Trump is looking forward to spending much of the year promoting his achievements on judicial nominations, deregulation and passage of the tax overhaul.

"If year one is about tallying campaign promises," said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, "in year two, we can talk about results."

Administration officials pointed to Trump's speech Thursday in Pennsylvania, where he highlighted the benefits of his tax plan, as an example of his efforts to sell his first year to the public.

Overseas, many of the same challenges remain. The nuclear threat from North Korea occupies an ever-growing focus inside the West Wing. And while the Islamic State group's foothold in Iraq and Syria has been diminished, Trump is facing new questions about the role of U.S. troops in the region.

Comments


TrumpCausesTruthDecay -

You will NEVER hear about anything good what is happening on CNN and MSNBC. Two chicken little networks screaming the sky is falling all day long.

You won’t hear about it on Fox News until it’s too late, by the way.


TrumpCausesTruthDecay -

How was Syria handled under Obama? How string is ISIS now under Trump?

If our position in the world economy was so horrible as you claim it is the Stock Market would be tanking not rising.


Trump is a world leader and is not following form behind…wherever he goes the rollout the red carpet and give him an incredible welcome…Trump is MAGA one day at a time, despite the FBIs secret society, fake dossier, fake special counsel, and the entire fake news team….its great to be winning again…


The US stock markets have increased by about $7.5T (with a T) or roughly 40% since Trump was elected.

Companies are going to bring over $1.5T cash home thanks to the tax deal.  That will result in $100B’s in new tax revenues.

Unemployment is at nearly 2-decade lows across all demographics.

Companies are moving factories BACK to the US because of the lower corporate tax rate (lower than Mexico).

Illegal immigration has been reduced as Trump effectively uses his bully pulpit.  (it’s not just Mexico and Latin America, deportations to the rest of the world including such countries as Ireland and Poland are up 24%.  See recent Slate article)

European countries are starting to pay more of their fair share for defense (NATO).

Our Middle Eastern allies trust us once again (Saudi Arabia, Israel).

ISIS is in retreat.

Now I will admit that Trump gives an ample supply of material to the late night talk show hosts.  But maybe that’s a good thing so the tree-huggers can’t make as many waves about all the useless regulations that Trump’s administration ended.

It’s almost as if the Left is pitching a fit because the US has become so prosperous.


golden, communism has nothing to do with it.  It’s more about the US pullout from world leadership under the Trump banner of “America First”

We will prosper or decline by our position in the world economy and thus far Trump and his atavistic policies are pushing us faster toward decline.

You won’t hear about it on Fox News until it’s too late, by the way.


Sounds like TrumpCausesTruthDecay loves communism.

Now we’re falling in line behind China—a country that understands what it takes to be a world super power.


A “Challenging” year….or you kidding me—booming economy, Apple bringing something like a half a trillion in cash to the US, 20k jobs—new money, not like Obama’s redistributed money…record low unemployment for Americans, incomes rising, bonuses flowing, energy sector booming, terrible trade deals ditched, great judges appointed, deregulation…whats not to like!!!


Wait for it, wait for it, 3… 2… 1….

Another hit job on Trump.  Tell me how this in the local paper?


Trump’s first year has given us 365 days of sustained destruction of every norm, custom or belief that made the United States the envy of the world and its president a global leader who commanded respect. 

Now we’re falling in line behind China—a country that understands what it takes to be a world super power.

Elections have consequences…boy they weren’t kidding about that one.

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