President Trump has reached the ending catastrophic scene in his Shakespearean tragedy playing out on the world's stage. A man well-born, who dared to shoot for the stars, reached the stars, had the universe at his fingertips, and then crashes back to Earth in flames due to taunting media gargoyles and his deep inner failings.
Nevertheless, Trump remains one of the most effective presidents in U.S. history. This is the “Trump Paradox" that will intrigue historians (and psychologists) long into the future.
Ignore the media cacophony trying to convince you that Trump is the source of all that goes wrong in the world. He has his failings, this we already know. Instead, let’s objectively look at the facts. And there have been at least 10 significant Trump successes that have benefited America and the global community:
1. Trump Reignited the U.S. Economy – During President Obama's eight years in office, the U.S. economy averaged a paltry 1.62% annual GDP growth rate and never exceeded 3% in any one year – the weakest U.S. economic recovery since World War II. And even in Obama's final year of 2016, the economy was continuing to sink with a GDP of only 1.57%. This malaise was the result of Obama raising taxes and enacting a slew of onerous regulations in the face of a fragile economy struggling to recover from the Great Recession.
In 2017, Trump rapidly altered course with broad-based tax cuts, coupled with taking the scalpel to the endless business-killing regulations Obama embraced. The economy and job growth immediately took off – GDP rose to 2.22% in 2017, 3.18% in 2018, and 2.33% in 2019. The Unemployment Rate declined to a historic low of 3.5% by the end of 2019, with Hispanic, African-American, and female unemployment also hitting record lows. Real Median Household Income went from $62,898 in 2016 to $68,703 in 2019, a much needed 9.2% increase in income, or $5,805 per household. Furthermore, Trump's policies finally enabled America to become truly energy independent from the problematic Middle East. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the closely watched barometer of economic progress, went from 18,332 on election day November 8, 2016, to 30,606 on December 31, 2020 — a breathtaking gain of 67% — or 16.75% annualized. (Note that these stellar economic results have been overshadowed by the rolling 2020 economic shutdown responses to the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Flu of 1918.)
2. Trump Reconfigured the Supreme Court Back to Interpreting the Constitution, Not Rewriting It – Trump selected his three Supreme Court Justice nominees based on their track-records of supporting equal justice under the law and interpreting the meaning of the U.S. Constitution as written – Judge Neil Gorsuch, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Judge Amy Coney Barrett. This as opposed to many of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama nominees who have been "legislating" from the bench by twisting their interpretations of the Constitution in order to achieve their desired political ends. (Note that “legislating" is a role reserved for Congress in the U.S. Constitution.)
3. Trump Crushed the ISIS Caliphate – Obama's premature and reckless decision (with many warning against it) to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 sparked a massive power vacuum that set the Middle East ablaze like few had ever seen. It spawned the dramatic rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror movement and ultimately the violence spread across Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Nigeria and many other nations. According to Obama though, ISIS was merely the J.V., and he therefore ignored and allowed ISIS to run loose in the Middle East for years – directly and indirectly causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. And yes, that included Americans as well.
Remember the Syrian Civil War, Libyan Civil War, Benghazi attacks, mass killings in Sinjar, massacres of Yazidis and Kurds, endless YouTube videos of innocents in orange outfits being beheaded, and gay people being thrown off buildings? At its peak, the ISIS Caliphate governed over 11 million people in Syria and Iraq in a territory that was larger in size than the United Kingdom. All because Obama wouldn't admit his 2011 mistake and change course. When President Trump took over in 2017 he refused to continue with Obama’s policy of toying with "ISIL". Instead, Trump ordered his generals to annihilate ISIS. In short order, the Islamic State was in ruins and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead.
4. Trump Moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – Trump finally fulfilled the promise of multiple U.S. presidents to America’s closest ally, sending a powerful signal across the Middle East that the U.S. was no longer buying into the John Kerry/State Department line that there could be no peace deal in the Middle East without a deal with the Palestinians first. Trump turned this weak-kneed Obama policy on its head, and was quickly proven to be 100% correct. Likewise, the long-predicted cataclysmic Arab response to a U.S. embassy relocation to Jerusalem never materialized.
5. Trump Ripped Up the Iran Nuclear Accords – Trump saw exactly what Israel, along with the Arab Gulf States, had long recognized: Iran was and remained the primary culprit of terrorism and chaos across the Middle East. Likewise, the prospect of Iran with nuclear weapons would be an existential threat to many nations in the region. Obama and John Kerry actually thought they could buy off the terrorists in Tehran, but Trump recognized the naivety of this policy and ripped it up. Trump immediately ratcheted up the sanctions on Tehran and also eliminated their notorious terrorist mastermind, Qasem Soleimani. These moves rapidly brought Iran to its knees and spawned a chain of positive developments no one saw coming.
6. Trump Established Multiple New Peace Treaties Across the Middle East – Trump's new approach to the Middle East with respect to Israel, the Gulf States, and Iran directly spawned a series of peace treaties across the Middle East between Israel and its former adversaries. The Abraham Accords led to agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia and/or Pakistan are rumored to be next. Furthermore, Qatar and Saudi Arabia just signed a deal ending their protracted feud that has divided the Middle East for years. These treaties never would have materialized without Trump's change of direction, and the broader result is a Middle East today that is at one of its more peaceful moments in recent history.
Obama’s policies set the Middle East on fire — Trump’s policies put those fires out. Peace in this volatile, energy-rich region remains a top global priority, and Trump made it happen.
