Trump has returned to one phrase — "witch hunt" — time and again — and repackaged with typical Trumpian hyperbole. “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Trump tweeted last May after ex-FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as Justice Department special counsel to oversee the probe.
Time magazine dubbed 2017 the year of the silence breakers, as powerful men who misused their power were brought down by the women they’d wronged.
Among the unheralded winners of 2017 are political scientists, some of whom could spend the rest of their careers trying to explain Donald Trump’s rise and significance. Two of them, Michael Barber and Jeremy C. Pope of Brigham Young University, saw in Trump’s ever-shifting, ideologically flexible views “a unique opportunity” to test a crucial question in American politics: “To which do people give a higher priority: their ideology or their partisan affiliation?” They ask, Why is it that Republicans, self-described defenders of American values and interests, “became four times more likely to view Vladimir Putin favorably” from 2014 to 2016? What changed is that the Republican Party nominated someone who boasted about the mutual admiration he shared with the Russian dictator, illustrating Barber and Pope’s finding that “group loyalty” and “social identity” are more important in shaping voters’ views than their professed ideology.
Donald Trump in 2017 moved from being a chaos candidate to a chaos president. He shoots for the moon (literally), routinely says things that aren’t true, and often makes pledges that generate enormous attention but very little follow-through. Many of his signature policy efforts have been tied up in or blocked by the courts, his campaign is under investigation by the FBI, and his approval rating is at historic lows for a first-year president.
Trump’s executive-order counteroffensive carries more than mere symbolic value and represents a dramatic policy shift that will impact the nation and the world for years to come.
While never quite admitting error, the White House has had to issue a number of clarifications and elaborations, on matters both serious and trivial. Here are a few of the occasions in 2017 when White House officials had trouble keeping their stories straight. President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, while Comey’s agency was investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia.
Now that 2017 is coming to a close, however, we thought it would be useful to look back on the year with some perspective and highlight some of the most important stories that didn’t get the attention they deserved the first time around — usually because America was too distracted by whatever that was over there.
Paul Ryan, as 2017 wound down, looked like a man who had dodged a meteor strike. The Republican House speaker from Wisconsin, in fact, looked like a man who had been relieved of a great weight at his weekly press conference in the final days of his party’s push to pass a massive tax cut through Congress. Most days were consumed with the tweet-inspired chaos that has become the norm in Donald Trump’s Washington.
One year into his first term, however, Trump’s pledge to root out Washington corruption has not exactly yielded the quick and easy results his slogan promised. Perhaps as a result, a new poll finds a sharp jump over the past 12 months in the number (44 percent) of Americans who think that most or all of the officials in the current administration are corrupt. A man holds up a “Drain the Swamp in Washington DC” sign as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the airport in Kinston, N.C., Oct. 26, 2016.