Summits, elections, anniversaries and other momentous dates for Trump’s first year
Fireworks illuminate the sky above Sydney Harbor to mark the official start of 2017. (Mick Tsikas/EPA)
With Breanne Deppisch
THE BIG IDEA: Hopefully you enjoyed a restful holiday break because stuff is about to get real.
The liberal world order faces existential threats in the year ahead, as Donald Trump tries to eviscerate Barack Obama’s legacy, Vladimir Putin maneuvers to install additional allies in other western capitals and Angela Merkel seeks to survive the continuing populist backlash.
The Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal are in danger. The future of Syria, Ukraine and the South China Sea hang in the balance.
The stock market is surging and consumers are more confident, but the economy is fragile and CEOs are terrified that the new president might target their business next. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the second time in a decade last month, and the board plans to do so again in 2017. But how much and when remains unclear.
There are many other “known unknowns” about the coming 12 months. Congress will vote to “repeal Obamacare,” but what comes next? Will conservatives cave on a trillion-dollar infrastructure package, ballooning the deficit? Will the Wall Street guys who Trump has stocked his government with be able to stop him from launching destructive trade wars? How young will Antonin Scalia’s replacement be?
There are also “unknown unknowns.” The hard truth is that more terrorist attacks, perhaps on American soil, are inevitable. There are scandals we can foresee, but many others we cannot. And we’re being careful not to offer firm forecasts after so much conventional wisdom turned out to be so wrong last year. As Yogi Berra said: It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
Since the start of the decade, I’ve produced an annual list of notable dates to prepare for in the upcoming year. It’s a useful exercise that forces planning and facilitates longer-term thinking. The 2016, 2015 and 2014 versions hold up well. Continuing the tradition, here is what I am putting on my calendar for 2017:
Jan. 3: The 115th Congress convenes today. Republicans have control of both chambers and the presidency for the first time since 2006 and now plan to push the most ambitious conservative policy agenda since the 1920s.
Jan. 4: Dueling Obamacare rallies. President Obama visits the Capitol for a photo opp/pep rally with congressional Democrats about the importance of defending the Affordable Care Act, while Mike Pence visits his old stomping grounds to discuss repealing it.
John McCain speaks yesterday with U.S. servicemen outside Tbilisi, Georgia. McCain has been traveling across Eastern Europe with Amy Klobuchar and Lindsey Graham to reassure American allies who are terrified of Trump playing footsie with Putin. (Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA)
Jan. 5: John McCain holds a hearing on Russia’s election-year hacking. Liberated by his reelection, the 2008 Republican nominee may emerge once again as the main maverick in the Senate. Trump wants to move onto “bigger and better things,” whatever that means, but the former POW still has scars from his service on the frontlines of the Cold War. Literally. So he’s not about to look the other way as an ascendant Russia wages a quiet war against the United States just because his party now controls the White House. The Director of National Intelligence and the head of the National Security Agency are among the witnesses that Mack the Knife is hauling before his Armed Services Committee. (Walter Pincus has more in his new column this morning.)
Jan. 10: Obama delivers his farewell address. The White House said yesterday that the speech at McCormack Place, where Obama spoke on election night in 2012, will “offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.” Since George Washington began the practice in 1796, farewell addresses have often been among a president’s most memorable speeches, often played on a loop in their libraries. Recall Dwight Eisenhower’s prescient warning about “the military-industrial complex” and Ronald Reagan’s inspiring paean to “the shining city upon a hill.”
Obama and Trump meet in the Oval Office on Nov. 10. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Jan. 20: Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Watch for a flurry of executive orders and bill signings during the hours after he’s sworn in. The transition team will huddle this week to discuss which ones will get top billing.
Jan. 21: Demonstrators will gather on the National Mall for the 2017 “Women’s March on Washington,” protesting the newly-minted President Trump. The event is expected to attract thousands.
Jan. 25-27: House and Senate Republicans go on a joint retreat to Philadelphia. They will plot strategy for the months ahead and try to work out some of their differences behind closed doors. Important strategic decisions will be made in the City of Brotherly Love. There is buzz that Trump will fly up.
Jan. 31: The open-enrollment period ends for coverage through Affordable Care Act marketplaces for 2017. Most of the enrollment period is during the Obama administration, but the last 10 days are during the Trump administration. Will all the talk about repeal affect numbers? (The open-enrollment period for 2018 coverage through marketplaces begins on Nov. 1.)
Jan. 31: Year-end federal campaign finance reports are due to the FEC. We’ll get more specifics of how much Trump paid himself and his companies.
Feb. 5: The Super Bowl is in Houston.
Ted Cruz exits Trump Tower in November. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Feb. 22-25: CPAC will offer an early taste of how much Trump cares about his base once he gets power. The Conservative Political Action Conference, at National Harbor, is most important when Republicans are in the wilderness, which they are no longer. We’ll watch closely to see how Republican politicians with 2024 ambitions talk about Trump, if at all. Especially Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton. Who does the White House send? Does Trump come?
