On April 22, Trump signed an executive order restricting some forms of immigration to the United States. In April 2020, Republican-connected groups organized anti-lockdown protests against the measures state governments were taking to combat the pandemic; Trump encouraged the protests on Twitter, even though the targeted states did not meet the Trump administration's own guidelines for reopening. He first supported, then later criticized Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's plan to reopen some nonessential businesses, which was a key example of Trump often reversing his stances in his communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the spring he increasingly pushed for ending the restrictions as a way to reverse the damage to the country's economy.
Trump's cabinet nominations included U.S. senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, financier Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, retired Marine Corps general James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Trump also brought on board politicians who had opposed him during the presidential campaign, such as neurosurgeon Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as Ambassador to the United Nations.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
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.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
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
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