One year since President Donald Trump took office, his name has been splashed all over the media for thousands of hours, but what have the man and his administration really been up to in the Oval Office? By any account, President Trump has had a busy year, with the statistics to back it up. Some of the numbers are evidence of policy follow-through on campaign promises, while others highlight the hotly contested nature of this presidency. So one year on, how is Trump’s MAGA agenda coming along?
President Trump has signed 58 executive orders into law during his first year in office. The orders range in scope from one signed on his first day of office which set out to begin the process of repealing Obamacare, to the most recent one on January 9th, which seeks to improve mental healthcare for veterans and reduce the number of veteran suicides.
So far, Trump has the highest yearly average number of executive orders since President Jimmy Carter, whose yearly average was 80. Executive orders were traditionally a rare occurrence until they exploded in number under Theodore Roosevelt and were common during the war years until Eisenhower reined in the practice. Since the Carter era, there has been a general declining trend in the use of executive orders, although Presidents do tend to sign most of their executive orders during the first few years of their administrations and slow down later– whether Trump will follow this pattern has yet to be seen.
One of President Trump’s first executive orders was for Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, which called for the as yet unbuilt border wall, as well as a greater emphasis on border apprehensions and illegal immigrant removals. As such, the Department of Homeland Security and its ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agency have had a big year.
During the fiscal year 2017, ICE arrests went up by 42% over the previous year with 110,568 arrests after January 20. Of these arrests, 92% were either convicted criminals, were facing criminal charges, and were immigration fugitives or repeat offenders. Over 61,000 interior removals took place after January 20, a rise of 37% over the previous year.
Homeland Security Investigations made 32,958 criminal arrests and conducted a targeted attack on gang crime with 4,800 criminal arrests, including 796 arrests of MS-13 gang members, an 83% increase over the previous year. Criminal seizures included:
981, 586 lbs. total narcotics
2,340 lbs. of the opioid fentanyl
6,967 lbs. heroin
$56 million cash
$524 million illicit assets and currency
518 human trafficking victims and 904 child exploitation victims were identified or rescued.
Border and illegal immigrant apprehensions had decreased significantly during the later years of the Obama administration, with the lowest numbers recorded in 2015. Meanwhile, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of apprehensions at the border dipped significantly during Trump’s first year as President, with officials attributing the reduction to the deterrent effect of greater interior enforcement.
Finding the Right Team
Despite holding the highest office in the United States, President Trump is new to the world of politics – perhaps one of the reasons his voters found him a refreshing change – and he has had a year to settle into the day to practicalities of office. It has been a fairly rocky beginning in terms of White House staff, with a turnover of 34%. Over a third of the President’s senior staff have resigned, been reassigned or dismissed during the administration’s first year. Trump’s is the highest rate by far, with Reagan coming in second at 17%. According to Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recent rates of staff turnover during a president’s first year were 9% under Obama, 6% under Bush and 11% under Clinton. But is the Trump Administration particularly unstable? In fact, turnover rates tend to rise significantly during a president’s second year of office, a pattern Trump may still follow – Reagan’s second-year turnover rate jumped up to 40%, while Obama and Bush went up to 27%.
High profile dismissals include former FBI Director James Comey, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon – implying that for the former Apprentice star, “you’re fired” may be more than just a catch-phrase.
Being a multi-billion dollar businessman, most would expect President Trump to excel in managing the economy. This week, Swiss bank UBS gave Trump’s policies credit for a growing U.S. economy – while employment and job creation were relatively stable under Obama have continued at a similar rate over the past year, Trump’s key policy differences are tax reform and an optimism that has encouraged business investment and boosted consumer confidence.
Jobs created: 1.84 million
Stock market growth: 25.5%
Wage growth: 2.3%
GDP growth: 3.1%
A Numbers Game
The President’s first year in office has by no means been smooth sailing; there have been victories and defeats. The number of feuds, protests, and negative news coverage has been huge, but at the very least, Trump has worked solidly to achieve the campaign promises he made to voters – surely that should be the first job of any elected representative? Here are a few more statistics that could be used to describe the first year of the Trump administration:
Countries visited: 14
Foreign leaders entertained: 24
Sexual misconduct accusers: 19
Evidence proving sexual misconduct: 0
Investigations into collusion with foreign governments: 1
Evidence proving collusion with foreign governments: 0
When reviewing these numbers in toto it does seem that the president is moving and shaking things up in The Swamp. And that, dear readers, is precisely what he set out to do.