President Trump’s 2018 in photos: a year of high drama at home and abroad

Donald Trump faced battles across many fronts in 2018, ending the year politically weakened

Leah Millis
Monday 31 December 2018 19:03 GMT
Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention in Orlando in October
Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Convention in Orlando in October (Photos Reuters)

President Donald Trump faced battles across many fronts in 2018, ending the year politically weakened after his Republican Party lost control of the US House of Representatives at midterm elections in November.

He began the year much as he ended 2017. He faced internal strife in a White House gripped by chaos and drama, losing his staff secretary, Rob Porter, who was forced out when allegations surfaced of past domestic abuse.

National security adviser HR McMaster was removed and replaced by hard-charging John Bolton. Political aide Hope Hicks resigned after years of service to Trump. The year ended with the president pushing out attorney general Jeff Sessions and White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Previously, Trump has denied his White House is chaotic, describing it in TV interviews as a “well-oiled machine”. He also disputed he was weakened by the elections, pointing to the Senate, where Republicans extended their majority. “Yesterday was such a very Big Win,” Trump tweeted on 7 November, the day after the elections.

In international affairs, Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal despite the pleas of European allies to stay in. He also met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a bid to end a long nuclear standoff. The summit eased tensions that both Kim and Trump had inflamed in the preceding months, but North Korea has yet to commit to a plan to end its arms programme.

Trump was fiercely criticised by Democrats and some Republicans for his performance at a summit in Helsinki with Russian president Vladimir Putin in July. Instead of condemning Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 US presidential election, Trump cast doubt on the findings of his own intelligence services.

Trump’s administration applied new sanctions on Russia but critics, including prominent national security experts in congress, said his performance at the Helsinki summit was weak.

A criminal investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s election campaign team and Russian officials brought further pressure on Trump and his allies.

Trump has frequently defended his meeting with Putin, calling it a great success. He has also denied any collusion between his campaign and Moscow in 2016, saying publicly many times that the Russia investigation is nothing more than a “witch hunt”.

Donald Trump tells Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer he would be 'proud' to shut down the government over Mexico border wall funding

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team indicted and won convictions against more of Trump’s former aides, including his personal lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Trump received credit for a strong US economy but it was not enough to prevent Democrats from winning control of the House in November.

The president’s toughest domestic test came along the southern US border with Mexico, where his administration’s policy of separating children of illegal immigrants from their parents provoked criticism. He maintained a tough stance on immigration, condemning a caravan of immigrants travelling from Central America, and deployed US troops along the border.

Trump’s biggest political triumph was getting his second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, through Senate confirmation, but not without a price. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault dating back to his teenage years. Christine Blasey Ford provided damaging testimony but US senators, many citing a lack of firm evidence, confirmed Kavanaugh in a narrow 50-48 vote.


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