500 Days and Counting - President Trump's Leadership is Obvious
President Donald Trump has been the most controversial President in the modern era. He’s been called a maverick, an imbecile, a visionary, and an idiot depending on who’s covering his actions in the media. He’s a true political outsider who vowed to bring real change to Washington by “draining the swamp” and in many aspects he’s succeeding. Each victory comes with what’s viewed by many as the strongest obstructionism as a President has ever faced. And unfortunately for Trump it’s coming from both Democrats and Republicans. Never in our history as a nation has a President faced so much adversity and was still able to put up as many wins as President Trump is accomplishing. His policies are focused on his signature slogan of “Making America Great Again,” and empowering the American worker. He campaigned on reducing regulations, improving the economy, and putting American’s first rather than immigrants or other foreign workers. Under his leadership, the nation is still polarized, but rapidly improving with each success either at home or on the world stage.
Throughout the first 500 days, the Trump administration was victimized by 91% negative news coverage. His former opponent Senator John McCain has made it a point to stand against him in every possible way, including being the deciding vote to keep Obamacare. He has tried to get the border wall built, but was met by waves of opposition from both Democrats and Republicans alike. His family has been attacked relentlessly. Even former President Obama broke protocol and made negative remarks about his actions. Calls for his impeachment by Democrat Senators and Congress members are a daily occurrence. Hollywood has launched a never-ending full court press of attacks on his every move. He’s been called a liar, more times than anyone can count. And despite all the noise and obstruction, the President is unstoppable in moving his agenda forward.
Tax Cuts and the Economy
The United States economy is used as a barometer by numerous organizations as a determinant of how the nation “is doing.” Because our economy is broad and diverse, there will always be negatives, even when much of the nation is experiencing positives. So, regardless of how many “wins” the President can show, anyone opposed to his policies can easily find something negative to create spin in the media. Take for instance the Stock Market; the DOW is currently at 24,750, a figure which is 33% higher than when Mr. Trump took office. The NASDAQ recently closed at a record high on June 4th, 2018. Another indicator is the unemployment level, which is currently at a level not seen since 1969. Nearly 3 million new jobs have been created under the current administration. Additionally, the Atlanta Fed predicts the GDP growth rate will be 4.8% in the 2nd Quarter this year. At the end of the 1st Quarter, the GDP reached nearly $20 trillion for the highest recorded GDP in US history. Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high.
One contributing factor to the booming economy is a series of tax cuts which the President announced late last year. Some of these cuts were directed at business and others benefitted regular Americans. The corporate tax rate was slashed from 35% to 21%, prompting dozens of companies to pay unplanned employee bonuses. The cut brought America closer to parity with the rest of the world, where on average the rate is 22.96%. Also many corporations decided to bring assets back to the United States versus having them in foreign markets. This single act translated into a huge injection of cash into the economy and will provide jobs and economic growth for years to come. Opponents of the tax cut were quick to point out the impact it will have on the national debt. At this point in time, the Federal Reserve, the director of American monetary policy, hasn’t made a determination on the length or breadth of the cuts indicating only that they appear to be working in the short run.
Foreign Policy, North Korea, and the Middle East
In addition to putting more money back into American’s pockets, the Trump Administration has shown many unexpected wins in the foreign policy arena. The Middle East is not the active war zone that it was just a few short years ago. President Trump campaigned on wiping out ISIS; a promise which he fulfilled after just a year in office. Current estimates are that less than 1,000 ISIS fighters remain in the theater. In the time since Trump took office, 98% of the land which ISIS held under the Obama Administration has been liberated. President Trump also fulfilled his promise of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. This move was met with heavy criticism by supporters of Palestine. The President has abandoned the long-debated “two state solution.” The President is currently evaluating a change in authority over the region, which could dramatic limit the Palestinians ability to engage Washington directly.
Outside of the Middle East, the President is on the cusp of a historic summit with North Korea. North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, will sit down with the President on June 12th in Singapore. A large part of the negotiations will be focused on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. Although nothing is certain at this time, the fact that the President was able to get the peace process advanced this far in such a short time is encouraging. Kim Jong Un has already released three Americans which had been in captivity in North Korea as a sign of good faith. Many of the President’s advisors and his critics are skeptical of any real advancement with the upcoming talks. Others are more optimistic and point to the recent activities of Kim Jong Un as being more open to discussions of peace.
Obstruction at Every Turn
While the President makes some headway abroad, his critics domestically have continued to investigate Russian collusion from the 2016 election cycle. At this point in time, several members of his campaign team have been indicted for crimes committed many years before joining the administration. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has unearthed a litany of crimes however none of those crimes are connected to the Oval Office. Recent developments have shown bias from the investigation team and many are questioning if the investigation is outside of the original scope of Russian election interference. A soon to be released Inspector General report is reported to show that senior FBI staff members treated the investigation into Hillary Clinton differently than departmental protocol; something which could potentially damage the credibility of the investigation to a level it cannot recover from.
In other areas, the President has done great things that many people may be unaware of. It was national news when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, but what’s being under-reported is that under President Trump many of the unfilled judicial positions nationwide are being filled. As of this date, 40 Article III Judges, 21 US Court of Appeal Judges, and 18 district court judges have been confirmed. Since he was sworn in, the President has tried to fill the 167 vacant or soon to be vacant Federal level positions. These are all lifetime positions and success in filling them all would reshape the judiciary for decades. It would certainly speed up the wheels of justice by filling these positions; some which have been vacant for five years or more.
List of Newly Appointed Judges
Energy and Immigration
The list doesn’t stop here. President Trump has changed or removed over 800 Obama-era regulations which were detrimental to economic growth in America, particularly small business growth. He pulled America out of international agreements which weren’t in the best interest of the United States, including the Paris Climate Accord. He’s in the process of renegotiating NAFTA and has been working to bring the trade imbalance into parity. The United States has been in a deficit position in net imports versus net exports since 1975. Trump has focused on strengthening our energy independence and has approved key pipeline legislations which had been held-up by the Obama administration. Trump also ended the war on coal and is putting miners back to work.
President Trump puts American workers first and he’s committed to eliminating illegal immigration. Since taking office, illegal immigration is down significantly. ICE and Homeland Security are empowered to capture illegals and process them for deportation. Former President Obama had reinstated a Bush-era policy of catch and release in early 2016. President Trump ended that policy earlier this year and supports a zero-tolerance policy for illegals. His efforts are being challenged by Democrats, especially in California, where sanctuary cities are known for harboring illegal aliens. Even when the President offered a DACA deal to Democrats, they refused to accept it. He has also ended protected status for many Central American refugees who will soon be sent home. Overall immigration, both legal and illegal, is down under Trump.
And He Does it for Free - Summary
Overall in important areas such as the economy and national security, the President is making tremendous strides. His relationship with law enforcement and the military is refreshing and shows an amazing level of support. President Trump is actively working to improve Veterans care while at the same time he’s rebuilding the military. He’s committed to reducing the Federal workforce and hasn’t even filled all the open positions because he doesn’t need them. There is a freeze on new hires and recently the President announced new guidelines for Federal employment which will allow for easier firing of incompetent staff members. These are just a few of the President’s accomplishments in his first 500 days. And top ice the cake, he donates his salary to a needy cause; he’s making America Great Again….for free.
While many people feel that President Trump isn't fit for the job, he's having a lasting impact on the nation. He's been accused of playing too much golf, using Twitter too much, and a litany of other so-called transgressions. I'm certain that the comment section of this article will be a mixture of absolute loathing and loyal admiration for our current President. I would ask that you keep it civil when posting your thoughts.
© 2018 Ralph Schwartz