It’s undoubtedly been a turbulent term so far for America’s most unorthodox president. We’ve seen huge successes and failures, in a term in which Donald Trump has hardly been allowed to do his job. As establishment Republicans and Democrats stand side by side in opposition and the obnoxiously loud minority continue to throw their toys out of the pram in protest at his premiership, it is a miracle that he has managed to do as well as he has.
Even in the beginning, we’ve seen success turn to failure and failure turn to success. Such are the times. Trump, having started to fill his cabinet at a rate putting any past president to shame, is still left with many positions unfilled. He has however done something which Obama had failed to accomplish; fill the space in the Supreme Court.
The appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court can be looked upon as a great moment for America, its people and its constitution.
Not so great, in contrast, is Trump’s foreign policy in practice. Throughout his campaign he was an ardent non-interventionist, whereas during his premiership he has overseen what can be seen as the hottest of all cold wars with North Korea. He has also stood actively on the side of the anti-government protesters in Iran, and has committed to increasing (yet again) the number of US troops in Afghanistan. He has also openly criticised Turkey, to such an extent that Erdogan has said that “Accords and ties with Washington are losing validity”.
Not very non-interventionist.
Aside from this, he has had many successes in foreign policy. The supposed red line in Syria set by Obama was, in hindsight, a joke. Yet another of Obama’s ideas that was good in theory but failed to materialise in practicality. Other examples of this for which Obama sadly cannot be held responsible include socialism (just look at Venezuela – come on people – and Nazi Germany), in place of a meritocracy, and communism (every time it has been tried in history) – just ask the millions of victims of Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot and Khoibalsan.
Trump’s handling of Syria was much better. It was predicted by some that it would take five years to get rid of IS when Trump came to power. It took him less than a year. Who would have thought that a successful business man could carry through the philosophy of “on time and ahead of schedule”. The secret; working with Russia and not against them. It’s a miracle that two world superpowers were able to defeat IS by working together instead of against each other isn’t it? I think not.
Concessions like refusing to continue arming anti-Assad fighters in Syria have helped to thaw relations with Russia, as well as helping him to reinforce his mantra of non-interventionism. The same must be said for his freezing of a $125 million payment to UNRWA for aid to Palestinian citizens. The US is finally standing up for its ally (Israel) in a non-confrontational way, meaning that his ‘America First’ campaign is coming to light in this situation. There is so much vested interest and hope in Israel, as the only free, democratically open society in the Middle East, and the World benefits from its success.
Another of his campaign promises which has so far been fulfilled is his stance on immigration. The mere threat of legal and proper deportations and a wall on the Southern border reduced initial illegal immigration by 75%. Uncooperative states were unceremoniously defunded and debunked, with California being subject to a concentrated ICE crackdown after it passed controversial ‘Sanctuary State’ legislation. We’ve seen the power and influence of the thuggish cult MS-13, whose motto is “Murder, Rape and Control” (well don’t they sound lovely…), rapidly decrease after a federal crackdown.
The non-islamophobic, Obama-based travel ban is also looking likely to go through.
America’s oil and gas industry has been renewed, following Trump’s rescinding of a rule designed to punish them, according to the Bureau of Land Management. This is part of his America First pledge, helping in the quest for energy independence. Although that was something that should appeal to all sides of the political spectrum, as it keeps thousands of workers in employment, the Democrats weren’t too happy. You can’t change some things. Nevertheless, his passing of a bi-partisan budget deal by attracting nearly ninety Senate votes has to be seen as a success, even if it was only temporary. Supposedly happy Democrats, their allegiance being somewhat ironically named, then came out to say that they would blame the failure of a long-term budget deal on Trump. The Republicans hadn’t even set out a plan yet, and Democrats were taking options off the table; a ludicrous thing for supposed ‘representatives’ to do.
Oh well, the mid-terms are fast approaching. If they want to act like children with attitude problems, be it at their own peril.
Sadly, they will still gather support in some circles. I refer, for this, to the recent Breitbart publication, in which liberal students criticised Trump’s State of the Union address before it had even been given. I, for one, am horrified to see this prejudicial attitude in anyone, liberal, conservative or otherwise. Actions speak louder than words, and so that is what on which we must be judged.
Trump must be criticised on his support of Roy Moore. For sure, this man is a true racist, a true homophobe. But looking back to Trump, not only his support but his method of support must be criticised. An assured president must not simply stand back and remain indecisive when a candidate is announced. He must stand on one side of the fence or the other. In every decision that every leader makes, they are going to upset a lot of people – it must come down to principle. After all, this judgement and principle is what a president is elected upon, and so the acceptance or rejection of a candidate for a role can signal appetite for the president also.
