Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump and his administration have accomplished a great deal. Mainstream media reports, Facebook comment sections and family dinner tables have disputed for over a year now whether or not Trump is doing a good job as the leader of the free world. Let’s take a look.
Domestically, Trump has had a fair number of triumphs. Not only has the administration vowed to “destroy” violent gangs and drug cartels such as MS-13, but it also signed three orders to “restore safety in America.” To battle domestic crises, Trump has also established a commission to combat the opioid epidemic, as well as authorized the crackdown on human trafficking, cyber crimes, thefts of intellectual property and more.
As for women’s advancement, Trump signed H.R. 321 and H.R. 255 which enhance educational and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in STEM fields. Moreover, Trump’s proposed tax plan for 2018 hopes to establish paid family leave for mothers and fathers—a unique effort by a Republican president. Trump also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, leading to the formation of the Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
Beyond these matters, Trump is also in the process of uplifting American service members. This past summer he signed the Heroes Act which encourages police departments to hire veterans. That same day, he also signed the Benefits Act which expedites death benefits for family members of fallen police officers. The president also allocated over $2 billion for the Veterans Choice Program which allows veterans to avoid deadly-long waiting times at the VA and seek out private healthcare options on their own. Furthermore, Trump passed the “VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act” which aims to improve the level of culpability at Veteran Affairs while also protecting those who report misconduct.
To combat outsourcing and free trade deals that hurt American workers, the President signed the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order that many champion as an across-the-aisle win. To further ensure American jobs, the administration has also cracked down on the southern border. Since last November illegal immigration under Trump has decreased by over 70 percent, hitting a 17-year low, according to Politifact.
Furthermore, just six months after Trump took office, the U.S. added over one million jobs and by the 11-month mark that number increased by more than 650,000. Around the same time this landmark was reached the Labor Department reported a 16-year low in unemployment.
In terms of foreign policy, the administration has made unprecedented moves. First, the President congregated major Muslim countries in the Middle East and, with help from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, formed the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology according to Arab News. The forum explains that its mission is to promote “coexistence” while “[countering]” terrorism.
Additionally, Trump, along with his famed Sec. of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis, ordered that the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal be dropped on an ISIS stronghold. The MOAB, or Mother of All Bombs, killed over 90 terrorists while also loosening the Islamic State’s grip in Afghanistan. In another move to fight terrorism, Trump permitted the U.S. to begin arming the Kurds, anti-ISIS militants spread throughout the Middle East. Since then, U.S.-backed forces in the region have pushed the Islamic State out of major cities according to Politico.
Furthermore, the president convinced 25 member-states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to increase their defense spending within the union to better meet the continual contributions of the United States. His criticisms influenced Canada and numerous European countries to increase their NATO defense offerings by 4.3 percent. The Trump Administration also successfully negotiated the release of humanitarian worker Aya Hijazi from her three-year imprisonment in Egypt.
Trump has championed both economic and fiscal matters as well. Not only has the U.S. deficit fallen below last year’s estimates, but the U.S. Treasury recorded a $182.4 billion surplus this past April according to Market Watch. The Consumer Confidence Index under Trump has risen to its highest level since 2001 according to The Hill. Moreover, according to CNBC, the stock market has surged to historic highs and around six months following his inauguration these markets gained over $4 trillion in value.
The Trump Administration’s endeavor to eliminate regulations is said to have saved the U.S. $86 billion and nearly 4.2 million hours of paperwork for “businesses, state workers and individuals” according to The Hill and the Washington Examiner. Furthermore, Trump’s White House payroll decreases are on a path to save the U.S. taxpayer $22 million in the next four years according to Forbes. Also, in negotiations with Lockheed Martin, the administration was able to grasp more than $700 million in savings on the F-35 fighter jet program according to The Hill.
Since he took office, Trump has negotiated and/or helped finalize numerous initiatives to bring businesses back to the United States. A few examples of this include SoftBank, which promises to invest $50 billion and create nearly 50,000 jobs according to CNBC; Exxon, which vowed to invest $20 billion in the U.S. according to Fortune; and FoxConn, which revealed that it would invest $10 billion in Wisconsin according to BBC. Other investments are being made by General Motors, Hyundai, Bayer AG and many other companies.
In an essential trade deal, Trump persuaded China to start buying beef and natural gas from American companies according to NPR. Not only has the U.S. Energy Department already certified the exchange of “19.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas exports to China and other interested countries” according to the Chicago Tribune, but the deal also added around $2.5 billion to the U.S. beef industry according to NPR.
Many have also praised President Trump for signing executive orders aimed at enriching the U.S. economy. Some of these are titled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America” and “Establishment of Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.”
Too often we shut out the positive aspects of that with which we disagree. This article could have continued on for quite a while concerning Trump’s successes but unfortunately, I have a word cap.
President Trump is in no way an angel. He has had a copious number of missteps along the way. Crude comments, angry tweets and more have led some to completely disregard him. Unquestionably, there are political disagreements on hot-button issues that would not have served the purpose of this article. For that reason, only noncontroversial victories of the Trump Administration were used to frame this analysis.
The foundation of our democracy has been fractured by polarizing politics, and those who totally discount the President’s achievements only pull at that rupture. As Trump said, “We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.” Only by coming together and accepting the positives and negatives across the aisle can we properly “form a more perfect Union.”
Salvatore Pinero is a fourth-year student majoring in political science with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at SP0828988@wcupa.edu.