End of the government shutdown
On January 25th, 2019, Donald Trump signed a bill to end the government shutdown that began in late 2018 because of disagreement about border security funding.
After a long standoff between Donald Trump and the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives - where Trump insisted on getting money for a border wall, and the Democrats insisted they would not give it to him - Trump finally gave in and put an end to the shutdown, even though he did not get any money for his wall.
Most analysts viewed this as a political defeat for Donald Trump - he put a lot of US workers through great difficulties, and he ended up achieving nothing. However, Trump tried to spin the story in a more positive light, and maintained his claims about border security being a top priority.
The bill that ended the shutdown only provided temporary funding, so a new solution had to be found before February 15th. As the deadline approached, Democrats and Republicans came together in the House and Senate to finally approve a lasting funding bill. The bill provided $1.375 billion for 'more fencing' and other border security measures, but not nearly the $5.7 billion that Trump wanted for his border wall - yet another political defeat for him.
However, Trump proceeded to declare a national emergency, allowing him to bypass Congress in order to get the money needed to build his wall. This move has been heavily criticised by both Democrats and some Republicans, and it is expected that Trump will face many legal challenges because of his controversial move.
Second North Korea summit
In he final week of February, Donald Trump attended a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The summit took place in Vietnam, on neutral ground.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a possible nuclear deal with North Korea – ideally resulting in nuclear disarmament on the North Korean side, and in lifting of sanctions on the US side. Talks initially seemed to be going well, but then Trump abruptly decided to cut the summit short, walking away with no concrete deal on the table.
It is unclear exactly what caused the talks to break down, but the Trump administration has stated that it turned out Kim Jong-Un expected all sanctions to be lifted in exchange for only partial nuclear disarmament – which would have been a bad deal for the US. North Korea has disputed this story, however, claiming that the US administration were the ones who came in with unrealistic expectations.
Reactions to the failed summit have been mixed. Republican defenders of Trump claim that it was wise of the President to walk out rather than end with a bad deal, while his oppon...