Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How America Changed During Donald Trump’s Presidency

BY MICHAEL DIMOCK AND JOHN GRAMLICH, Pew Research Center

Donald Trump stunned the political world in 2016 when he became the first person without government or military experience ever to be elected president of the United States. His four-year tenure in the White House revealed extraordinary fissures in American society but left little doubt that he is a figure unlike any other in the nation’s history.

Trump, the New York businessman and former reality TV show star, won the 2016 election after a campaign that defied norms and commanded public attention from the moment it began. His approach to governing was equally unconventional.

Other presidents tried to unify the nation after turning from the campaign trail to the White House. From his first days in Washington to his last, Trump seemed to revel in the political fight. He used his presidential megaphone to criticize a long list of perceived adversaries, from the news media to members of his own administration, elected officials in both political parties and foreign heads of state. The more than 26,000 tweets he sent as president provided an unvarnished, real-time account of his thinking on a broad spectrum of issues and eventually proved so provocative that Twitter permanently banned him from its platform. In his final days in office, Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice – the second time for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol during the certification of the election he lost – and the nation’s first chief executive in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor’s inauguration.

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