A look back at Donald Trump’s presidency in photos

Gun Rights

It has been a US presidency like no other.

Almost four years of Donald Trump in the White House has brought the world some truly memorable moments and images that will go down in history.

As we get closer to finding out the results of the US presidential election, let’s take a look back at Mr Trump’s first term as President — from his inauguration to his 2020 campaign and much, much more.

On inauguration day of January 20, 2017, Mr Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

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Thousands gather in Washington DC and watch as President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address
Crowds watch as US President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address.(Reuters: Ricky Carioti)

Not long after he was formally sworn in, Mr Trump put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the US and temporarily barred travellers with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It was a move Mr Trump then said would protect Americans from terrorism.

Protesters hold pro-refugee signs as they demonstrate outside the JFK International Airport in New York.
Demonstrators took to John F Kennedy International Airport in New York to protest the ban.(Reuters: Andrew Kelly)

Mr Trump nominated three people for the US Supreme Court in his term. His first pick was Neil Gorsuch.

At the time, Judge Gorsuch, 49, was the youngest nominee to the US Supreme Court in more than 20 years.

A man in a suit sits at a desk and is surrounded by people taking photos of him
Judge Neil Gorsuch at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.(Reuters: Jim Bourg)

Mr Trump ordered the firing of a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack against civilians back in April, 2017.

About 60 US Tomahawk missiles were fired from warships in the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking after news of the launch emerged, Mr Trump said he called on “all civilised nations” to seek to end the bloodshed and slaughter in Syria.

He said the US missile attack was in the nation’s “vital national security interest”, arguing that the US must “prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons”.

USS Porter launches a tomahawk, the US Flag is visible flying behind it.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile in the Mediterranean Sea.(AP: US Navy)

Former FBI director James Comey was sacked by Mr Trump during an ongoing investigation into whether his campaign had ties to Russia meddling into the election.

A month later, Mr Comey testified at a US congressional hearing where he accused the President of firing him to try to undermine the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion.

James Comey takes his seat surrounded by photographers and others.
James Comey takes his seat at the packed Senate intelligence committee hearing.(AP: Andrew Harnik)

The President also met Pope Francis at the Vatican.

At the time, the White House and the Vatican indicated the pair discussed terrorism, climate change and peace during their meeting.

US President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump, left, meet with Pope Francis.
Mr Trump and the Pope had expressed opposing views prior to their meeting.(AP: Evan Vucci)

During Trump’s presidency, an unforgettable clash between anti-racism protesters and white supremacist demonstrators occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It left at least 34 injured and one person dead.

The violence came after a night where hundreds of white marchers with blazing torches marched through Charlottesville shouting “unite the right” and “you will not replace us”.

Young men holding torches march in the night.
White nationalist groups marched with torches through the UVA campus in Charlottesville.(The Indianapolis Star via AP)

A year after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the US national anthem — refusing to stand to protest police shootings of unarmed African-Americans — Mr Trump called on the National Football League to ban players from kneeling while the national anthem was played.

Six footballers kneel on the sideline during a pre-game national anthem.
Denver Bronco players kneel in protest.(Reuters: USA Today/Timothy T. Ludwig)

In October, 2017, devastating Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and Mr Trump met survivors of the disaster in San Juan.

Donald Trump throwing paper towel rolls to a crowd of people
Mr Trump throws rolls of paper towels into a crowd of local residents affected by Hurricane Maria as he visits Calgary Chapel in San Juan.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

When Mr Trump met with former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at the White House it made headlines, but for an unusual reason.

The pair were locked in a handshake that last 19 seconds and President Abe’s reaction was hard to forget.

At the time, Mr Trump was accused of dealing a “death sentence” to the Middle East peace process by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Leaders around the world, including US allies, condemned the move as US embassies in the Middle East and Europe braced for potentially violent protests after the announcement.

In a speech at the White House, Mr Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mike Pence watches as Donald Trump holds up a proclamation recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
Donald Trump holds up a proclamation to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.(AP: Evan Vucci)

In his first year of office, Mr Trump had a sweeping tax bill approved by the US House of Representatives.

The bill slashed taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief to middle-class Americans.

Mr Trump, who had emphasised a tax cut for middle-class Americans during his 2016 campaign, said at the start of a cabinet meeting before the vote that lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent was “probably the biggest factor in this plan”.

