Why President Trump Is Not Winning At Crafting His Legacy

Like many politicians, Donald Trump offered many pledges that he aimed to fulfill in his presidential term in exchange for votes. Many of these campaign promises made to his supporters have been successful or somewhat successful, such as nominating a judge similar to Antonin Scalia, keeping Guantanamo Bay open, canceling the Paris climate agreement, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and reversing many of Obama’s executive orders. If you have some knowledge of the political process, these campaign promises are so simple that even a child could accomplish them (so long as they know where to sign). The vast majority of these promises simply require trumps signature and would be accomplished in similar fashion by someone else with an (R) next to their name.

Trump has made short work of deconstructing former president Obama’s legacy in many ways, as highlighted by some of the campaign promises listed above, but it is often said that it is much easier to destroy than create, and I tend to agree. Critics of Trump’s presidency have often stated, and rightly so, that his administration has not crafted and implemented a signature accomplishment. Without one or more of these signature achievements, Trump’s legacy will not be seen as “making America great again” by his supporters, but instead as a stain in history mired in, I dare say, a swamp of investigations and administrative incompetence. At this rate this is exactly what will occur, as explained below.

One reason that trump will struggle to accomplish much of anything is that any major accomplishment will likely have to be a legislative achievement. This requires cooperation from congress, and we all know how that’s been going. In a leaked conversation between GOP leaders in 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) joked that Putin pays Trump. Trump all but called out Senators Jeff Flake (who has been a vocal Trump critic) and John McCain during his campaign rally in Phoenix earlier this year and has threatened to shut down the government unless there is funding for a border wall (republicans do not want a shut down). Additionally, there have been reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and trump have not spoken in weeks. Meanwhile, Trump has had twitter arguments with Senator Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and most recently Senator Bob Corker (don’t expect this to remain the most recent for long). This non-exhaustive list does not even include democrats! With only a slim Republican majority in the US Senate, trump has to learn to work with others or nothing will get done. Sad!

Additionally, the white house itself is a mess. Believe me. Anthony Scaramucci, who was hired as the White House Communications Director in part to crack down on leaks in the White House, proceeded to accidentally leak information to a New Yorker reporter, and was consequently fired, all in the span of two weeks. Many do not see Trump as being serious or even caring when he hires and fires staff. Many in the White House have also been forced to resign or voluntarily quit. This non-exhaustive list of prominent figures includes Sean Spicer, Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon. The administration seems to be on pace for a record of staff shakeups, which does not help raise morale or stay consistent on the administrations messaging. Additionally, there are many factions in the white house vying for attention, including but not limited to: Trumps family members, the anti-establishment, the establishment, and the generals (Trump loves his generals).

Most recently, it has been reported by several sources present in a meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a moron. In an October 15th interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Tillerson said “I’m not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff” when asked if the reports were true. That’s an odd statement! Why didn’t he answer by simply saying “No, I did not call the president a moron”? Either the secretary of state has fails in clearly communicating his message, or he does not want to admit that he did call the President a moron. Either option does not bode well for this administration. Perhaps there is some other reasoning behind this response. If you have any insight to add, feel free to comment below!

The incompetence of the White House and failure to craft efficient policy positions lies squarely on our President’s shoulders. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and Trump confirms this saying every day, big league! The post election pivot that many expected Trump to make (towards moderate rhetoric, proposals, and administration) has not and is unlikely to ever surface. The Trump White House will be hard pressed to pass a significant legislative achievement to craft his legacy into a positive light when GOP allies are threatened and the White House staff and administration is incapacitated. There seems to be no end in sight in Trump’s destructive behavior. One does not have to look further than the President’s tweets to see that there is no concise focus. If you don’t agree with Trump’s goals such as building a great wall, repealing the affordable care act, and so on, then rejoice, as it does not seem that these goals will be met any time soon.


Sources Cited: You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Believe me folks.

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8 Responses to Why President Trump Is Not Winning At Crafting His Legacy

  1. wardog88 says:

    Hi LukaKolomeca, well I do agree on the fact that he hasn’t gotten much done when it comes to his own legislation, going on that, depending on your view of a legacy for a President determines what your view of him is. Not to be too confusing here, another way a of looking at this, President Trump didn’t really campaign on passing his own type of legislation more over just undoing the previous president Obama, former president Obama had control of both houses of congress and they got their own agenda done exp(health care, same-sex marriage, and Iran deal). This time around though a President’s legacy maybe just undoing past executive orders, which might I add, have been completely misused for political purposes no laws should be passed on executive orders at all it’s primarily an emergency procedure that rarely should be used, if congress is unwilling to act then we are stuck in a stalemate until further notice. President Trump may not be passing his own legislative agenda, that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t have a legacy it just won’t be based on his own passed laws. President Trump did campaign on a border wall and deregulating the economic sector, however, the President is also still trying to figure out how to work a white house administration properly, but with elections around the corner it will be extremely hard to pass anything if not now. Overall if one thinks a presidential legacy hinges on whether you get signature laws passed, then no, he doesn’t have one, however, if your legacy is about undoing previous work by a former president then he has one.

