The Stew Reporting from inside the Beltway

The year of Trump

Politics | Five political stories that flipped this year’s narrative
by Evan Wilt
Posted 12/28/17, 10:00 am

WASHINGTON—The Trump era began in 2017, ushering in thousands of significant stories. Below are five monumental political flashpoints—news events that shifted the tide and changed the country’s course.

Inauguration Day

Thousands of voters traveled across the country on Jan. 20 to the nation’s capital to witness the peaceful transfer of power and the inception of Donald Trump’s presidency. In many ways, Trump’s Inauguration Day was a microcosm of his first year in office. Many Americans expressed joy to see Trump take the oath of office and deliver his first speech as president using campaign-style rhetoric. But across town, groups of angry protesters incited violence. The same day, Trump issued a directive reigning in the power of the Affordable Care Act. Executive orders have been Trump’s only lasting imprint on Obamacare this year after Congress failed to pass healthcare reform legislation. Then, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave reporters a taste of what they would be dealing with during the next four years. He walked into the briefing room the next day with a prepared statement about the media’s “dishonest” reporting of how many people attended Trump’s inauguration. Side-by-side photos appear to show more people attended President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 than Trump’s in 2017. But Trump claimed the photos were misleading and labeled it as “fake news.” It was the first of many media wars between reporters and the new administration and set the tone for a contentious year to come.

Neil Gorsuch confirmed

The Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch on April 7 to the Supreme Court validated many conservatives who decided to vote for Trump in 2016. Exit polls showed voters thought about the Supreme Court more than anything else as they filled out their ballots. Eight months later, the president continues to tout Gorsuch as one of his major victories in 2017. But the Gorsuch confirmation revealed more than just Trump following through on a promise. Early on, Democrats showed they were unwilling to consider Gorsuch in good faith. Despite performing well during his confirmation hearing, Democrats plotted to filibuster his nomination. In the end, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., decided to change Senate rules to lower the threshold for Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51. Gorsuch earned confirmation 55-45. The process set the precedent for Democrats to handcuff confirmation votes and teed up Republicans to attempt to ram through their agenda along partisan lines. Despite the ups and downs of Trump’s first year, many voters still breathed a sigh of relief: Gorsuch made it to the court and he’s there to stay.

Trump fires James Comey

The president likes to critique the media for covering the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with his campaign, but Trump is partly to blame. The Russia investigation didn’t begin when the president fired former FBI Director James Comey, but it’s never been the same since. Comey announced in March the FBI’s inquiry included investigating Trump and his associates. Up to that point, Comey had wide bipartisan support from lawmakers. And when Trump fired him on May 9, it displeased many on both sides. The president cited several reasons for the dismissal, including Comey’s handling of the 2016 inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email use, but he noted the Russia investigation contributed to the decision. That led the Justice Department to take a dramatic step. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as an outside special counsel to oversee the investigation. Since then, Mueller’s work has generated a steady stream of stories as his team digs into what happened in 2016. FBI investigations typically stay close to the vest, but that’s not the case with Mueller’s team. It’s become a national spectacle of intrigue and gossip, with investigators constantly leaking details to reporters. That all came after Trump’s decision to fire Comey, who led the probe from July 2016 to May 2017 with very few leaks. People even bought Mueller-themed Christmas ornaments for their trees this year.

McCain’s big ‘no’

Republicans campaigned for seven years on repealing and replacing Obamacare, but 2017 revealed the GOP was not up to the task. With Trump in the White House, Republicans finally had the ability to follow through on that promise. In the end, one photo summed up the move to gut Obamacare: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., giving the bill a thumbs down. Moderate Republicans like Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine also refused to ram through a healthcare overhaul along partisan lines. Together, the three tanked the effort on July 28. As Republicans battled for most of the year, Trump grew irritated and warned Congress he wouldn’t tolerate inaction. But some took umbrage with the thought of a binary choice. McCain became a flashpoint of GOP discontent when he delivered an emotional rebuke of the Senate’s political climate a week after announced his brain cancer diagnosis. McCain wanted regular order and members working across the aisle, not making backroom deals to satisfy campaign promises. McCain’s speech foreshadowed his “no” vote on Obamacare repeal. His decision to side with Democrats surprised everyone and delivered an indefinite blow to the GOP agenda.

Roy Moore accused

Republicans revealed division within the party in myriad ways in 2017, but the Roy Moore sexual misconduct scandal showed how deep the fissures really went. On Nov. 10, The Washington Post published the first report documenting accusations against the GOP Senate candidate from Alabama. Immediately, Republican leaders showed a rift in response. President Trump stayed silent while most Senate Republicans said if the accusations were true, Moore should step aside. Days later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked Moore to quit his campaign, and others in the GOP followed suit. Over the next month, more reports detailed accounts of Moore’s past questionable behavior. He emphatically denied all accusations and many of his supporters remained faithful. As the campaign raged on, religious leaders friendly to Moore in the past stayed by the candidate’s side—some, like James Dobson, even recorded pro-Moore ads. Fearful of losing a Senate seat to Democrats, Trump jumped in to give Moore a full-throated endorsement on Dec. 4 —further dividing the GOP. Moore wasn’t the first man accused and he won’t be the last. But Nov. 10 changed the climate on Capitol Hill and made it OK for Republicans to root against one of their own in a crucial race—even if some voters will never forgive them.

