Year in Review: National News

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 in Year in Review

Here, btw takes a look at some of the stories that dominated national headlines in 2017.

A New President

The year began with the swearing in of the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, on January 20, immediately followed by the historic Million Women March the next day. The new president began stirring up controversy almost immediately after taking office. One of his first orders of business was an executive order banning immigrants, refugees, and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. Resistance movements and protests began to spring up nationwide, as entire cities stood up against Trump’s controversial immigration order. By October, several Democratic legislators had attempted to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump, while professional sports teams continued boycotting Trump hotels.

Meanwhile, the constantly changing roles in Trump’s administrative and leadership team led many to begin referring to the Trump administration as a “revolving door.” Perhaps the most notable departure was Michael Flynn, who was fired from his role as National Security Adviser after holding the position for less than a month.

As Trump recruited new members for his cabinet, vacancies were left in some important Senate seats that needed to be filled, leading to a few hotly contested special elections. In Georgia, Democrat Jon Ossoff lost by a very narrow margin, allowing Republicans to hang onto the seat. Later in the year, in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones won an unexpected victory after Republican candidate Roy Moore (who was endorsed by Trump) was accused of sexual misconduct with several teenage girls.

Russian Investigation

Even before Trump’s inauguration, officials began to investigate the role of Russian hackers in influencing the outcome of last November’s presidential election. This year, it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians during the election in an attempt to gain information to use against Hillary Clinton. Also during the campaign, Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with a Russian official. Over the summer, the story heated up when Trump fired FBI director James Comey, who then testified against Trump before the Senate. Eventually, Robert Mueller was hired to lead a special investigation into Russian hacking and the Trump administration’s role in it. In September, it was revealed that Russia had purchased social media ad space in an effort to sway voters. And in December, a whistleblower revealed that Michael Flynn had been in contact with the Russians about business deals as early as Trump’s inauguration day.

Natural Disasters

2017 was also a terrible year for wildfires. Deadly fires raged across the western United States in July. In October, wildfires in Northern California claimed the lives of more than forty people. In December, six wildfires raged across California in the worst wildfire season the state had ever seen. Ironically, at the same time, California also faced its rainiest year in history.

Two major hurricanes also caused serious damage and loss this year. In August, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, devastating several cities including Houston. And just two weeks later, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean before crushing the Florida Keys.

Violence and Controversy

Unfortunately, the United States was not immune from instances of violence this year. On Halloween, a terrorist drove a rented pickup truck into pedestrians on a bike path in lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring many more. And a  shooting rampage in California killed five and injured ten more in the worst terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11.

A white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to the murder of a protestor. Afterwards, debate raged nationwide over whether or not cities should remove Confederate statues and memorials.


The Million Woman March kicked off a dramatic year of protest and resistance nationwide. The #MeToo campaign, an effort to draw attention to instances of sexual harassment and assault, was one of the most powerful movements of the year. #MeToo found its way from Hollywood to the California capital, with female lawmakers speaking up against sexual harassment. Even Congress responded to the movement by proposing new methods to make it easier for victims to report instances of sexual assault and harassment in Washington D.C.

Also, NFL athletes drew criticism from President Trump when they protested racial inequality in the United States by refusing to stand for the national anthem.

What Do You Think? In your opinion, why did 2017 see so much political upheaval and controversy in the United States? Do you think we end the year more or less unified as a nation than we were at the end of 2016? Explain.