US President Donald Trump, flanked by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Twelve Republicans voted against the bill and argued against the deficit-spending encompassed within it.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

After a deadly shooting at a Florida high school in 2018, in which 17 people were killed, survivors of the shooting began calling for more gun control in the US.

One of them was survivor Emma Gonzalez, who was a year 10 student at the time and attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the massacre took place.

Ms Gonzales became a well-known figure after she delivered an impassioned speech in front of thousands at an emotionally charged anti-gun rally in Florida and where she also called out Mr Trump for his ties to the National Rifle Association.

A young female gives a speech at a rally surrounded by people
“All our Government and President can do is send ‘thoughts and prayers’,” Ms Gonzalez said at the rally.(ABC News Video)

Mr Trump later hosted a listening session with six students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He sat in the middle of a semi-circle in the White House State Dining Room, listening intently as survivors and parents wept and delivered emotional appeals for change.

During the session, Mr Trump said he’d act on background checks, mental health and endorsed arming teachers with firearms.

A hand holds a piece of paper with five bullet points on how to speak to students affected by the Florida shootings.
Mr Trump copped criticism online after this photo captured notes of what he planned to say during the session.(AP: Carolyn Kaster)

In a tell-all interview with America’s 60 Minutes program, porn star Stormy Daniels (whose real name is Stephanie Clifford), claimed she not only had unprotected, consensual sex with Donald Trump in 2006, but was subsequently threatened to keep it quiet.

Ms Daniels said her lawyer came to her with a deal from Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to accept $130,000 to not tell her story.

Stormy Daniels pictured speaking to US 60 minutes.
Ms Daniels claimed the affair took place not long after Mr Trump’s wife Melania had given birth to their son Barron.(CBS via AP)

A United States-bound caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants entered Mexico in 2018, defying threats from Mr Trump that he would close the US-Mexico border if the caravan advances.

Man sits on top of the US-Mexico border fence with his hands in the air
Migrants stuck in limbo on the US-Mexico border.(AP: Gregory Bull)

Some travel more than 4,000km over five weeks to reach the US and are met with tear gas at the border wall.

Mr Trump said it was “a very minor form of the tear gas itself” that he assured was “very safe”.

A mother grasps her two children by the hand as the trio sprints from a tear gas cannister along US-Mexico border
A family, part of the caravan, run away from tear gas in front of the border wall.(Reuters: Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Amid the migrant situation, first lady Melania Trump visited a Texas facility which houses migrant youth separated from their parents.

But it was her jacket that made headlines. She wore a cargo jacket with the words, ‘I really don’t care. Do u?’ scrawled on the back.

The back of Melania Trump's jacket is visible as she gets into a vehicle.
Ms Trump wore the jacket to and from her trip to Texas.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

In June of 2018, a historic meeting took place between Mr Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

The pair met in Singapore and signed a document pledging to work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

“I feel really great. We’re going to have a great discussion and will be tremendously successful,” Mr Trump said on the day.

Kim Jong-un shakes hands with Donald Trump.
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shook hands numerous times on the day.(Supplied: Kevin Lim/The Straits Times)

Days after meeting with Mr Kim, the US President met with another powerful world leader, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The pair met at a summit in Helsinki, Finland where they spoke for more than two hours one-one-one with only translators present.

Mr Trump said: “The world wants to see us get along”.

And that the two countries have “great opportunities”, and while they had not got along for the past few years, they could have an “extraordinary relationship”.

US President Donald Trump meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a formal room in the presidential palace
The White House had originally scheduled Mr Trump and Mr Putin’s meeting for 90 minutes.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

Back home in the US, Mr Trump met with American rapper Kanye West during an appearance in the Oval Office.

Surrounded by press, West credited Mr Trump with preventing a war with North Korea and encouraged him to swap his usual Air Force One for a hydrogen-powered plane.

Mr Trump described West as a “smart cookie”.

Rapper Kanye West shows President Donald Trump a photograph on his phone of a hydrogen plane in the Oval Office.
West showed Mr Trump a photo of a hydrogen plane on his phone.(AP: Evan Vucci)

In July, 2018, Mr Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court to fill the position vacated by retiring associate justice Anthony Kennedy.

Multiple women then came forward with accusations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh, including psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford.

