The US is going through the change. On January 20th, President Obama will pack his bags – and President-elect Trump will drop the ‘elect’ and step into the White House. Here’s your Skimm on the names and faces of Team Trump, the new prez’s plan for his first 100 days, and a look back at the key moments from the Obama years. Get ready for a red, white, and new era.
Surprise: There are a lot of people that help keep the US gov running. Here are some of the picks Trump’s made so far...
The job: Broad role that could give him a say on domestic and foreign policy
His resume: CEO of his family's real estate business. Also married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka – which has many wondering whether his appointment breaks anti-nepotism laws
The job: Top adviser to the president
His resume: Used to run Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet
The job: Leo McGarry. Supervises White House staff, basically a gatekeeper to the president
His resume: Former Republican National Committee chairman
The job: Top adviser to the president; works on the White House’s priorities with lawmakers
Her resume: Longtime Republican pollster who served as Trump’s campaign manager, and the first woman in that job to win a presidential campaign
The job: CJ Cregg. Manages the White House’s relationship with the press
His resume: Former Republican National Committee head spokesman
The job: President's top adviser on foreign policy; manages international relations on behalf of the US
His resume: Former CEO of ExxonMobil; has relationships with lots of foreign governments, including close ties to Russia and President Vladimir Putin
The job: The top defense adviser to the president; in charge of the military
His resume: Served in the Marines for more than 40 years, leading forces in Afghanistan and Iraq
The job: Official US rep to the United Nations; keeps the sec. of state and president in the know about what’s going on there, advises them on foreign policy
Her resume: Two-term South Carolina gov known for taking the Confederate Flag down from the state capitol after the Charleston church shooting in 2015
The job: Carrie Mathison’s boss. In charge of all the CIA’s operations. Sets priorities for the agency. Advises the president on intel related to keeping the homeland safe
His resume: Congressman elected during the Tea Party wave; on the special committee that investigated the Benghazi attacks
The job: The top law enforcement officer in the US, in charge of the Justice Department
The job: Oversees the US debt; advises the president on economics and financials
His resume: Hedge fund manager and former Goldman Sachs exec
Trade...as in Trump wants to renegotiate NAFTA (cough, '90s trade deal between the US, Canada, and Mexico, cough). And then he wants to pull out of the TPP. That’s the trade deal between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries (hint: countries that border the Pacific Ocean like Canada, Japan, Mexico) that President Obama put together. The aim was to open up trade between countries that produce almost half of the world's goods and services. Critics on both sides of the aisle point out that this could hurt US workers by sending jobs overseas. One of those very loud critics is Trump.
Energy...as in Trump plans to exnay a bunch of federal rules on US energy production including oil, gas, and coal put in place to fight climate change. He’s said he’ll also make it easier for oil pipelines (hi, Keystone XL) to move forward. Trump says this would boost job creation.
Lobbying ban...as in Trump wants the ‘revolving door’ between K Street and the US gov to swing a little slower. He’s calling for a five year-ban on White House and Congressional staffers taking lobbying jobs after they leave. He also wants a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying for foreign governments.
Supreme Court...as in there’s been a job opening on the bench for almost a year, and Trump’s ready to fill it. He’s said he’s considering a list of right-leaning names.
Immigration...as in Trump will move to “cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities” – aka cities that allow undocumented immigrants to stay without fear of being prosecuted or deported. He’s also said he’ll start deporting about two million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. And that he’ll hit ‘pause’ on immigration from regions with a history of terrorism that do not vet people coming into the US. He’ll also practice “extreme vetting” for all immigrants.
Obamacare...as in repeal and replace. Still working on the replace part.
In ‘09, the economy was looking like you after your 21st birthday. This $787 billion stimulus is supposed to turn it around. Depending on which side of the aisle you’re asking, it’s either the best or the most terrible policy ever.
Obama taps Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic and the third lady Justice to serve on the Supreme Court. Later, Elena Kagan joins the fam.
GM goes over the rails, despite billions in bailout dollars that Pres. George W. Bush gave the company in ‘08. The US gov. eventually loans around $80 billion to the auto industry in total, which is paid back in full overtime.
Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home after a neighbor mistook him for a burglar. Obama called the arrest ‘stupid.’ Cue a heated national debate over racial profiling. And the world’s most awkward round of beers between Obama, VP Joe Biden, Gates, and the arresting officer.
Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, is signed into law. The goal: make healthcare more affordable, and get coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. Republicans – who say the law is too big and too expensive – have been trying to ‘repeal and replace’ it ever since.
Then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his top priority is to make Obama a one-term president. Say hi to years of head-to-head clashes between the GOP in Congress and the White House.
The GOP says ‘mine’ to the House, picking up more than 50 seats. Thank the Tea Party, a conservative movement calling for cuts to government spending, and lowering the national debt and the tax rates. Tea, spilled.
The al-Qaeda leader and terrorist behind 9/11 is taken down by a Navy SEAL team in Pakistan. The raid was OK’d by Obama, who lets the nation know in a late-night TV address.
Obama says the Iraq War is officially over, checking off a key campaign promise. Meanwhile, there will be thousands of non-combat US troops in Afghanistan for the rest of his presidency.
The Supremes decide that the individual mandate – aka the part of Obamacare that requires everyone to have insurance – is constitutional. If the Court had ruled against the health law, it probably would have been lights out for Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
Obama says that if Syrian President Assad uses chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, it would be crossing a “red line.” Later, in August 2013, graphic images appear to show a large-scale chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria. All signs point to Assad. For a second, it looks like Obama is on the brink of military intervention in Syria. Never mind.
