Following Iran's missile tests on January 29, 2017, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 25 Iranian individuals and entities in February 2017. Trump reportedly lobbied "dozens" of European officials against doing business with Iran during the May 2017 Brussels summit; this likely violated the terms of the JCPOA, under which the U.S. may not pursue "any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran". The Trump administration certified in July 2017 that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement. On August 2, 2017, Trump signed into law the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) that grouped together sanctions against Iran, Russia, and North Korea. On May 18, 2018, Trump announced the United States' unilateral departure from the JCPOA.
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
Congress members of both parties denounced the move, including Republican allies of Trump such as Senator Lindsey Graham. They argued that the move betrayed the American-allied Kurds, and would benefit ISIS, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime. Trump defended the move, citing the high cost of supporting the Kurds, and the lack of support from the Kurds in past U.S. wars. After the U.S. pullout, Turkey proceeded to attack Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria. On October 16, the United States House of Representatives, in a rare bipartisan vote of 354 to 60, "condemned" Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria for "abandoning U.S. allies, undermining the struggle against ISIS, and spurring a humanitarian catastrophe".More Info
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
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
Trump is a skeptic of multilateral trade deals, as he believes they indirectly incentivize unfair trade practices that then tend to go unpoliced. He favors bilateral trade deals, as they allow one party to pull out if the other party is believed to be behaving unfairly. Trump favors neutral or positive balances of trade over negative balances of trade, also known as a "trade deficit". Trump adopted his current skeptical views toward trade liberalization in the 1980s, and he sharply criticized NAFTA during the Republican primary campaign in 2015. He withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and launched a trade war with China by sharply increasing tariffs on 818 categories (worth $50 billion) of Chinese goods imported into the U.S. On several occasions, Trump has said incorrectly that these import tariffs are paid by China into the U.S. Treasury.More Info
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