7. Trump Put the Screws to China – After decades of acquiescence, accommodation and appeasement by Clinton, Bush, and Obama with respect to China, Trump altered course and began putting the screws to China. Because of Trump, everyone now recognizes the significant threat China poses to the world through its debt trapping policies, destructive undercutting of America’s middle class, theft of intellectual property, trafficking in fentanyl, slave labor, operation of concentration camps with over one million Muslim Uighers incarcerated, and China's broader expansionist desires around the globe. Only when a problem is properly identified can it be dealt with, and Trump clarified the problem for the world to see. China's export of the deadly Coronavirus has only magnified the seriousness of the problem. (Proving Trump's messaging success, the WSJ front page headline article on 12/29/2020 was "Pushback on Xi's China Vision Spreads Beyond U.S. – Countries That Once Avoided Upsetting Beijing Are Moving Closer to Washington's Harder Stance".)
8. Trump Put European Members of NATO on the Financial Hot Seat – The rich European nations like Germany and France haven't been paying anywhere near their agreed upon 2% of GDP for the NATO defense of Europe. These wealthy Europeans love to lavish generous socialist programs upon their people, all the while knowing the American taxpayers are subsidizing their defense. For the first time ever, a U.S. president called them out for this theft – and the Europeans have finally been prodded into paying far more. In 2016, non-U.S. NATO members paid $262 billion on NATO defense, in 2020 they are paying $313 billion, an increase of $51 billion. Trump signalled that the U.S. would no longer be played for chumps, and the results speak for themselves.
9. Trump Started No New Wars – Despite endless rhetoric from critics that Trump would start wars, including a nuclear one, he is actually the first president since Dwight Eisenhower not to engage us in a new foreign war, especially in the Middle East. In fact, his incessant efforts to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan have been fought tooth and nail by Democrats and our military-industrial-complex loving generals. Likewise, Trump recognized that talking is far better than bombing. Though criticized by the media for doing so, Trump pursued talking with North Korea's Kim Jong-Un and other tyrants, thus averting unnecessary wars. What's different is that Trump wasn't giving anything away with talks (whereas Obama and Kerry beggingly gave away the store to get Iran to sign a deal), but he understood the power of personal relationships in business dealings.
Concurrently, Trump was rapidly rebuilding our depleted military and returning to Reagan's (and Roman Emperor Hadrian's) principle of "Peace Through Strength." The result was no wars and broadening of peace agreements under Trump's leadership. Weren't the Democrats supposed to be the anti-war, peace party? What happened?
10. Trump's Operation Warp Speed Produced Coronavirus Vaccines Within Nine Months – The media would like you to believe that Trump is the cause of the global Coronavirus Pandemic, not China. Rubbish. The irony is that Trump's Operation Warp Speed unbelievably produced multiple effective vaccines within a mere nine months. This is absolutely unheard of and has never even remotely been accomplished previously. Vaccines are never a sure thing, and when they are obtainable, they typically take 5 - 10 years to produce. (The measles vaccine took 10 years.) This is Trump's greatest policy success – and over the next five years, it will have saved hundreds of millions of people from becoming sick and millions more from dying. These vaccines never would have happened so quickly without Trump. Bold leadership is everything in dire situations.
Trump's greatest achievement, though, will be his crashing of the "D.C. bureaucratic mindset of what is possible." Instead of buying into the State Department's business-as-usual approach in the Middle East, Trump's dramatic course change produced stellar results. Same with his 2017 policy reversal to turn around our sputtering economy. And likewise his rejection of the normal five to 10 years to produce a vaccine, his creation of Operation Warp Speed, his appointment of controversial Moncef Slaoui to lead it, and his arming Slaoui with $10 billion dollars to spend outside of normal procedures in order to make it happen ASAP. Again, a new approach that led to spectacular results.
President Obama certainly had style galore, looked dignified, and had a beautiful family. But aside from giving the go-ahead for Operation Neptune Spear to eliminate Osama bin-Laden (a no-brainer decision if there ever was one), in his eight years as president what positive accomplishments were there? Seriously? And in President George W. Bush's eight years?
President Trump, on the other hand, has at least 10 significant accomplishments that have benefited both Americans and the global community. By all means hate and disparage Trump personally if that helps you sleep at night, but only a fool would continue to deny his accomplishments. Why? Because these 10 accomplishments are actually "ours" as a nation.
Trump is just one leader in our nation's long journey. So let’s embrace his positive accomplishments and move forward.
President-Elect Biden would be wise not to make a u-turn back to Obama's disastrous policies. Hundreds of thousands of innocent dead people across the Middle East would surely concur with this advice...if only they could. Instead, Biden should chart his own course forward while building upon Trump‘s successes. This is what a true leader would do.
The most important issue facing our nation today is stopping big tech’s overreach and censorship over our sacred First Amendment right to "freedom of speech.” This is the cornerstone constitutional right that enables and protects all our other rights, and big tech is taking a hammer to it.
One question remains: will Trump rise from the ashes like the legendary Phoenix?
America does love a good comeback story.
George Mullen is the author of "The Coming Financial Tsunami" (2005) and "Welcome to the Bubble Economy" (2006), which accurately predicted the 2007-08 global economic crash. He is spearheading Sunbreak Ranch in the effort to end America's homeless crisis. He is a principal of StudioRevolution.com in San Diego, California.