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A Recap of This Summer’s Major Political Events

College is an enlightening experience: you’re an adult making fresh, new, and real decisions for yourself and owning it. It may mean you’ve taken a new interest in the political world—a world the younger and less-sophisticated you may not have been so interested in. Now, you and your peers make an effort to stay engaged and do your part. It makes sense—you get to call some of the shots now (or at least help in calling them).

That doesn’t mean you don’t need to take a break, though. The summer is a time to relax and soak up some you-time. And for a lot of people, that means muting the news app notifications or only skimming over breaking headlines. 

If you’re looking for a hard-hitting recap of the turbulence our political atmosphere has shoved us into the past few months, look no further. Here is a timeline of what you may have missed over your (much-needed) vacation from politics:

 

Tuesday, May 9

President Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

Reaching the tail-end of last semester, news surged about the investigation about the 2016 presidential election. Speculations simmered about Russia being tied with the Trump campaign. At the front of the investigation was the then-FBI director, James Comey. The termination from Trump came with massive confusion—although it was tagged an action against the mishandling of the Hilary email scandal, it arose right in the middle of the flames of the Russian investigation.  The public questioned Trump’s motives, and Democrats around the country called the action “unconstitutional,” which left the entire country wondering if the investigation into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia would continue. People compared the situation to Watergate, and many called for an independent counsel to lead the probe.  

Wednesday, May 17

Russian investigation finds new leader

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller assumed his position as the leading investigator into the Russian probe. The Department of Justice appointed Mueller as an unbiased, outside source with experience leading an investigation of this magnitude.

Tuesday, May 23

Trump’s budget hits Congress’ desk

Well before the new fiscal year begins in Oct. 1, Trump created his first draft of the country’s budget—a whopping $4.1 trillion. The budget includes massive cuts to aids for low-income families, such as Medicaid, food stamps and student loan subsidies. It also lends $54 billion more to the military, almost a 10 percent increase. One silver-lining to the controversial budget, though, is the additional money proposed for a new, paid paternity leave program. However, later in the summer, this program was one of the first to be put on the chopping block during the budget revision. People from both parties shot down the budget, which encouraged massive edits.

Thursday, June 1

Trump plans to abandon the Global Climate Accord

Former president Barack Obama met with other world leaders in 2016 to form the Paris climate accord—a group, and nearly worldwide, effort to help halt climate change. Not even a year later, the new administration announced that the U.S. would be backing out of the non-binding agreement. Trump reasoned that the countries not in the accord would start monopolizing businesses whose nature conflicted with the environmentally-conscious agreement (the oil industry, primarily). Trump has said on numerous occasions that he is skeptical of global warming, as have many right-wing politicians. The decision was condemned by world leaders and U.S. officials alike.

Thursday, June 8

James Comey testifies before Senate select Committee on intelligence

Previously fired from his position as FBI director, Comey was called upon to testify the Russian investigation. Comey called Trump a “liar” multiple times during the testimony and disputed with the committee about the ethics of Trump’s connection with the russian investigation as president. Millions tuned in to major network broadcasting stations to watch the testimony live.  

Friday, June 9

Trump responds to Comey’s testimony

Trump said in a press conference the day after Comey’s testimony that everything Comey said was false and that he had lied under oath. He also commented that he’d be willing to prove that to the committee.

Tuesday, July 4

North Korea fires a test missile

On the U.S.’s birthday, North Korea fired a nuclear missile into the Sea of Japan to test its range.

Friday, July 28

“Skinny Repeal” takes a nosedive

Following suit with his campaign promise, Trump spent much of his summer focusing on repealing and replacing Obamacare, with the replacing part remaining the most important on his agenda. As the Senate assessed Trump’s replacement plan, also known as the “skinny repeal,” many were confident it would also pass the final round of votes. The first round saw a “yes” vote from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who had only days before revealed he was diagnosed with brain cancer. His vote in favor of taking thousands off of healthcare did not sit well with citizens who knew very well he would receive potentially life-saving treatment from health insurance. Leading up to the Friday morning of the final voting round, a change of heart transformed McCain’s vote into a “no,” which shocked the entire Senate floor and the country. Many were also quick to remember that two Republican senators, Lisa Collins and Susan Murkowski, had opposed the replacement plan all along; instead of giving into bipartisan influence, they have never wavered from what they believed in. 

Saturday, July 22

Anthony Scaramucci begins brief stint in the White House

After shuffling around his staff for quite some time, Trump introduced us to another face—that of Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci took over as director of communications at the White House. However, Scaramucci was fired from the position just 10 days after his appointment, on his first official day of work, following an obscene interview with The New Yorker and a divorce from his wife.

Wednesday, July 26

Trump bans transgender individuals from armed forces

On a chilling July morning, Donald Trump revealed in unapproved Tweets that he will now be barring transgender individuals from serving for the U.S. military. Outcry poured out from millions of Americans, as a recent bill passed under the Obama administration had just began the process of allowing such individuals to serve. Trump claims the ban was influenced by concerns of medical cost, a claim that was questioned considering the $54 billion increase to the military’s budget.

Saturday, Aug. 12

White supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia

An under-the-wraps far-right protest swung wide open in Charlottesville late in the evening. The protest was in response to the removing of Confederate statues, a movement that has been picking up all over the nation. However, the protests took a dark turn as anti-semitic, racist and sexist chants followed as tiki torches blazed in the night. The event was organized and carried out by current and past KKK and neo-nazi group members. The events of the weekend resulted in one death and 19 injuries.

Trumps words on Charlottesville raises concerns

In an attempt to mend the country after the events of the day, Trump attributed the event to “violence on many sides” in a press conference. He never outwardly condemned the racist actions during the rally. Officials and citizens alike showed outrage to the comments.

Monday, Aug. 14

U.S. warns North Korea to back off

U.S. officials warned North Korea in a series of statements that the administration desired a peaceful resolution but aren’t afraid to show “full force” to take care of the nuclear threat.

Friday, Aug. 18

Stephen Bannon leaves White House

Before his departure from his position at the White House, Bannon made his way up to becoming one of Trump’s leading strategists during the campaign trail. Bannon was instrumental to much of Trump’s alt-right policing.

Saturday, Sept. 2

Trump impacts young immigrants

Following through on yet another campaign promise, Trump announced he would put an end to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program that allows children who came into the country at a young age with their parents to work and go to school. Concerns brewed as the Trump administration set the program to be scrapped in only a few month with no alternative program. Many fear deportation.

 

It’s important for us to stay up to date as a full year of a new presidency and new policies come to an imminent close.. Be sure to check out and bookmark your favorite news outlets, including Her Campus, to be in-the-know all year round!

Olivia is an adventurous sophomore at UW-Madison! She's pursuing two degrees in both journalism and mass communication, as well as literature. Olivia's favorite things about being a Badger is the school spirit, and the ability to always have something new to explore on campus. You can catch her at the Union or a coffee shop on the weekends with her friends!
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