UAB Political Scientist Assesses The First 100 Days of President Trump

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Saturday marked President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office. During his presidency, he’s appointed a Supreme Court justice, taken a hard stance against immigration, and proposed a budget that would slash funding for a number of federal programs and institutions. The University of Alabama at Birmingham receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research dollars each year. UAB Political Science Professor Angela Lewis sat down with WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart to talk about the president’s successes and challenges.

Stewart: What are the greatest accomplishments for President Donald Trump in his first 100 days in office?

Lewis: I believe the greatest accomplishment is his stance on immigration. Now, while his executive orders have been held up in court and they’ve been blocked, we have seen the number of immigrants trying to enter into the country dramatically decrease in the first 100 days. The 45th president has made it abundantly clear who is welcome in America and who is not welcome in America.

And what about the appointment to the Supreme Court?

That is also a great accomplishment, so I guess it would be two things: the immigration piece as well as the fact that his nominee for the Supreme Court was actually confirmed.

President Trump fulfilled some promises through executive orders. Other promises are yet to be fulfilled. How will this impact his legacy?

You know, the first 100 days is the time when the new president could be possibly more successful than later in the term. So, if the failure of repealing Obamacare and some of the other promises he made, if that’s an indication of what could happen for the remainder of his presidency, he may not be able to fulfill those promises that he made to his supporters.

Does it disappoint supporters, or are they still hopeful? Where does he stand with supporters right now?

So I was looking at stats last night, and I found that 80 percent of the people who voted for him still support him. Only 2 percent of people who voted for him regret their decision. So as far as the people who supported Donald Trump, they are still supportive of him despite the failures.

Is there a chance that we will see Republicans in our state at odds with the administration if budget cuts are proposed that would negatively impact us?

UAB Political Science Professor Angela Lewis
UAB Political Science Professor Angela Lewis

I certainly believe that’s possible. I mean, we’ve seen where Republicans have not supported the president with the health care bill. There were not enough votes in Congress to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the new health care bill. And from what I understand, the president’s budget was dead on arrival. Although the president does have support among voters, he doesn’t always have the support of the party when it comes to some of those particulars like the budget and Obamacare. So, it’s possible, and we still have a long way to go during this presidency.

The president’s “America-first” position has really, in the eyes of many, galvanized people who thought that so many other policies were skewed toward the success of other nations.  On the other hand, there are some who feel that policy excludes. How does this impact us here at home?

UAB was ranked as the most diverse university in the country and the president of UAB has issued a statement saying we still embrace those differences … because that’s who we are. The numbers of international travelers to the United States have decreased and the number of applications to colleges (from foreign students) has decreased. So, I do see it possibly having a negative impact on colleges and universities like UAB, because people don’t feel particularly comfortable sending their children here, considering the rhetoric that comes from the White House. And so the only thing we could do as a university is continue to embrace the fact that we are who we are and that we are a diverse institution.