A US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya is attacked by dozens of heavily-armed militants. Four Americans are killed, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens. Questions of who knew what and when focus on the Obama administration, especially Sec. of State Hillary Clinton...and keep coming for the next four years.
The ‘superstorm’ hits the US. When it’s over, at least 170 people have been killed in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. More than $60 billion in damage is done. NJ Gov. Chris Christie (R) catches a lot of heat for working with Obama right before Election Day.
Obama gets to call 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. home for another four years. Mitt Romney does not.
A gunman kills 20 students and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. It’s one of the worst school shootings in US history. Obama taps VP Joe Biden to lead a push for gun control. The Senate eventually says ‘nope’ to expanded background checks, an assault weapons ban, and limiting the number of rounds of ammunition allowed in gun magazines.
Two bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 250 others. Boston shuts down to hunt down the two brothers ID’d as suspects. One brother is killed after a confrontation with a campus police officer. The other is found at the end of that week in a boat. He is later sentenced to death.
In 2012, Trayvon Martin – a black, unarmed 17-year-old – was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman wasn’t charged until weeks later. Zimmerman is eventually found not guilty of second degree murder, leading to days of protests and the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Obama speaks to the black community’s frustration over the verdict, saying “Trayvon Martin could have been me.”
The US gov. shuts down for the first time in 17 years thanks to Congress being unable to agree on a budget. “Nonessential” workers are forced to stay home, national parks are shut down, and worst of all the panda cam is turned off. Many Republicans want to defund all or parts of Obamacare before they’ll sign off on the budget. The shutdown ends over two weeks later. This is one of many budget fights during Obama’s presidency.
HealthCare.gov goes live. And immediately crashes. This is super for Obama, who’s spent the last three years trying to convince the American people that his signature domestic achievement is worth the hype.
Ukraine had a revolution. It ousted its pro-Russian prez in favor of closer ties with the EU. Crimea (historically pro-Russian peninsula that is technically part of Ukraine) is not on board. Russia annexes Crimea for funzies. Later, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine get jealous and want in on Crimea's deal. Fighting starts between them and the Ukrainian military. MH17 is shot down. Obama and friends slap Russia with harsh sanctions for propping up the separatists. The US-Russia relationship goes from bad to basically nonexistent.
Meet ISIS: the murderous Islamic terror group going on an epic real-estate spree through Syria and Iraq. Thank power vacuums left by the Iraq War and the Syrian civil war. The first real ‘oh sh*t’ moment comes when ISIS sweeps into Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – with almost no resistance from Iraq’s army. Obama, who wrapped up the war in Iraq years ago, will soon announce a US-led coalition to get rid of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria – and commit non-combat US troops to the fight.
The GOP takes the Senate, meaning it now has control of both houses of Congress for the first time in years.
Obama unwraps executive actions (DC speak for ‘I do what I want’) to give millions of undocumented immigrants the chance to temporarily stay in the US. A group of GOP-leaning states soon say ‘stop right there,’ and serve Obama with a lawsuit. That goes all the way to the Supreme Court, which is split down the middle on what to do. Now, a lower court ruling striking down Obama’s moves is left in place and ‘Murica is back to square one.
Obama announces that – after more than 50 years of freezing each other out – the US and Cuba are having (diplomatic) relations. The US soon lifts restrictions on banking and travel, and Obama eventually becomes the first US prez to visit Cuba in more than 80 years. But it's up to Congress to give the final OK to lift an economic embargo that’s been in place since the Cold War. Congress says ‘not gonna happen.’
A white gunman shoots and kills nine black worshipers during a Bible study at a historic black church in Charleston, SC. Photos later surface of the gunman posing with the Confederate flag. This launches a national debate about whether it’s time to retire the flag, which is still flying in some form on state capitol grounds around the South. Several states move to take down the flag, marking a major turning point for traditional symbols of the South's Confederate past. Obama gives the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney – one of the victims of the shooting – which he ends by singing "Amazing Grace."
The Supremes decide that John can marry John and Cindy can marry Cindy in every single state. This ends years of legal back-and-forth. A few years earlier, Obama became the first US president to say same-sex couples should be granted the right to marry. By that point, at least half of the country agreed.
Iran, the US, and five other countries finally (finally) agree on a nuclear deal. Iran agrees to pull back on its nuclear program in exchange for the West easing up on heavy economic sanctions. After decades of the US and Iran not speaking to each other, this is a pretty BF diplomatic D, and a big check off Obama’s to-do list. Republicans (and Israel) are none too pleased, saying this only makes it easier for Iran to finance terror groups around the world.
Almost 200 countries agree to a global climate change pact that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions (hint: your car, some power plants), and slow the rise in global temps. Even though this is a major global achievement and checks off a big Obama campaign promise, many scientists agree that it doesn’t go far enough to fighting global warming.
Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Obama nominates moderate Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat. This would shift the balance of power on the Court from right-leaning to center for the first time in decades. But the Senate GOP says ‘no can do’ to confirming Garland. They opt to wait until after the November presidential election in the hopes that a Republican takes back the White House – and nominates a right-leaning Justice.
Obama endorses former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton for president, saying "I don't think there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office."
GOP candidate Donald Trump is elected to be the next president of the US. Two days later, Obama hosts Trump at the White House, saying he aims to make Trump "feel welcome as we prepare to make this transition."
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