If the new president turns out to be an apostate, he could draw a primary challenger in 2020. We expect a burst of stories in this vein to be written at some point during the year. Ironically, Mitt Romney’s team maneuvered in 2012 to change the rules of the Republican National Committee to make it harder for a potential challenger against a President Romney in 2016. That seems funny in retrospect, but with Ron Paul refusing to concede that year, it was a genuine concern. Even a credible challenger from Trump’s right, like Cruz, would struggle to take on the institutional apparatus that now exists for the sitting president.
Feb. 23-26: A new Democratic Party chair will be elected during the DNC’s winter meeting in Atlanta. It’s the first battle in the brewing Dem civil war, pitting the Obama forces (represented by Tom Perez) against the Bernie wing of the party (represented by Keith Ellison).
Geert Wilders during a trial in September. (Remko de Waal/AFP/Getty Images)
March 15: An election in the Netherlands will offer a barometer of how strong the populist tide continues to be. Stephen Bannon, the new president’s chief strategist, sees his boss as part of a global movement, which he wants to do his part to help advance. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch far-right “Party for Freedom,” which leads opinion polls ahead of March elections, has embraced and celebrated Trump. “Politics will never be the same again,” Wilders told The Post in the wake of Trump’s victory, saying that Donald’s win helps his party by underscoring the global skepticism toward open borders for people and trade. “It’s a kind of new era that we entered.”
March 16: The debt limit has been suspended until 12:01 a.m. on this date. The Treasury Department can begin using “extraordinary measures” for some still-unknown length of time before the “true” limit is reached. But if Congress does nothing by that point, the U.S. will begin to default on its debts. Many Republicans who blasted Democrats for voting to raise the ceiling over the past eight years will find themselves in the awkward position of now needing to do the same. Trump promises to eliminate the $19 trillion national debt within eight years, but he also calls himself “the king of debt” and has left a trail of bankruptcies throughout his checkered business career. On the campaign trail last year, he also said the U.S. will never default because the government can just print more money and renegotiate with creditors. (Since this is not actually how it works, the deadline could spook the markets and lead to a game of chicken.)
The blossoms at peak bloom (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)
March 20: The cherry blossom festival begins in Washington. It runs through April 16.
April 3: The Nationals play the Florida Marlins for their home opener. It is an unofficial holiday in Washington, as many of the most important people in town assemble at Nats Park.
April 6: The 100th anniversary of Congress voting for the U.S. to enter World War I. Much will be written about the U.S. role in the world and whether Trump’s election – a repudiation of Wilsonianism – represents the truest bookend of the American Century.
April 20: The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee must report all donations of $200 or more to the FEC. We’ll discover how many contributors anted up $1 million or more for a slew of perks during the inaugural festivities. The funniest part will be which Never Trumpers are trying to buy their way into Trump’s good graces. (Matea Gold has more.)
April 28: The current Continuing Resolution funds the federal government through this date. If Congress does not pass a budget or another C.R., there will be a shutdown…
April 29: Trump’s 100th day in office. It’s been an important milestone since FDR took office in 1933 and began pushing through New Deal programs. There will be a flurry of stories and Sunday show panels this weekend assessing the new president’s early successes and failures.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, attends a horse show last month in Villepinte. (Jacky Naegelen/Reuters)
May 7: France chooses its new president, with the future of the E.U. on the line. The first round to replace Francois Hollande is April 23, and then the runoff is two weeks later. “Though polling suggests French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen wouldn’t beat center-right candidate François Fillon in the second round of the presidential vote scheduled in May, investors are mindful of the risk of a victory for an anti-euro leader in the currency union’s second-biggest economy,” a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal notes. “It would raise the question for markets, can the euro project survive?” said Andrew Wilson, CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It would be reminiscent of the European debt crisis.”
May 19: The presidential election in Iran will offer a window into the wherewithal of the nuclear accord. Hassan Rouhani is running for reelection and plans to tout the nuclear deal he negotiated with the west, but he could draw a stiff challenge from a hardliner.
May 25: The OPEC meeting in Vienna could significantly move gas prices. At the cartel’s November gathering, leaders from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq overcame divisions and agreed – in concert with the Russians – to cut oil output for the first time in eight years. This led to a spike in the price of oil, and it has hung at or above $50 a barrel since then. If the caps work and all parties comply with the agreement – which is not a given – the Arabs could decide to further curtail production. This would increase gas prices just as Americans go on summer road trips and shape how voters perceive Trump’s economic stewardship.
May 26: The leaders of the G7 gather in Sicily. Brexit will be a big issue around this time.
June 5-10: The 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arabs will be an important symbolic milestone in the region. Trump has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and there is speculation it could happen around this time.
Activists demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court last June. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Mid-June: The Supreme Court’s term ends. With the 4-4 split likely to last for a couple more months, this could be one of the least consequential terms in memory. But that doesn’t mean there will not still be a landmark decision or two.
The end of the term is also when justices announce retirements. Liberals are terrified by the prospect of Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer stepping down while Trump is president. Whomever replaces Scalia will return the court to its working Republican majority, but the president could transform jurisprudence for a generation if/when he chooses a second justice. This is how so many conservatives who found Trump so odious rationalized voting for him.
