In May 2017, strained relations between the U.S. and Iran escalated when Trump deployed military bombers and a carrier group to the Persian Gulf. Trump hinted at war on social media, provoking a response from Iran for what Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif called "genocidal taunts". Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman are allies in the conflict with Iran. Trump approved the deployment of additional U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following the attack on Saudi oil facilities which the United States has blamed on Iran.
According to Michael Barkun, the Trump campaign was remarkable for bringing fringe ideas, beliefs, and organizations into the mainstream. During his presidential campaign, Trump was accused of pandering to white supremacists. He retweeted open racists, and repeatedly refused to condemn David Duke, the Ku Klux Klan or white supremacists, in an interview on CNN's State of the Union, saying he would first need to "do research" because he knew nothing about Duke or white supremacists. Duke himself enthusiastically supported Trump throughout the 2016 primary and election, and has said he and like-minded people voted for Trump because of his promises to "take our country back".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
U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan increased from 8,500 to 14,000, as of January 2017, reversing his pre-election position critical of further involvement in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said then that they aimed to "force the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement"; in January 2018, however, Trump spoke against talks with the Taliban. On February 29, 2020, the Trump administration signed a conditional peace agreement with the Taliban, which calls for the withdrawal of foreign troops in 14 months if the Taliban uphold the terms of the agreement. Trump said "it is time" to bring U.S. soldiers home from Afghanistan.More Info
On January 27, 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13769, which suspended admission of refugees for 120 days and denied entry to citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days, citing security concerns. The order took effect immediately and without warning. Confusion and protests caused chaos at airports. Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, which she deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional; Trump immediately dismissed her. Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and on February 5 a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation nationwide. On March 6, Trump issued a revised order, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, and removed priorities for Christian minorities. Again federal judges in three states blocked its implementation. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban could be enforced on visitors who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States".More Info
In April 2019, the House Ways and Means Committee made a formal request to the Internal Revenue Service for Trump's personal and business tax returns from 2013 to 2018. Two deadlines to provide the returns were missed, then Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin in May 2019 ultimately denied the request. Committee chairman Richard Neal then subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for the returns. These subpoenas were also defied in May 2019. A fall 2018 draft IRS legal memo asserted that tax returns must be provided to Congress upon request, unless a president invokes executive privilege. Congress need not justify the request, the memo stated, contradicting the administration's justification that a legislative purpose is needed to produce the tax returns. Mnuchin asserted the memo actually addressed a different matter.More Info
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