Christine Blasey Ford
Ford alleged a drunken Mr Kavanaugh attacked her and tried to remove her clothing when they were both teenagers.(AP: Andrew Harnik)

Judge Kavanaugh adamantly denied the allegations during hours of questioning in a dramatic and at times emotional Senate hearing.

Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee
The hearing occurred against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault.(AP: J Scott Applewhite)

The nomination ultimately went ahead, with the full Senate confirming Justice Kavanaugh by a vote of 50-48 in October.

In December 2018 Mr Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in making illegal hush-money payments to women to help the President’s 2016 election campaign .

Mr Cohen was also found to have lied to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia.

A head and shoulders photo of Michael Cohen arriving at court.
“I felt it was my duty to cover up his own dirty deeds,” Mr Cohen said, referring to Mr Trump.(Reuters: Jeenah Moon)

After Mr Trump announced the withdrawal of almost 2,000 US troops in Syria, and the White House declared victory in the mission to defeat Islamic State militants there, he visited soldiers stationed in Iraq on Boxing Day.

He was accompanied by the first lady during the unannounced trip.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly resigned following the announcement to withdraw troops from Syria at the time.

Donald Trump is in a business shirt, tie and casual jacket speaks at a podium
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi and Mr Trump spoke by phone, but they did not meet when Mr Trump was in Iraq.(AP: Andrew Harnik)

While Mr Trump was in Iraq, the US Government remained in lockdown.

Government employees were sent home or obligated to work without pay as Congress refused to meet Mr Trump’s demands to fund his long-promised wall at the US-Mexico border.

The promise of a border wall was a central component of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

A policemen walks past a sealed-off Lincoln Memorial in Washington during the US government shutdown of October 2013.
The shutdown affected approximately 25 per cent of the US government at the time.(Reuters: Jason Reed)

In his second State of the Union address, The President called for bipartisanship and cooperation.

“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution, and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good,” he said.

But it was Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who made the biggest statement of the night with a distinctive clap she gave the President.

Man turning back to look at a woman wearing a white suit.
Nancy Pelosi applauded Donald Trump after he called for more compromise in politics.(AP: Doug Mills)

A few months later at a Conservative Political Action Conference Mr Trump veered off script to launch a tirade about events that led to the Russia investigation.

In a speech that lasted more than two hours, he spoke out against special counsel Robert Mueller ahead of his report on alleged Russia collusion by the Trump campaign in 2016 and said his political opponents were “trying to take me out with bullshit”.

Close up shot of Donald Trump hugging an American flag on a pole
President hugs the American flag as he arrives to speak at the conference.(AP: Carolyn Kaster/Maryland)

During a state visit to the UK, Mr Trump visited Buckingham Palace and attended a state banquet.

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, President Donald Trump, and Melania Trump standing together
Mr and Ms Trump attended an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day while in Britain.(Reuters: Jeff J Mitchell)

He was accompanied by the first lady, daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner.

Theresa May, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Donald Trump and Melania Trump
Other political leaders such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Prime Minister Theresa May also attended the Commemoration event.(Reuters: Chris Jackson)

Not long after his state visit, Mr Trump became the first sitting US president to step into North Korea as he met the north’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in the Korean demilitarised zone.

Donald Trump looks at the ground and gesticulates with one hand, left, with Kim Jong-un, right, as they enter South Korea.
The meeting marked the first time the leaders of the US and North Korea met on the front line of the Korean peninsula conflict.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

Rescue officials reported scenes of utter ruin in parts of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, the most powerful storm on record to hit the islands.

As the hurricane raged, Mr Trump came under fire for repeatedly claiming that parts of Alabama could be hit by the giant storm.

He answered “don’t know” when asked why a weather map he showed to reporters in the Oval Office had apparently been altered to back up his claims about the path of Hurricane Dorian.

Donald Trump looks at a tracking forecast map on Hurricane Dorian.
Mr Trump said Alabama was in the original hurricane forecast.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

The following month, Mr Trump announced that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “blew himself up” after being cornered by US forces in northern Syria.

“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Mr Trump said.

The confirmation came a day after Mr Trump had tweeted that: “Something very big has just happened!”

Donald Trump and five senior military and political advisers sit around a table and look forward.
Mr Trump was surrounded by senior officials as he watched the raid unfold in the Situation Room of the White House.(AP: Shealah Craighead/The White House)

At the beginning of 2020, Mr Trump launched Space Force, making it the first new US military service in more than 70 years.