This is not a case in which one can afford to sit on the fence, but the rejection of Roy Moore by the electorate cannot signal anything with regard to Trump’s appeal, due to his cowardly indecisiveness about support for his own party’s candidate.
Despite this almost comical indecisiveness, the Republicans continue to enjoy control over sixty seven of the ninety eight partisan legislatures in the US. We can judge Trump’s appeal on this, but only partly, as the fall in the appeal of the Democrats began during the Obama administration. During this devastating eight year period, the Democrats lost more than 970 seats in these legislatures.
I go back and forth on his efforts to repeal Obamacare. On the one hand, I support his repealing and replacing policy. On the other hand, the plan must appeal to the people and must be set out publicly to pressure Congress. But I do not support his current line of letting it implode on its own. That is not in the best interests of the American people, and so he must keep trying. His current stance of letting it implode on its own is completely irresponsible and must be changed.
We can all agree on one thing. Trump’s allegation of Obama wiretapping him is ridiculous, far-fetched and a ploy designed to counter the allegations of Russia interfering in the 2016 election. This is also ridiculous, far-fetched and a ploy – designed to bring down a democratically elected, mandate-entrusted president who has the best interests of the American people at heart. Libellous monstrosities such as “Fire and Fury” by the fraudulent, deceptive and backstabbing Michael Wolff need to be taken off the shelves of book stores everywhere. This is purely because the book is filled with lies, it has nothing to do with censorship – if it spoke of true negative quotes, true criticisms and true attitudes, I would support its publication in the interests of free speech. However, it is not and so, to quote a British TV programme, it should be banished to Room 101.
What is as scandalous, but not altogether that surprising, is the Democrat reaction to James Comey’s firing. This rag-tag band of never-Trump career protesters will never be pleased with anything he does, clearly. The same group who said that Comey must go for instigating an investigation into Hillary Clinton during the election campaign are now suddenly against him leaving because he has instigated a libellous investigation into Donald Trump’s election team.
The American worker, however, does not have any such scandal to deal with. CNBC reports that job-cut announcements in 2017 were the lowest since 1990 – 20% below 2016 was the figure reported in an analysis done by Challenger, Gray and Christmas) – leading to the lowest unemployment rates in thirty years. This is across the board, with all ethnic and economically banded groups seeing a reduction in unemployment figures. A further two million Americans are off the food stamp roll under Trump in one year, compared to an eleven million increase in sign-ons over Obama’s eight years.
Trump has succeeded in achieving the biggest drop in unemployment rates when compared to the vast majority of presidents, and due to his promises to the rust belt still outstanding with regards to the US steel industry this does not look like it is going to change.
This combined with his infamous tax reforms will see the average American family gain thousands of dollars, with 164 companies like American Airlines, AT&T, MusicNotes and Visa all providing bonuses, pay raises or both. Timothy Fiore was right in his comments, which follow. “The passage of Trump’s tax reform will provide companies with even greater incentives to invest”.
How’s that for a small government and free market system?!
Businesses are growing as well, one of the reasons why the unemployment rate is at a thirty year low. The institute for Supply Management is quoted as having said that “US manufacturing expanded in December  at the fastest pace in three months, as gains in orders and production capped the strongest year for factories since 2004”. Construction spending also hit a record high in November 2017. According to the Commerce Department, 0.8% more was spent in November 2017 on construction projects, meaning four consecutive monthly gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average has closed above 25,000 for the first time in its history as well. The recent volatility in the markets must be seen as a cause for concern, however the experts’ opinions must be recognised. The Chief Investment Strategist at BMO Capital Markets has said that “Dow 25k is just another milestone, not the top”.
Although there have been some extraordinary blips, one must not forget that we have seen an economy in its prime, providing us with 84 days of record breaking as well as a 7,000 point increase since Trump took office (going from 19,000 to 26,000) in just over a year of his presidency.
What is clear is that we now have someone in the White House who is willing to do and say what he really thinks. This, evidently, is what the American people elected him for. He ran on a platform with little codified policy, as is the system in the US, and is following through on what he said he would do. There have been mishaps and mistakes, but every president experiences a lot of these.
Trump must now be given the chance to further prove himself; if he is, who knows where we will be at the end of his term in the White House.