Amid continuous scandal and calls for his impeachment, US President Donald Trump has made it to the end of his first year in office. He has however also ended the year as the most unpopular American leader at the same point in his presidency since polling records began. Associated Press put his approval rating December 22 at 32 percent, while Gallup placed him on 35 percent.
The president's first year was characterized by attempts to enforce campaign promises that invited widespread opposition both domestically and internationally, setting the tone for a tumultuous presidency.
Paris Climate Accord
Among his first major policy implementations as president and one that he promised on the 2016 Campaign Trail was to announce the US' withdrawal from the Paris Climate which commits signatory states to reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide to keep global average temperatures from rising by 2 degrees Celsius by 2040.
In the course of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had attacked the interventionist policies of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton especially in regards to Syria and Iraq.
While the missile attack caused many of his own supporters to begin doubting the sincerity of his non-interventionist promises, the attack received widespread approval in the American media, with many prominent commentators identifying it as the point at which he, "became presidential."
Iran Nuclear Agreement
Having condemned as a candidate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, agreed between the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran to suspend elements of the latter's nuclear program, as president, Mr. Trump set about indicating that he was intending to sink the agreement altogether and re-impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency's repeated certifications that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, President Trump has persisted in claiming the Islamic Republic is not complying with "the spirit of the agreement."
His decertification of Iranian compliance with the JCPOA and his insistence that Congress reimpose sanctions within 60 days or he will, drew hostile responses even from close US allies. Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief flatly rejected the US' ability to sink the agreement, saying that no single country could do so.
She also reiterated that the Agreement could not be renegotiated. The German Foreign Minister also ominously warned that the US scuttling of the deal could have profound geopolitical consequences globally, hinting that EU states would pursue closer economic relations with Russia and China rather than go along with a renewed US sanctions regime against Iran.
North Korean Crisis
Donald Trump's first appearance at the United Nations General Assembly set the stage for an unprecedented exchange of insults between the US and the North Korean leadership.
As 2017 drew to a close, president Trump upended 50 years of American diplomatic precedent by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and announcing his intention to move the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. The decision caused immediate international outrage and protests across the Muslim world.
The president did manage to finish the year with one indiluted success however — the passage of his tax-cuts bill on December 19, featuring the largest reduction in US corporation tax-rates since the presidency of Ronald Reagan on whom Mr. Trump has sought to model his administration.
Relying only on the slim Republican majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill successfully brings down the rate of tax large companies in the US will pay from 35 to 21 percent, starting in 2018. The plan has received widespread criticism from the Democratic Party and progressive activists who see the bill as a give-away to the rich which will have little to no positive impact on on most of the population. Nonetheless, Trump signed the bill into law December 22.