  2. garrettcecich says:

    There are several really great points in here, Luca. I agree that Trump’s legacy is going to be immensely difficult to build if things continue to go the way they have been. His legislative proposals have fallen on deft ears in congress for the most part (the only notable exception came earlier today, in fact, when Senate GOP members pushed a budget reform bill through that is intended to help pave the way for a new tax plan. With that being said, Trump’s legacy is adversely affected in many other ways, chiefly his public approval rating.

    It has become something of a rite of passage as an American (especially a young American) to oppose President Trump and his policies, as evidenced by his almost amazingly low approval rating among his constituents. While it is certainly too early to say that his legacy is cemented in infamy, he is inching closer to it every day, it seems. Trump himself is not as far to the right on the spectrum as his cabinet makes him seem, but he really isn’t a compromiser, at least not thus far in his presidency. The only way Trump can get some legislation through is going to be for him to appeal to a more moderate audience. For example, instead of just preaching “repeal and replace Obamacare”, he ought to have a concrete plan moving forward for the nation’s healthcare. That is not to say that Trump should come up with a radical free healthcare system along the lines of Senator Sanders’ requests, but even a state-sponsored healthcare system created to compete with existing insurers would go a long way in terms of endearing himself to the average American.

    The clock is ticking on the administration to win some victories in congress, as Presidents in the past typically are unable to do much there after the mid-term elections in the senate. I am hopeful that at least some resolutions can be made that benefit the country, no matter what camp they originate from.

  3. chicanochomsky says:

    Luka, I think you did a great job of summarizing what has been a chaotic administration that has yet to even reach it’s first full year! As far as Trump’s legacy is concerned, I kept thinking back to the old adage that a President’s first 100 days is key towards an administration’s legacy. We’ve long reached past that 100 day mark, and as you noted, there has been little Trump has been able to point to beyond unilateral actions. Unfortunately, I worry that this would only further encourage the President to push towards war with North Korea as a means of “rescuing” his legacy. As we saw with former Presidents Bush 41 and Bush 43, going to war can boost approval ratings.

    Here’s some Gallup polling on Presidential approval ratings boosting in the wake of attacks and military actions: http://news.gallup.com/poll/4912/bush-job-approval-reflects-record-rally-effect.aspx

    Some of the most favorable coverage Trump has received in his 9 months in office seemed to occur after the Syrian bombings carried out earlier this year. In fact I remember Fareed Zakaria on CNN declaring the day after the bombings that “Donald Trump became President last night”. If saber rattling is sufficient to win over pundits, let’s hope Trump doesn’t start a nuclear war to “win with his legacy”.

  4. bijanm1995 says:

    You do have some valid points, and Trump’s administration does need some internal work to do moving forward to succeed; your argument fails in many areas and I do not agree with you that president Trump’s presidency has been a complete failure. You note firings and resignations that have happened in trumps early administration, but without going into much detail into each instance you cannot justly make the argument that these were all negative things.

    You also failed or possibly refrained from mentioning the good economic state that Trumps presidency has held since being in office. The NASDAQ has been raising in value since 2016. The NASDAQ is now at record highs and has not slowed down since trumps presidency. According to CNN money over 1,000,000 jobs were created in the US during President Trump’s first six months in office. With such a stable economy and being at now what is considered full employment it is hard to make arguments against trump not leaving any sort of legacy.

    Pointing out internal flaws and not mentioning that he has kept the economy in good if not outstanding condition it is hard to not see this as coming from a possibly biased liberal who only points out the sides of the argument the further their agenda. It is ignorant to say Trump’s presidency has been a complete failure just as equally ignorant as it is to say it has been a complete success. With that being said, I believe it’s too early to determine his legacy with more than 3 years of his term remaining to see how he handles himself.

