17 notable Trump moments of 2017
In a year filled with political news, you’d be forgiven for not remembering it all.
There were massive protests against a new president and his policy promises. Democrats tried to come to terms with their losses while Republicans won a series of special House races across the nation. And Donald Trump insisted three million to five million people had voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election without providing proof.
All seem like distant memories now.
Here are 17 of the most easily forgotten political moments of 2017:
1. It took exactly one day after Trump's inauguration for one of the largest mass protests in recent memory, as millions of women — and some men — marched on Washington and across America in the event that sparked the so-called “resistance” to the new president.
2. Trump fired Sally Yates, an Obama administration holdover, days into the new term, after she refused to defend the administration’s new policy to ban immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. It turned the then-acting attorney general into a star among many Democratic and liberal voters.
3. Thousands of men and women flocked to airports to protest Trump's travel ban in one of the most surreal scenes of 2017, demonstrations that included even top-tier politicians such as Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
4. The president had a year of gaffes but one of the most jarring was his remark about Frederick Douglass. He seemed to indicate that he thought the legendary African-American statesman was still alive when he said in February — to much eye-brow raising — that Douglass was “an example of somebody who's done an amazing job.”
5. Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in February to help steer the party following its loss in 2016. The former labor secretary beat out Rep. Keith Ellison for the job, a boost for some in the Democratic establishment who preferred the well-respected Perez.
6. Trump scored his first major victory in early April when the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, returning a conservative majority to the nation’s highest court following the 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia. But as the White House spent the rest of the year besieged by leaks, scandals and firings, the early win was easily forgotten.
7. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in April that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was worse than the holocaust. Trump’s first press secretary committed a handful of gaffes, but perhaps none as infamous as his suggestion that unlike the Syrian dictator, Adolf Hitler didn’t use poison gas. Three months later, Spicer had left the podium.
8. Trump provided no evidence when he suggested that three million to five million people had voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, but he nonetheless formed a voter fraud commission in May to examine the allegations and, more broadly, if voting was safe and secure. The commission, led by Kansas Secretary of State of Kansas Kris Kobach, has been mired in controversy for most of its existence.
9. Republicans delivered victories in special House elections in Kansas, Montana, and Georgia. The first half of the year Republicans won a quartet of unexpectedly competitive special House elections that GOP officials (at the time) said Democrats still couldn’t win tough races.
10. Rep. Steve Scalise was shot June 14 after a gunman targeted Republican lawmakers and aides in a brazen attack at a baseball field outside Washington that renewed the gun control debate on Capitol Hill.
11. It wasn't Trump’s finest moment of political salesmanship when he described the failed House GOP effort to repeal Obamacare as “mean” even as he pushed Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans were eventually unable to pass any kind of full-scale repeal of Obamacare, which had been their top priority.
12. Trump pardoned the highly controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Mericopa County, Arizona, who had been convicted of criminal contempt, in August in a move that incensed many Democrats and immigration advocates.
13. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona released an anti-Trump book in August that appeared to kick off a public rebuke by some Republicans of their president. He later delivered one of the more memorable speeches in recent Senate history as he announced his retirement, castigating his party for — in his view — putting power over principle in its support of Trump.
14. Democrats won the New Jersey governor’s race. Overshadowed by the higher-profile win in Virginia, Democratic nominee Phil Murphy won the Garden State gubernatorial race easily, thanks to Trump’s and incumbent Gov. Chris Christie’s deep unpopularity there.
15. Blink and you'll miss it: Two House members — Trent Franks a Republicans from Arizona and John Conyers a Democrat from Michigan — were forced to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct against them, part of the broader #metoo movement that promises to reshape politics even more next year.
16. Fueled by Trump, the Republican National Committee is raising big money in preparation for 2018 — more than $100 million, in fact. That's twice what their counterparts at the DNC have collected this year.
17. A DNC committee voted to drastically reduce number of super delegates. The controversial superdelegates might be (mostly) a thing of the past in Democratic presidential primaries, after a committee created to propose reforms to the DNC recommended their presence be dramatically scaled back in time for the 2020 contest.