On June 16th, 2016, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States claiming he would be “the greatest jobs president God had ever created” in a speech that was widely criticized for being discriminatory towards Mexicans. Initially, Trump was considered a long shot to secure the Republican nomination. However, Trump’s mantra of “Make America Great Again” struck a chord with Republican voters, and by the end of the Republican primary process Trump had secured the nomination by a significant margin.
Trump’s image as the defiant underdog continued into his election faceoff with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Polling numbers the day before the election showed the majority of sources reporting that a Clinton victory was imminent. However, the unpredictable Trump stood victorious at the end of election night by securing 290 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232.
After frequently citing how good his relationship with Russian president Vladmir Putin would be if he became the president, reports surfaced of possible Russian interference in the Democratic campaign for the presidency. Then President-Elect Donald Trump came under fire with the media and members of the public calling for an official probe into the relationship with Russia. By early March, nearly two thirds of the public believed a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the issue.
The media coverage of Trump’s inauguration became more concerned with the size of the crowd than the inauguration itself, particularly after the newly elected President claimed the media was engaging in false reporting. In regards to domestic television viewership, the event was seen by slightly less people than Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
As if to ensure the controversial fanfare of his inauguration, on January 27th, 2017, Trump signed an executive order establishing travel bans for nationals of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and Sudan. The ban conjured criticism from around the world with the travel ban becoming informally referred to as “the Muslim ban” due to the predominantly Muslim population bases of the banned countries. Domestically, the travel ban brought disgust among liberals with a majority of those believing that the intention of the ban was to ban Muslims from entering the United States. The executive order was eventually blocked by rulings in a federal court. Although Trump attempted to push through a revised addition of the order, it remained blocked with judges extending the review period on March 29th.
Marred by the controversy of his apparent backroom communications with Russian officials, General Michael Flynn – Trump’s national security adviser – became the first political casualty of the Trump administration. However, the removal of Flynn did not provide reprieve for the remainder of Trump’s appointees. A March 2017 survey showed over one third of the public strongly disapproved of a number of appointees including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
In characteristic fashion, the Trump administration challenged the norms of D.C. further by employing Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump in an official White House role. At the time, 41 percent of Americans strongly opposed her named an official employee of the White House. This frustration was instigated by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Ivanka’s husband, being made senior advisor to the President.