The Trump administration has been characterized by high turnover, particularly among White House staff. By the end of Trump's first year in office, 34 percent of his original staff had resigned, been fired, or been reassigned. As of early July 2018, 61 percent of Trump's senior aides had left and 141 staffers had left in the past year. Both figures set a record for recent presidents – more change in the first 13 months than his four immediate predecessors saw in their first two years. Notable early departures included National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (after just 25 days in office), Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, replaced by retired Marine general John F. Kelly on July 28, 2017, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Close personal aides to Trump such as Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, John McEntee and Keith Schiller, have quit or been forced out. Some, like Hicks and McEntee, later returned to the White House in different posts. Trump has disparaged several of his former top officials as incompetent, stupid, or crazy.
In October 2019, after Trump spoke to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House acknowledged Turkey would be carrying out a planned military offensive into northern Syria; as such, U.S. troops in northern Syria were withdrawn from the area to avoid interference with that operation. The statement also passed responsibility for the area's captured ISIS fighters to Turkey. In the following days, Trump suggested the Kurds intentionally released ISIS prisoners in order to gain sympathy, suggested they were fighting only for their own financial interests, suggested some of them were worse than ISIS, and termed them "no angels".More Info
A second Trump–Kim summit in Hanoi in February 2019, was terminated abruptly without an agreement; both countries blamed each other and offered differing accounts of the negotiations. On June 30, 2019, Trump, Kim, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held brief talks in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president had set foot on North Korean soil. Trump and Kim agreed to resume negotiations. Bilateral talks began in Stockholm in October 2019, but broke down after one day. As of May 2020, North Korea has shown no indication that it is willing to unilaterally denuclearize.More Info
In December 2018, Trump declared "we have won against ISIS," and ordered the withdrawal of all troops from Syria, contradicting Department of Defense assessments. Mattis resigned the next day over disagreements in foreign policy, calling this decision an abandonment of Kurd allies who had played a key role in fighting ISIS. One week after his announcement, Trump said he would not approve any extension of the American deployment in Syria. On January 6, 2019, national security advisor John Bolton announced America would remain in Syria until ISIS is eradicated and Turkey guarantees it will not strike America's Kurdish allies.More Info
On January 2, 2020, Trump ordered a targeted U.S. airstrike, which killed Iranian Major General and IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other people. Trump publicly threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites, or react "in a disproportionate manner" if Iran retaliated; though such attacks by the U.S. would violate international law as war crimes. On January 8, Iran retaliated by launching airstrikes on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq; initially the Trump administration claimed no Americans suffered injuries, then Trump said injuries were not "very serious", but by February 2020, more than a hundred traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed in U.S. troops. Iran issues an arrest warrant for 36 U.S. political and military officials, including President Trump, for their role in the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.More Info
His foreign policy has been marked by repeated praise and support of neo-nationalist and authoritarian strongmen and criticism of democratically-led governments. Trump has cited China's president Xi Jinping, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkey's president Tayyip Erdoğan, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán as examples of good leaders.More Info
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