The Rushmore Report: President Trump’s Five Biggest Challenges


In just eight days, president-elect Donald Trump will become President Trump. Looking toward the challenges he will face, Politico Magazine asked 20 of America’s sharpest political minds their opinions on the biggest challenges he will face over the next four years. We have chosen the five challenges that we believe will determine Trump’s success – or failure.

1. Washington’s resistance to change

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich writes, “The greatest challenge for the Trump presidency will come when the cabinet realizes how deep the capacity to resist change is built into the Washington system. The combination of bureaucratic entrenchment, old laws, thousands of regulations, lawyers filing lawsuits for delay, armies of lobbyists protecting their interests, the diversity of influence and opinion in the Congress, the hostility and confusion of the news media, the negativity of the think tank world – all will be pressures against bold change.”

2. Learning to govern in a democracy

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle says, “The next four years are likely to be the most disruptive of our lifetimes. President-elect Trump will likely face greater challenges than any president since Franklin Roosevelt. Perhaps his most important challenge will be to learn to govern in a democracy with a healthy and historic respect for the rule of law. His ability to do this well will determine the fate of our institutions of governance, perhaps in perpetuity.”

3. Terrorism

David Petraeus, retired commander of the U.S. Central Command, writes, “Two broad categories of threats will likely present the principal security challenges to President Trump and his administration in the year ahead. First, the administration will have to contend with the aggressive actions of the four most prominent “revolutionary states” – Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China. Second, the president and his team will have to deal with continued terrorist activities of Islamic extremist organizations.”

4. A serious replacement for Obamacare

April Ponnuru is senior adviser at the Conservative Reform Network. She writes, “The Grand Old Party might want to hold the champagne this year and get to work on a serious replacement for Obamacare. Scratch that: Have the champagne. What awaits is enough to sober up even the most intoxicated reveler. Long gone are the days when Republicans could simply return this unwanted gift from the Obama administration. The hard work is just ahead.”

5. Vladimir Putin

Lawrence Korb is senior fellow at the American Progress Action Fund. He served as assistant secretary of defense from 1981-1985, during the first Reagan administration. Korb warns, “The greatest challenge for President Trump will be in handling the threat that Vladimir Putin and Russia pose to U.S. security in at least three areas: the continued waging of cyber warfare on the U.S. and our allies; his aggressive behavior toward our NATO allies in the Baltics; and his nuclear modernization program that could violate new START levels.”


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