What are Donald Trump's greatest political failures

Tenure balance sheet: successes and failures in four years Donald Trump


No US president before him has attracted so much attention, hardly seen a more turbulent term in office. How is the balance?

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  • Donald Trump was unlike any other American president before him.

  • It was a term of office full of turmoil and scandals.

  • A review of the controversial 45th US President on his economic, domestic and foreign policy.

With the storming of the Capitol by his militant supporters, Donald Trump's term of office ends at a dramatic low point: As the first president in US history, a second impeachment case is underway against Trump, and he is also threatened with criminal consequences.

For the more than 74 million Americans who voted for the 74-year-old again in November, Trump did a lot, if not everything, right. Time to take stock after four years.

Trump excelled with his migration policy. Under him, the border fence with Mexico has grown like no other president before. Trump only partially kept his election promise of the “great, beautiful wall”, which was also due to the costs and resistance from Washington. In the meantime 700 kilometers have been built, in parts the wall was only repaired for a total of 15 billion dollars. One of the most expensive infrastructure projects in US history, the tightening of laws against illegal immigration and illegal immigrants living in the country, has now led to a record low in illegal immigration, but studies have shown that it has not decreased significantly in the long term.

In the eyes of his supporters, Trump did everything right in health policy - although his failure in corona management ultimately cost him his second term in office. But Trump has effectively stalled the health care reform of his predecessor Barack Obama and thus kept one of his big election promises. In 2019, his government abolished compulsory insurance. Meanwhile, more than ten percent of the population, over 33 million Americans, are uninsured in times of Corona.

Thomas Jäger, political scientist and USA expert from the University of Cologne, sees the greatest domestic political legacy after four years of Trump in the further social division and the increased violence on both sides. "We have to account for a significant increase in targeted, public violence," said the USA expert, referring to the riots from Charlottesville to the Capitol.

Trump was most effective in his Middle East policy. Above all, Israel benefited from this. Key words: relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognition of the Golan annexation, normalization of relations with four Arab countries with the mediation of the USA. The Trump administration implemented a tough sanctions policy against Iran.

With the US troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump kept another election promise and acted consistently according to his doctrine of “America First”. Now, with a good 60,000 soldiers, there are fewer military personnel stationed in the two crisis regions than there has been for 20 years.

US expert Jäger sees Trump's greatest foreign policy failure in breaking old alliances. “The nationalist Trump has left his mark on foreign policy. He alienated all of the US allies, threatened to leave NATO, and attacked the EU in its unity. " Finding: Basically, Trump was aggressive in foreign policy. Jäger: "That led to an eye-for-eye foreign policy that brought little constructive action."

Tax cuts and a healthy global economy kept the American economy buzzing under Trump until the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The labor market flourished and the unemployment rate fell to a record level. «He relied on a lot of deregulation. In addition, the domestic economy also benefited greatly from the expansion of the promotion of fossil fuels - at the expense of environmental policy, which Trump was not interested in anyway, ”said Jäger.

Some also book Trump's tough stance towards China as a success, but in fact the trade war has not paid off for the USA, according to the political scientist.

At the end of Trump's term in office, the corona crisis smashed the labor market, and the unemployment rate rose to record highs in the meantime. The national debt under Trump, like all other US presidents before him, has increased and will continue to rise astronomically with the corona aid packages that have been decided.

During Trump's term of office, two characteristics emerged that can be seen most clearly in his handling of corona management: "Firstly, he does not listen to others and does not absorb any information, because he knows better than any other expert," says Thomas Hunter. "Second, it is difficult for him to change his position." This is true for some politicians. But Trump could not be dissuaded from wanting to tell the world anew: “Numbers, facts, findings, experiences - none of that interested him. He had an alternative corona crisis and alternative elections. He created a fantasy world into which he drew his followers. "