President Donald Trump: 7 things you need to know about the president running for reelection
By Roey Hadar
Gwen Ifill Fellow
Donald J. Trump, a real estate developer and television personality, was elected the 45th President of the United States in 2016 with no political experience. On the day of his inauguration, Trump officially filed documents to register his 2020 reelection campaign.
Trump ran in 2016 promising a crackdown on illegal immigration, reviving manufacturing jobs, tax cuts and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
As president, Trump has presided over a steadily rising economy and worked toward new trade deals. He has also faced criticism for his inflammatory rhetoric, his interactions with international leaders and his many factually inaccurate statements.
The president held a campaign launch event on June 18 in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000 supporters in Orlando, Florida, in which he attacked political enemies and the news media and listed his successes as president but did not roll out any new policy proposals.
Here are seven things you need to know about the 45th president:
- Trump has committed to building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Repeatedly citing the southern border as a security threat, Trump has cracked down on immigration, pledging in June to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants and presided over the separation of child migrants from their parents. After a month-long government shutdown over border wall funding, the president declared a national emergency and has used funds appropriated for defense to start border wall construction.
- He has renegotiated trade deals. Trump derided the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He withdrew from the TPP three days into his presidency and last year reached a deal with Canada and Mexico on a NAFTA replacement, known as the USMCA. The deal awaits congressional approval.
- The president passed a major tax reform bill, but has proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare to lower a rising deficit. The president pushed through a significant tax cut in late 2017, one that has helped bolster a strong economy but that has also contributed to an annual $1 trillion deficit that continues to rise. Trump’s most recent budget has called for significant cuts to spending, including to entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.
- As of June, there are fifteen investigations into the president or entities tied to him. Federal, state and local agencies have launched inquiries into Trump, including into campaign finance issues and potential misuse of inauguration funds. Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Trump for two years, bringing charges that sent several Trump associates to prison. Mueller announced this spring that he could not clear the president of obstruction of justice but could not find enough evidence to connect the president to criminal conspiracy.
- Trump has made reviving manufacturing a priority. As president, Trump has taken credit for a rise in manufacturing jobs. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the creation of the most manufacturing jobs in years, but the total number of jobs in that sector remains well below where it was before the 2008 recession. During Trump’s presidency, several major manufacturing plants have closed, including General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio, plant, which led to the loss of over 1,000 jobs.
- He has faced criticism for his handling of racial issues. A week into his presidency, Trump implemented a travel ban on Middle Eastern countries after calling for blocking Muslims from entering the U.S. as a candidate. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers condemned Trump for referring to white supremacists as “very fine people” after the 2017 Charlottesville protests. Democratic Rep. John Lewis called Trump a racist after the president reportedly called Latin American and African nations “s---hole countries.” In response to accusations of racism, Trump has touted his success in lowering unemployment rates for African-Americans and Hispanics.
- Trump has questioned the scientific consensus on climate change. Trump, an advocate for coal jobs and the deregulation of fossil fuel industries, has cast doubt on his own administration’s report on its impact and considered the creation of a panel to counter its findings. His administration pulled out of the Paris Agreement and has rolled back laws limiting pollution in an effort to stimulate jobs in coal and other fossil fuel industries.