Evan Wilt

Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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Comments

  • DWBrown
    Posted: Thu, 12/28/2017 11:50 am

    For me and I suspect many other Christians, it was an amazing year with much light brought to the evil and dailey lies the simple in America have wanted and accepted as truth. President Trump Has exposed many, some of them are the Democrates, Republicans, the Clintons, the News Media, Planned Parenthood, the UN, and Judges in America that rule based on an agenda rather than our current laws. So thankful that God gave us a leader and not another evil self serving politician. 

  • Christian_Prof
    Posted: Thu, 12/28/2017 12:14 pm

    "Dailey (sp) lies the simple in America have wanted and accepted as truth." "So thankful that God gave us a leader and not another evil self serving politician." 

    I try to turn away when I read things I don't agree with online, but I rarely have read such mindless drivel. Trump is decidedly NOT a leader. He IS decidedly self serving. Most judges in America are NOT ruling on agenda. And while I agree that God is in charge of everything and he gave us the current POTUS, I believe that he was put there to judge the completely dysfunctional government we have been running since 1994. Conservatives need to look in the mirror. We started the nastiness under Gingrich and we've accelerated the hyperbole ever since through FNC and Breitbart etc... 

    I come to World for reasonable, fact based, God-fearing, respectful, thoughtful, journalism. Not for rage and drivel. Sorry DWBrown, but your comment was only the last 2 of that list.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 12/30/2017 02:42 am

    You Christian_Prof exemplify the arrogance that seems to run rampant in some Christian circles. First, why did you point out the spelling error? Are you trying to show your intellectual superiority to DWBrown? Is this the behavior that a “Christian professor” should exemplify to his students? Is this the behavior that Jesus taught his disciples? I think not! You call his post “mindless drivel” but what is your post?  You claim Trump Is not a leader, but the man was able to put together a campaign that decimated all his opponents who were skilled politicians. Trump had no previous experience in the political realm so his success shows his amazing leadership. For you to not see this leadership shows what? 

    Trump has revived our economy and has brought back many jobs to America by negotiating with many companies. Again, this shows leadership and many past presidents who were considered great did not achieve what Trump has accomplished! Trump has shown leadership by working with Congress to pass the Tax Reform Bill. The critics claim it will only increase the National Debt, but the goal of it is to improve and expand the economy, thus bringing in more taxes which reduces the National Debt.  The full success of this plan has yet to be achieved, but the first step was pushed forward, which was to reduce taxes to spur ahead the economy. Trump showed skill and leadership in getting this Tax Reform Bill passed. 

    On the international stage Trump has shown great skill by boldly pressing forward an agenda which benefits the US.  Trump has shown great leadership in stomping out ISIS as a state.  He freed our generals to use the necessary force without having to get approval for every little action. Trump has skillfully interacted with China, Japan, South Korea, and many other nations. The speech given in South Korea was one that will go down in history as one of the best!  Obama made the US look weak on the International stage, where Trump has brought back respect for our nation!

    You also claim Trump is self serving. I suspect you get this notion from the fact that he is a tough fighter. He righty understands that the MSM is out to destroy him and so he has called them out on their blatant bias! If you cannot see this bias then I am afraid you are being willfully ignorant!  Going to scripture, God used some very provocative individuals such as David, Ehud, Samson, Rahab, Saul, Jephthah, Jacob, Solomon and many others.  Yes, Trump does claim to be a winner, and he has shown that he is one. Even David was loved by the people for his success in battle, where the women sang about him killing tens of thousands which caused Saul’s jealousy.  Now I wouldn’t want my elders in my church to go around saying they are winners, but I will let Trump be Trump and let him proclaim himself a winner - especially when he proves himself to be one where it benefits God’s Kingdom (e.g. Gorsuch). 

    The irony is that for all Trump’s bombastic speech, he really is selfless in many regards. He is doing the things that he believes will help the United States, such as building the wall, keeping out immigrants who will hurt the United States, standing up to the Jew haters in the United Nations, standing up boldly against the MSM using Twitter, Standing for the respect of our flag and national anthem and so on.  Trump is vilified for these actions by many so he gets no ego boost from these actions, but rather the opposite. He helps the little guy because in many ways he sees himself as the little guy even with all his success!  The people who vilify Trump will never see the real Trump for they loathe him so much! 

    You also say that most judges are NOT ruling on agenda. If this is true, then why do they rule against the president when he clearly has the authority to act (I.e. immigration).  What about the judges imposing huge fines on bakers for not baking a cake for homosexuals. When did they get privileged status? You, Christian_prof, seem uninformed on what is going on in our legal system. 

