I know that many people are nervous about using current events or hot button issues. However, I think that if you are careful, there are many topics that can help make social studies feel more alive or engaging. For example, Donald Trump is certainly a controversial figure. Regardless of how you feel about him, his actions bring up many good questions for students to consider concerning topics like checks & balances, the rule of law, immigration, and more. Once they see that it affects their lives, students want to learn more.
That being said, I try to explain things in a way where students should not neessarily know which side I personally take on an issue, only that I am presenting them with both sides and giving them enough background to make an informed decision. We should be careful when discussing these topics, but bringing up the current events can be a good way to get students interested in a subject.
Do other people have thoughts on how to use current events as a way to get students engaged?