Trump delivered on the right’s economic, cultural, and national security agendas.
“Life isn’t fair,” President John F. Kennedy once said. A hundred years hence, history books will recall President Trump for his two impeachments and detail the deadly U.S. Capitol riot that he is accused of fomenting — never mind that he told his supporters at a rally near the White House: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” [Emphasis added.]
Regardless, historians will dwell on the ensuing mayhem. Pity.
One hundred years from now, a fair-minded assessment of Trump’s presidency will recognize his abundant domestic and international accomplishments. Liberals unborn may be appalled. Conservatives unconceived may applaud. But both should agree that Trump was a consequential president whose sleeplessness achieved significant things, often while astonishing foes and friends alike.
—The $1.5 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a globally competitive 21% corporate tax rate, immediate deduction of business expenses, eight regulations junked for every new one inflicted, and Washington’s overall pro-business tone helped generate the most robust economy in U.S. history.
—Total employment (peaking at 158,803,000 working Americans in December 2019) never was higher. Black and Hispanic unemployment sank to their lowest levels ever, with female unemployment the lowest since President Dwight Eisenhower. Median household income in 2019 hit a record $68,703 — up 6.8% from 2018. Wages grew a healthy 3.6% that year, even as the left’s favorite adult toy, income inequality, slid for the second consecutive year under Trump, after rising under President Barack Obama.
—America’s poverty rate fell to 10.5% in 2019, a record low, with Black poverty at 18.8%, its first year ever below 20 %.
—Stock markets soared, thanks to Trumponomics. Since January 20, 2017, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed from 19,732 to 30,814 Friday — up 56.2%. On Trump’s watch, the S&P 500 has rocketed from 2,263 to 3,768 — a 66.5 % boost. And the NASDAQ has grown from 5,540 to 12,998 — 134.6% higher. This is spectacular news for billionaires on yachts and, more important, some 78 million Americans with IRAs, 401(k)s, traditional pensions, and other workplace retirement plans.
—Trump’s approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, fracking projects, and other initiatives have made America energy independent. The U.S. is now a net energy exporter, to OPEC’s regret and the frustration of Russian President Vladimir Putin — Trump’s “boss,” according to four years of baseless, unsubstantiated, evidence-free Democratic lies.
—For those who care, expanded natural gas production under Trump helped cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest level since 1985.
—Trump and the GOP Senate placed 231 constitutionalist jurists on the federal bench: Three Supreme Court justices, 54 appellate judges, and 174 trial-court appointees. The 2nd (New York City), 3rd (Philadelphia), and 11th (Atlanta) circuit courts of appeals all had Democratic-nominated majorities in 2017. Trump’s designees have turned these into Republican-majority appellate bodies.
—Trump’s signature on the First Step Act criminal-justice reform ended mass-incarceration and let some 3,100 largely Black, non-violent offenders begin new, mainstream lives in fiscal year 2019. FSA’s inmate releases are expected to increase in FY 2021 by 8,700.
—The president pushed school choice, expanded educational savings accounts to cover K-12 students, reauthorized the DC Voucher Program with $85 million in funds, stabilized assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, conditioned federal assistance to colleges on their defense of campus free speech, and (by shredding Obama’s Title IX guidance letter) restored due process for college students (mainly men) often falsely accused of sexual misconduct.
—Trump vastly improved Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, launched veterans medical choice, strengthened health savings accounts, required medical price transparency, and secured for terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs.
—Trump was the first president to address the National March for Life in person, rather than literally phoning in his remarks. He blocked Title X funds to Planned Parenthood and halted subsidies for abortions overseas.
—The president fought for a southern border wall, to stop entry by illegal immigrants, gang members, drug smugglers, terrorists and others who break into America without permission. Overcoming relentless Democratic objections, Trump ultimately prevailed.
In fact, the president Tuesday celebrated 452 miles of steel and concrete wall along the southern frontier. This distance roughly separates Manhattan from Greensboro, N.C., and connects San Diego and San Francisco. Consequently, federal apprehensions and encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border have plunged from 977,509 in fiscal year 2019 to 458,088 in fiscal year 2020 — down 53.1%.
—Trump dumped the cost-rich, benefit-poor Paris Climate Accord.
—Unlike the last three presidents, Trump finally obeyed the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Actand moved America’s diplomatic mission to Israel’s capital.
—Trump flushed Obama-Biden’s asphyxiating rules of engagement and sicced U.S. and friendly forces on ISIS in early 2017. By year’s end, the bloodthirsty, primitive, Islamic-extremist caliphate — which Obama-Biden let swell to the size of two New Jerseys — was blasted clean off the map.
—ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Iranian terror master Qasem Soleimani both were killed via American force.
—Under Trump’s guidance, Israel signed the Abraham Accords— four peace agreements (and the first since 1996) between Jerusalem and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
—The president confronted China. He applied trade sanctions for its cheating and intellectual property theft, locked up its spy-choked Houston consulate, slapped travel bans on top officials, and more.
—While Trump’s diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not denuclearize that country, the North halted the underground nuclear bomb tests and long-range missile flights that chilled the Obama-Biden years.
—The president harangued America’s NATO allies to keep their word and spend at least 2% of GDP on common defense. While four nations complied in 2016, today 10 pay their fair share. Through 2024, an extra $400 billion will fund NATO, not at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. This also aggravates Trump’s supposed “employer,” Putin.
In short, like FedEx on steroids, President Trump delivered on the right’s economic, cultural, and national security agendas.
The COVID-19 pandemic
Of course, the Chinese virus arrived a year ago and ruined everything. The pandemic, ensuing lockdowns, and economic devastation lobbed a sledgehammer into Trump’s prosperity machine. Still, the economy recovered with unexpected briskness, although winter infections, clampdowns, and deaths are slowing things anew.
Even as Trump ordered hospital ships to New York City and Los Angeles and erected pop-up hospitals across America, he pressed government and industry to produce ventilators, masks, gowns, and other medical gear.
Incredibly, Operation Warp Speed yielded two COVID-19 vaccines within nine months of the March 13 national-emergency declaration. That’s five times faster than the quickest vaccine previously developed. The 1967 anti-mumps inoculation took four years to produce.
Unfortunately, some governors are injecting these vaccines in slow motion. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., has failed so extravagantly that expired vials have landed in the trash.
Thanks to these triumphs, countless promises made and promises kept, and a parade of late-campaign rallies with at least 25,000 people each, Trump scored 74.2 million votes, the most for an incumbent president seeking reelection. He boosted his Black vote from 8% in 2016 to 12% last year — the most for a Republican since 1960. Among Black men, his numbers rose from 13 to 19%, and from 4 to 9% among Black women. His share of Hispanic votes rose from 29 to 32%.
Alas, President-elect Joe Biden won 81.3 million votes and, crucially, 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232.
The rest is history.
Shocking. A political leader with a large ego. (To endure narcissism, watch almost any Obama speech. “I” is his favorite vowel.)
Future historians should focus less on Trump’s abundant self-regard and, instead, do this: Ask not what Donald J. Trump did for himself. Ask what he did for his country.
Bucknell University student Michael Malarkey provided research for this opinion piece.