  5. Ronald Amann says:

    Thank you for your post. I always find it interesting when other students post about their perspectives on the politics of the current day. Here are some of my thoughts regarding the legacy of President Donald Trump.  While indeed there has not been much accomplished through the legislative process since President Trump took office, you may be surprised to find out just what his administration has been able to get done since assuming control of the executive branch of the government.  Let me start with the nomination of a conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court. Keeping in mind that the seat was vacant for almost a year before Trump even took office due to the unpopularity of the previous administration in the Senate, the nomination of Gorsuch went even further and ended up in a majority vote confirmation for the judge, something that Obama was incapable of accomplishing. At 49 years of age, and the youngest nominee in almost 30 years, the likelihood of Gorsuch remaining on the court for the next couple of decades is all but guaranteed.  And with three other judges still on the court over the age of 80, there still seems to be plenty of opportunity for the President to be able to appoint at least one, possibly even two more judges to America’s top court by the end of his first term.
    While it becomes increasingly apparent that the majority of the mainstream media in the United States is against the agenda of President Trump, and would like to have you to believe that his agenda is dead, it is worth mentioning that he completely outwitted and outmaneuvered them less than twelve months ago. I would hardly say that his legacy is not being formed. He is only a Senate bill away from a 1.6 billion dollar down payment on the wall along our border with Mexico that will fulfill one of his campaign promises. With prototypes for the wall being constructed as I type, I think that the possibility that construction of the wall will begin before the new year is high. Setting aside the importance of the construction of the wall for Trump, U.S. Customs is reporting a sharp decline in the amount of illegal crossings into America since Trump took office- something I seriously doubt is a coincidence.
    Healthcare reform is also not dead and this is where I would push back against your assertion that while a legislative win would be favorable for Trump and the Republicans, he does not necessarily need one to continue cementing his legacy. With the other things that I mentioned, he unilaterally, may have sealed the fate of the Affordable Healthcare Act last week with his order to pull back on the funding that is provided to states to subsidize health insurance. Consensus is widespread and with the President that the current healthcare law needs at a minimum some reforms, and I would not be surprised to see a bill being voted on soon. There is already a bill floating in the Senate said to have bi-partisan support and I suspect it too will come before the end of the year. Whether it will be any better than what is in place now remains to be seen, but I think that just about any healthcare reform bill passed would be considered a win for Trump.
    Only time will tell, but I think its too soon to count out Donald Trump.

  6. jacobdsaaevdra says:

    I do agree that legislatively Trump has not passed much but in his power as President he has accomplished much. Many of his supporters followed him simply to get a conservative judge on the Supreme Court and to get conservative judges nominated across America. In this aspect I think Trump will leave a lasting impact that could affect up for decades. Also what Trump choices not to look at also will affect us, his administrations disinterest in climate change will have an affect on us. Considering the fact that we are looking at a 4-8 year period where we at best stay stagnant when it comes to. this issue and at worse we look at going back to how we used to act in regards to climate change.

  7. bealpeyton says:

    One core difference between Donald Trump and “most politicians,” I contend, is that it seems there are only a set few promises he actually intended to keep; in addition, and only in his first year, there have been many “promises” that the president made as a candidate that he has brazenly contradicted as a president. There are some promises that, most likely, has no choice but to keep if he wants to securely win reelection: to build a wall along the Mexican border; to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and to “cut taxes” for Americans “across the board.” Out of those three, the first seems so implausible that it has been pushed to the background of most political conversations, the second ended as a complete and utter failure, while the third seems to be the most likely, even if only a small fraction is actually passed. The thing is, though, I cannot see a scenario in which Trump’s “base” begin to defect in significant numbers. As long as his voters hate and fear Democrats and liberals above all else, it’s going to take more than attacking Trump’s record for democrats to finally beat him.

  8. Lydia Chew says:

    Thanks for your post; I especially enjoyed the noticeable usage of “Trumpspeak” in your own writing! Admittedly, Trump has fulfilled several of his key campaign promises through the repeal of parts of the Obama administration’s legacy. However, I think that these actions have only proven themselves detrimental for our country. For instance, Trump’s attempt to leave the Paris Climate Accord garnered scorn and disdain around the world, from the UK to North Korea. Yes, that’s right—North Korea, long considered the least-cooperative nation, has criticized Trump for his “selfish” withdrawal from the agreement. The United States is now in a camp with only… Nicaragua and Syria. Exactly who we want to be compared with!

    Along the same vein, Trump’s attempts to destroy Obama’s healthcare legacy thus far have failed. While repealing Obamacare would please many Republican politicians—whose voters are sometimes enrolled in Medicaid plans, even without realizing it—the task has proved (so far) insurmountable. EVEN WHILE commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, several politicians (the ones with souls, apparently) have understood that repealing without replacing a major national healthcare law isn’t a good idea (what a shocker!). Likewise, repealing and replacing with a plan that would leave millions of Americans without coverage would be even more detrimental.

    This week, it came to light that there has been a “bipartisan deal” on healthcare. All I can say is, we’ll see!

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