June 13: Virginia Republicans pick their nominee for governor in a primary. Former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, a top adviser in George W. Bush’s White House who almost toppled Mark Warner in 2014, is the establishment favorite of the four candidates running. His main rival is Trump’s former Virginia chairman, Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, who first came on the national radar with his crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Democrats, meanwhile, have cleared the field for Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. (The commonwealth restricts its governors to one term, so Terry McAuliffe cannot seek reelection.) If you missed it, Laura Vozzella had a wild story over the weekend about the nasty battle between two Republican state senators in the lieutenant governor primary.
Janet Yellen testifies in November. (Gary Cameron/Reuters)
June 13-14: The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen told reporters last month that she and the Federal Open Market Committee were “recognizing the considerable progress the economy has made” toward full employment and an inflation target of 2 percent. Economic projections released by the central bank, on the same day that the benchmark rate was upped, indicate that the Fed expects the economy to grow 2.1 percent in 2017. Jim Tankersley notes that, if Trump and Congress agree to slash tax rates and increase spending in areas such as infrastructure, the Fed could be forced to raise rates faster than expected to counter rising prices.
The FOMC also meets Jan. 31-Feb. 1, March 14-15 and May 2-3. There could be a rate hike at any of those three, as well. But many economists expect the governors to wait until the June meeting to act, which will give them enough time to see what impact last month’s increase had on the economy and what kind of fiscal stimulus there might be from a possible infrastructure bill on the Hill. If the Fed does not act in June, the board might hold off until during subsequent meetings on July 25-26, Sept. 19-20, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 or Dec. 12-13. (Yellen’s term ends in early 2018, and Trump’s criticism of her suggests she will not be re-appointed.)
June 14: Trump turns 71. The presidency takes a physical toll on everyone. Just look at pictures of Obama when he took office versus now. DJT prides himself on not exercising nor eating healthy. Will we see physical signs of aging? Will he try to cover them up?
July 7: Trump’s first G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Putin plans to be there.
July 27: India, the largest democracy in the world, holds its presidential election.
Heather Fazio, left, holds a sign as Irene Glass, right, tries to argue a point outside of Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s (D-Tex.) town hall meeting in Austin in 2009. Doggett said then that in his previous 15 years of service he had never seen such emotion as was on display during that forum.
July 31: Congress begins its summer recess. Both the House and Senate plan to be out of session from July 31 until Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day. During Obama’s first year, this was the period when Democratic incumbents began facing such vociferous blowback to health care reform during their town hall meetings. Remember all the crazy talk about death panels? If Trump and the GOP touch a third rail, and there are several possibilities, it could drive folks en masse to town halls. On the other hand, and this is a true tragedy for democracy, many lawmakers stopped having free-flowing give-and-takes with their constituents after the 2009 donnybrooks. (Check out the full House and Senate calendars for 2017.)
Aug. 12: The 30th anniversary of Reagan and Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in Washington. What will U.S.-Russo relations be like by the summer? Will there still be sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine?
Aug. 21: Americans will get to see a total eclipse of the sun!
Angela Merkel attends the annual congress of the Christian Democrats last month. (Volker Hartmann/Getty Images)
Sometime in September: Germany will hold federal parliamentary elections, which will serve as a referendum on Angela Merkel’s leadership. The Chancellor has been expected to win a fourth term, but she’s been hobbled pretty badly by the rising nativist tide and her party has faced setbacks in local elections. The Berlin truck attack before Christmas further heightened fears about her migrant policy. August 27 is technically the first date possible for the German legislative elections, but they could be scheduled for as late as October 22. Merkel herself gets to set the date, and German experts say custom dictates a couple options in late September. (Dana Perino predicted last night that Merkel will resign before the election.)
Oct. 1: The start of the U.S. government’s new fiscal year.
Nov. 7: Election Day in America. Historically the party that wins the White House loses the Virginia governorship the following year, but McAuliffe broke that half-century streak with his 2013 win. Hillary Clinton carried the commonwealth, but the state remains purple and Republicans are good at winning low-turnout, off-year elections. New Jersey will likely be picked up by the Democrats because of outgoing Gov. Chris Christie’s unpopularity, but there will be a contentious primary that could damage the nominee. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking a second term.
A man at a train station in Seoul watches a TV news program showing footage of a missile launch conducted by North Korea. (Ahn Young-joon/AP File)
Nov. 5-11: Trump goes to Vietnam for his first APEC summit, which will give us a good gut check about whether his effort to bracket China is working. The leaders of twenty-one countries will convene. The South China Sea, Taiwan and North Korea could be high on the agenda. ASEAN, which will be in the Philippines, should be right around the same time.
Just yesterday, the president-elect insisted that a North Korean intercontinental missile capable of reaching American soil “ won’t happen,” dismissing fresh boasts from Pyongyang while also berating China for not doing enough to thwart the rouge state’s weapons development program. It was a timely reminder of just how much Asia might end up dominating Trump’s foreign policy.