A close up of a American camouflage military uniform with the United States Space Command logo on the arm.
While Space Force is not designed or intended to put combat troops in space, it is the first new military service since the Air Force was spun off from the Army in 1947.(Twitter: United States Space Force)

A month later he was acquitted of both charges against him in the Senate impeachment trial.

The charges were abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

Donald Trump holding a newspaper up with the headline "Acquitted"
While Mr Trump celebrated being acquitted, he said he had been through a “terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people.”(Reuters: Leah Millis)

As 2020 went on, the world was in full swing, dealing with a new virus — COVID-19.

While battling with mass deaths, cases and lockdowns, Mr Trump worked alongside health expert Dr Anthony Fauci, who assumed national prominence as a leader in the fight against the coronavirus.

He contradicted or corrected Mr Trump on scientific matters during the public health crisis.

And while campaigning in October, Mr Trump said: “Fauci is a disaster. If I listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths.”

Anthony Fauci speaks in the White House press briefing room while Donald Trump looks on
Dr Fauci had acknowledged shutting the US down sooner could have saved lives.(Reuters: Tom Brenner)

Mr Trump held the Republican National Convention at the White House in late August.

At the conclusion of the convention, guests were met by angry protesters as they left the grounds of the White House.

A man in a suit stands on a podium in front of a White house with flags in the background and a crowd in front.
Donald Trump used his address to target Joe Biden, saying “no-one will be safe in Joe Biden’s America”.(AP: Evan Vucci)

Protests after the death of George Floyd continued to rage on across the country and just outside the White House.

Amid protesters in Washington, Mr Trump walked from the White House to the historic Saint John’s Episcopal Church, during which the President held up a bible for photographers.

Authorities cleared the way for him, using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

Donald Trump holds up a bible in front of a church
Part of St John’s Church was set on fire during protests.(AP)

After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mr Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her seat on the US Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump adjusts a microphone for Judge Amy Coney Barrett at a podium
There had never been a confirmation vote this close to a presidential election, and Judge Barrett’s was the first such vote in modern times to attract no support from the minority party.(AP: Alex Brandon)

A Rose Garden function at which Mr Trump announced Judge Barrett’s nomination was later identified as a coronavirus superspreader event, with many attendees, including the President, going on to test positive.

Twenty-four hours after announcing his diagnosis, Mr Trump left the White House by helicopter for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he spent three days.

In a white business shirt, Donald Trump looks at some files while sitting at an otherwise empty boardroom desk
Mr Trump posted photos of him working in a boardroom at Walter Reed during his hospital stay.(Twitter: Judd Deere)

While still infectious, he briefly left the hospital in a bulletproof SUV to wave at supporters gathered outside, accompanied by Secret Service agents clad in masks and personal protective equipment.

Donald Trump wearing a mask leaving the Walter Reed hospital.
Mr Trump’s doctors were evasive on his condition throughout his stay in hospital.(AP: Evan Vucci)

After leaving hospital, Mr Trump soon recommenced election campaigning and holding rallies, claiming without evidence he was now immune from coronavirus.

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at The Ellipse, before entering to The White House
Mr Trump spoke to a crowd of supporters just 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.(AP: Jose Luis Magana)

The second presidential debate against Joe Biden was cancelled after Mr Trump refused to take part in a virtual debate, which was hastily organised in light of his coronavirus diagnosis.

The final presidential debate played out more like a traditional debate than almost anyone expected, featuring more patient political sparring than the wild scenes of the first clash.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the final debate.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden offered vastly different views of America.(AP: Jim Bourg)

Democrats opposed Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, alleging hypocrisy given Republicans refused to confirm Barack Obama’s pick during an election year in 2016.

Ms Barrett faced days of questioning from US senators at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on abortion, the Affordable Care Act, presidential powers, climate change, voting rights, and other issues.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett displays her blank notepad
Throughout the confirmation process, the 48-year-old stressed she would operate independently of partisan politics and her own personal opinions.(Reuters: Tom Williams)

She declined to give her personal views or preview how she might rule if confirmed to the court.

A week before election day, Judge Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court, with the Senate voting largely along party lines and confirming a 6-3 conservative majority on the bench.

President Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett stand on a Balcony
Judge Barrett is expected to participate in arguments in a case in which Mr Trump and Republican-led states are seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on November 10, just a week after the election.(AP: Alex Brandon)


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