    God is not against “fighters for the Truth”. The supposed “nastiness” of Gingrich, Fox News and Breitbart is hatred of the people and news outlets that could really inform you so you are less ignorant! I say this with all sincerity. 

  • Janet B
    Posted: Thu, 12/28/2017 01:40 pm

    "McCain’s speech foreshadowed his “no” vote on Obamacare repeal. His decision to side with Democrats surprised everyone and delivered an indefinite blow to the GOP agenda."

    I wasn't surprised.  He has sided with the Democrats before.

  • Christian_Prof
    Posted: Tue, 01/02/2018 07:07 pm

    Janet,

    I also was not surprised. I don't always agree with John McCain, but I am a big supporter of him. He has his own mind. He has his own beliefs. And yet, he keeps an open mind. When he is convinced a better argument is out there, he moves. Our country needs more John McCain's in Washington. Not less.

  • Edward Boersma
    Posted: Fri, 12/29/2017 11:47 pm

    I thank God every day that Hillary is not our president.

     

  • Christian_Prof
    Posted: Tue, 01/02/2018 07:03 pm

    Cyborg3,

    Suffice it to say that we completely disagree about the current POTUS. While I do not agree with most liberal policies, I do think the democratic party has some solid points. I feel bad for those who have fooled themselves into thinking that there is ever an excuse for the self-aggrandizing, other-shaming treatment our current POTUS has propagated since the beginning of the birther movement. And yes, I absolutely do instill in my college students critical thinking skills, respect of others, and professionalism. If that means being a sellout, then I happily stand guilty as charged.

    Back to the issue: In 20 years, the GOP will be ashamed of its embrace of the Trump. You will see. Now I leave you with your many conspiracy theories above. Have a nice day. :)

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 01/07/2018 08:59 pm

    “While I do not agree with most liberal policies, I do think the democratic party has some solid points.”

    I see you do like the Liberals and that is the problem.  What exactly are the points you like about the Democratic Party? Abortion rights? Pro-women yet supporting Weinstein?  Having young black men destroy their lives by allowing them to be brainwashed to think that police discriminate against them and so they kill cops?  Supporting a minimum wage that is so high that young unskilled workers cannot find work due to the scarcity of jobs?  Supporting social programs that give out money, making people dependent on government so they have no motivation to support themselves?  Supporting marijuana legalization that destroys young people’s lives (especially black youth)?  Supporting Socialized medicine that is unsustainable and cost prohibitive that will destroy us economically if fully implemented?  I cannot think of one good thing that the Democrats do for if you carefully analyze the issues there is always a twist to the positive side that really makes it a negative. Please remind me of anything good that the Democrats do!  Here I don’t mean to say that all Democrats are evil for many have been hoodwinked into believing their lies, but we should challenge these folks to critically think through the issues. Republicans are also not perfect but they are much much better than the Democrats.

    “I feel bad for those who have fooled themselves into thinking that there is ever an excuse for the self-aggrandizing, other-shaming treatment our current POTUS has propagated since the beginning of the birther movement.”

    If this is all you think of Trump, then I think you have missed the man. Trump is a fighter who stands up for what he believes.  Was Jesus NOT a fighter? He certainly called out the Pharisees and Sadducees!  He called them whitewashed tombs! The point is not that Trump is Jesus, but that like Jesus he calls things as he sees them. There is nothing immoral about that.  Is Trump perfect in all his words? Certainly not! But is he as bad as the anti-Trumpers or Democrats (and MSM) would have us believe? Certainly Not! 

    If you teach your students respect, why don’t you show our President some respect? I’m not saying you have to agree with everything he says or does,  but please acknowledge the good that he is doing, especially for the Christian cause. For example, the reading of the passage about the Messiah in Isaiah this Christmas brought tears of joy to my eyes.  Also, why don’t you show DWBrown respect? 

    You are “selling out”, not because of some high moral ground issues, but due to sloppy thinking and acceptance of the propaganda from the Mainstream Media.

    “Back to the issue: In 20 years, the GOP will be ashamed of its embrace of the Trump. You will see. Now I leave you with your many conspiracy theories above.“

    These statements leads me to believe you are some leftist here out to propagate propaganda - to be honest. Why do you use the term “the Trump”?  Is this respectful?  I think not!  But to your point, I don’t think Evangelicals will ever be ashamed of Trump, though grateful to him for the Godly leaders he has promoted and the pro-Christian positions he has advanced.  Will he do everything that we want? Certainly not, but many issues he has already addressed and we should be thankful for these!  If Hillary was elected, she would have been like a Jezebel figure seeking to eliminate true Christianity!  If you think I am propagating “conspiracy theories”, then you have been truly duped and need a strong antidote of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham.  I would bet you listen to (or read) NPR, the New York Times, and CNN without any “fair and balanced “ news!

  • Christian_Prof
    Posted: Tue, 01/02/2018 07:04 pm

    Edward - 

    I also thank God that HRC is not the POTUS. I just don't care for the one he gave us. However, since he is God and I am not, I am willing to support Trump where I can and disagree with him where I can't. 

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