President Trump’s First 500 Days in Office: Government Accountability

As President Trump celebrates 500 days in office, he has taken the opportunity to publicize the accomplishments of his administration. On Twitter and in a statement issued by the White House, he proclaimed that his administration has reached “500 Days of American Greatness.”

Reform in Government Agencies

During his time in office, President Trump has championed legislation that reforms major federal agencies, most recently the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The President has supported the VA MISSION Act of 2018, which brings better patient care and resources to veterans and their caregivers. He signed the act into law this week.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 established an office within the VA to do exactly that—provide accountability and protect whistleblowers. This is aimed at ensuring that integrity and high standards remain the norm for the VA, a critical part of the government’s commitment to taking care of veterans.

“OAWP is dedicated and empowered to provide transparency and build public trust and confidence throughout the entire VA system,” the Department of Veterans Affairs website says.

The legislation was sponsored by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and signed into law by Trump in April 2017.

President Trump has also taken on healthcare during his first 500 days. He openly opposed Obamacare and promised to “repeal and replace” it during his tenure as President.

Now, the White House is celebrating the fact that the administration “successfully eliminated the penalty for Obamacare’s burdensome individual mandate through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The President is looking to provide other healthcare and medication options, ultimately cutting down costs for American consumers.

Other accomplishments touted by the White House include the “One Federal Decision” memorandum to streamline permitting procedures for major infrastructure projects and increase the transparency and efficiency of union contracts and activities.

New Faces in Government

The Trump presidency is one that has shaken up the political system. A businessman was elected to the highest office, rather than a career politician. As President, Trump has the ability and responsibility to appoint leaders within the judicial branch of government as well as his own administration.

Trump has appointed “a record number of Federal judges, who are interpreting the law as it is written, promoting federalism, and standing for our individual constitutional liberties.”

News outlet Axios reported that with Trump’s 12 appointments in 2017, he is “setting a record for the most circuit court picks confirmed in a president’s first year.” The impact that judges have far outlives the administration of the President who appoints them and impacts a variety of issues.

The President also appointed Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the US Supreme Court in 2017.

Trump has continued to appoint 9 additional judges within the federal judicial branch in 2018.

The White House also included a brief mention of the administration’s accomplishments in immigration in its statement on government accountability improvements in the President’s first 500 days. The statement read: “President Trump has improved the accountability of America’s immigration system and is actively combatting ‘sanctuary city’ laws, which endanger communities across the Nation.” The White House issued a separate statement earlier this week on immigration and border security.

Firings, Investigations, and Witch Hunts—Oh My!

President Trump is also responsible for staffing his administration at the White House and other federal agencies.

President Trump is no stranger to hiring and firing. As a businessman, he is known for his ability to cut to the point when it comes to employee performance, so much so that the words You’re fired became synonymous with Trump’s approach after the success of his reality television show, The Apprentice.

He has used the same approach as the head of the Executive branch of government. Only now he is calling it accountability.

The White House is celebrating the President’s commitment to holding government offices and officials accountable. He has “enhanced the accountability of the Federal bureaucracy by easing the process for removing poor performing employees and strengthening the merit system,” the White House said in the 500 days statement.

In a report published by the New York Times, the turnover of the Trump administration leadership was compared to previous administrations. When looking at 21 top positions at the White House and cabinet level, “nine of these positions have turned over at least once during the Trump administration, compared with three at the same point of the Clinton administration, two under President Barack Obama and one under President George W. Bush.”

One of the most notable turnovers was the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey in 2017. The firing came when Comey was starting to investigate possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Trump administration maintained that the Russia investigation was not the reason for Comey’s dismissal, although Trump has been publicly critical of the entire situation and of Comey personally.

The investigation has since been taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and is ongoing.

President Trump has loudly criticized the investigation, calling it a “very expensive witch hunt hoax.” He denies any collusion with Russia and condemns the investigation for being unnecessary and a waste of tax-payer dollars.

Government accountability and reform was most certainly one of the things that Trump supporters were looking for when they voted in a businessman over a career politician. According to the White House, accountability is exactly what Trump has delivered in his first 500 days as President of the United States.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Katie Begley

Katie Begley is a US Naval Academy graduate and former Surface Warfare Officer. In addition to being a military spouse, she is a freelance writer specializing in travel, education, and parenting subjects. Katie has worked in numerous communications roles for volunteer organizations and professionally for a local parenting magazine.

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