President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE’s second year in office was highlighted by controversial tweets, clashes over immigration policies and federal judges, a return to the campaign trail and much of the same internal chaos that shadowed his first year in office.
Here’s a look at Trump’s 2018, as told by some of the numbers that defined it.
2,860: Number of tweets, excluding retweets (through 9 p.m. Dec. 31)
Trump pumped out thousands of messages on Twitter in 2018, sending nearly 3,000 through Dec. 31, according to Twitter archives.
In early 2018, Trump mocked North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the size of his nuclear “button.”
A couple months later, he tweeted that he had fired Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE. By late 2018, the president was using Twitter to insult adult-film star Stormy Daniels, calling her “Horseface” amid a legal spat between the two.
The president most consistently used Twitter to rail against his critics.
He tweeted or retweeted the phrase “witch hunt” 139 times as of Dec. 31 to attack special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump took aim even more regularly at the press, tweeting or retweeting the phrase “fake news” 193 times through Dec. 31.
66: the number of federal judges confirmed, including one Supreme Court justice:
The Senate confirmed 66 federal judges in 2018, a signature accomplishment for Trump and conservatives.
A few judges were rejected or withdrawn after it became clear they would not pass the Senate, including some who came under scrutiny for past views on race and gerrymandering.
The most notable confirmation proceeding came when Trump nominated Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy MORE for the second Supreme Court vacancy of his presidency after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
46: The number of campaign rallies held by Trump
Trump spent much of the year drumming up support for Republican candidates in the midterm elections, particularly those running for Senate.
In total, the president held 46 campaign rallies, making multiple stops in battleground states Florida, Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio.
The president’s blitz of appearances in the final days may have helped secure wins for Indiana Sen.-elect Mike BraunMichael BraunBottom line Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican GOP tries to take filibuster pressure off Manchin, Sinema MORE (R) and Missouri Sen.-elect Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability Biden's push for unity collides with entrenched partisanship The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike MORE (R), but his reach only extended so far.
While the GOP picked up two seats in the Senate to grow its majority, Democrats picked up at least 40 seats in the House to regain control of the majority in the lower chamber, setting up the prospect of partisan gridlock and investigations into the Trump administration in 2019.
Trump was defiant and refused to take blame for Republican losses, singling out defeated candidates by name for failing to more fully embrace him.
43 percent: Trump's average approval rating for 2018
Trump’s average approval rating for the year sat at 43 percent as of Dec. 27, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
A majority of Americans, 52 percent, disapproved of the president as of Dec. 27, according to the average of polls.
Trump’s approval during 2018 ebbed and flowed along with current events. He received improved marks following his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but watched his approval rating tank after his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The RealClearPolitics index of polls throughout the year showed that the president’s highest average approval rating during 2018 came in October, when 44.7 percent of Americans gave him positive marks.
The low point came early in the year, when 39.1 percent approved of his performance in January.
$5 billion: Trump’s demand for wall funding
Trump triggered a showdown with Democrats by demanding $5 billion in funding for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Neither he nor Democrats opposed to the funding have budged, forcing a partial government shutdown on Dec. 22.
Five: The number of former Trump associates caught up in Mueller's investigation
It was a busy 2018 for special counsel Robert Mueller as his prosecutors headed to court for the first time and continued working toward the end of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In total, five former Trump associates were implicated in the investigation in some way in 2018.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was newly charged in the Mueller probe with lying to Congress about a Trump Tower deal. The charge contributed to his three-year prison sentence. Cohen said that he violated campaign finance laws at Trump’s direction.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ investigating one-time Trump campaign adviser over alleged ties to Qatar: report Foreign lobbyists donated over M during 2020 election: report Former Mueller prosecutor representing Donoghue in congressional probes: report MORE was convicted in August on bank and tax fraud charges. He later reached a plea deal with Mueller to avoid a second trial, but saw that deal fall apart when prosecutors accused him of lying to investigators.
Manafort associate Richard Gates testified at Manafort’s trial, making him the third figure with ties to Trump to play a factor in the Mueller investigation in 2018.
George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE, a former Trump campaign adviser, served roughly two weeks in prison in November and December for his guilty plea in the Mueller investigation.
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was the subject of several court filings in the Mueller case in 2018. While he was expected to be sentenced at the end of the year, that was ultimately postponed after his attorneys requested a delay.
Trump and his team have claimed for months that the Mueller investigation is wrapping up, but it’s apparent that the special counsel will continue his work well into 2019.
10: The number of international trips Trump made
Trump made foreign trips in 2018 to Switzerland, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Argentina, Iraq and Germany.
On multiple occasions, Trump roiled traditional allies and raised questions about the future of U.S. diplomatic relationships.
After the Group of Seven summit in Quebec, the president backed out of a joint communique and bashed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He clashed with multiple allies during a trip to the NATO summit over the summer, as well.
At the end of the year, Trump made his first visit to a combat zone since taking office, meeting with troops in Iraq and Germany the day after Christmas. The move came days after he said the U.S. would pull out of Syria.
Two other trips that stood out from 2018 came during the summer.
Trump traveled to Singapore in June for a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim. It marked the first time the leaders of the two countries met face-to-face, and came just months after tensions between the two sides had peaked.
The two men shared a handshake in front of the cameras, then receded into a private meeting for hours. When they emerged, they signed a document that was short on specifics, but that Trump touted as a step toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Negotiations have carried on in the months since, and the president has said the two men will meet again in 2019.
Trump’s other most notable foreign jaunt came in July during a stop in Helsinki to meet with Putin.
The president stood next to the Russian leader and blamed the U.S. for souring relations between the two sides, cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and called the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference a “witch hunt.”
The comments drew bipartisan scorn, with lawmakers calling the performance an “embarrassment,” “weak,” and “disgraceful.”
1,497: Dow Jones losses in 2018
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1,497 points, or 5.6 percent, in 2018, its worst loss since 2008.
It delivered a blow to a president who spent much of the year touting the strength of the economy and the markets — though the market is up considerably from the 19,827 the day Trump took office.
At campaign rallies, at White House events and on Twitter the president regularly pointed to strong stock market numbers, record-low unemployment and consistently positive jobs reports to bolster his administration’s reputation.
The stock market experienced a number of ebbs and flows throughout the year, but the Dow was largely done in by a rough final month of the year.
Trump heads into 2019 with economic experts voicing concerns a downturn could be on the horizon, and with a simmering feud with the chairman of the Federal Reserve front and center. Members of the administration have consistently maintained the fundamentals of the economy remain strong, and there’s no reason for pessimism heading into the new year.