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An overview of Trump’s first six months in office

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In the month of June, President Donald Trump has been in office for about six months, which is long enough for the country to  evaluate him on a short-term basis.

Through six months, Trump has not necessarily done as the public might have expected him to. He has passed more than 100 policies since he was sworn into office, and most of the policies have sparked controversy. While he has his tight knit group of cabinet members, other members of his party have criticized his actions.

It’s difficult to measure the success of Trump’s time in office so far, with approval ratings at a historic low (38.1) and constant scrutinization by the media of everything he does.

Oscar Sanchez, a junior electrical engineering major who is the president of the College Republicans, believes that the immediate implementations have impacted the world in a positive way.

“Worldwide, a lot of people don’t like him, but I think he’s doing a good job externally like at the G-summit,” Sanchez said. “He was basically saying, ‘I don’t want the American taxpayers to get ripped off.’ Honestly, I think he should’ve done the tax plan first before working on health care. I think that just hurt his image and the party’s image a little bit. But I think he’s doing a good job externally.”

Celeste Acevedo, a senior communications studies major who is the president of the University Democrats, disagreed with Sanchez’ stance on Trump’s positive external views.

“Our relations with other countries, besides Russia, have definitely deteriorated because of his choice in warfare and rhetoric,” Acevedo said. “I think that his policies and rhetoric have globally negatively affected the impact of how the United States look as a superpower of the world now.”

Department chair and political science professor, Dr. Charles Boehmer, who has studied various topics in international security and international organization, keyed in on Trump’s first six months. He believes that Trump’s biggest accomplishment thus far has been his initial nomination by the GOP.

“That is rather important for conservatives in the U.S., and the president can claim that at least they made progress on something,” said Boehmer, who has been teaching at UTEP since 2002. “As far as his major policy ideas, those have really stalled. On the one hand he has a political base that still finds him popular, but his overall approval ratings are pretty low.”

Some would say Trump’s political inexperience has been an issue thus far in his administration. Based on his political inexperience, political scientists and other critics of Trump have deemed him as a rash decision maker on topics such as health care and immigration.

“Building a border wall, tax reform, the problems he’s had with travel bans and the Department of Justice have been particularly a problem,” Boehmer said. “And especially with any kind of potential scandal with Russia, and the number of people in the White House who are associated with him that are being investigated.”

While Sanchez agreed with the decision to leave Paris Agreement, which sparked controversy, Gabriel Solis, who is a member of the Young Democratic Socialists and recently graduated with a bachelor’s in history, disagrees with Trump’s taking the U.S. out of the agreement.

“With him leaving the Paris climate agreement, the United States became the laughing stock of the world,” Solis said. “We have a president who doesn’t believe in climate change or won’t admit whether it exists. That’s a huge thing. Just planetary, he’s a dangerous person to have in office.”

In the earlier stages of his administration, Trump passed a travel ban that prohibited Muslim refugees from entering the U.S. as well as immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Previously, the countries were deemed countries of concern for terrorism by the Obama administration.

His view on immigration has impacted the borderland as well.  Although Trump has not enacted all of the policies regarding immigration that he campaigned on, such as building the wall, some of the policies have already impacted people, according to Acevedo.

“I think that one of the biggest things, especially living so close to the border–something representative Beto O’Rourke has talked about a lot–is kind of the rhetoric about immigrants and the narrative that he frames,” Acevedo said. “The way that he speaks about the border has affected El Paso and I think it’s created a lot of anger in people here, especially because we’re a Democratic city.”

Despite all of the negativity that surrounds him, Trump has still garnered success in having passed as many executive orders as he’s had in such a short amount of time in office.

“To say that he hasn’t accomplished anything is not necessarily true,” Boehmer said. “Some of that has been through executive order, some of that has been symbolic, but particularly the Supreme Court confirmation is one of the biggest accomplishments so far.”

Sanchez agreed that Trump’s time in office has been well spent, although it has outside the ideas that Trump promised at the beginning.

“I expected him to do a bit better, but I’m pretty much good with where he is right now,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t even like that health care bill act, but it should’ve been passed. I think he’s doing all right, but it should be slightly better since he does have a simple majority in both houses. I think the most important part, and this is probably why he won over Hillary, is the Supreme Court.”

On the other end, Solis, who is entirely against Trump’s administration, believes that the president has done an awful job of maintaining stability and fears for his cohorts.

“A lot of people are afraid. A lot of undocumented friends of mine are very, very afraid—a lot of Muslim friends also,” Solis said. “The positive side of this is that so many young people are coming out, trying to join organizations and are demanding the opposite of what he’s demanding, and are ready to fight back and are mobilizing. For example, the student group E.N.D. (Education Not Deportation), their goal is to get the Border Patrol off campus, to make UTEP a sanctuary campus. Even if the administration won’t do it, from the ground up, we’re going to build a sanctuary culture. We’re going to inform students.”

Sanchez said he would rather look at Trump’s economic policies in the future and is hopeful about what’s to come for the president’s actions on taxation.

“Ever since he won, the stock market has been doing super good–record highs,” Sanchez said. “If a tax plan were to be implemented that lowered taxes for everyone, not just the one percent, I think that would be my favorite thing about his presidency, if it were to happen.”

Recently, Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and now, Comey was questioned on behalf of the president trying to form ties with Russia. Despite the scandal, Sanchez is confident this will not lead to something drastic like impeachment.

“I don’t see him getting impeached. The Russian collusion has not been proven,” Sanchez said. “In my opinion, it should’ve been dead already after what happened with the Comey hearing. There’s really no real factual reason to impeach him. It’s just that people don’t like him. I’m sorry to say, but he hasn’t done anything worth impeaching for.”

The hearing had no ruling or conclusion if Trump obstructed justice by being affiliated with Russia.

“His approval ratings are generally real low,” Boehmer said. “He had no honeymoon effect in his first six months. In a sense, often times congress is more willing to cooperate and they’ve accomplished not as much as they should have given the fact that the republicans control both chambers of congress and the presidency.”

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Leslie Sarinana
Leslie Sarinana, Copy Editor
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An overview of Trump’s first six months in office