While the news media and the President’s biggest critics have understandably focused on Trump’s latest controversial tweets and statements along with sketchy claims made about him by anonymous sources, he has done a shockingly good job of actual governance. In fact, if any 2016 candidate other than Trump had gotten this much done in his first year, Republicans would be calling him another Reagan. With that said, it’s time to give a little credit where credit is due…
Honorable Mentions: Winning A Government Shutdown, Repealing Obama's Net Neutrality Rules, Cutting Regulations, Repealing The Individual Mandate, Getting Cooperation From China On North Korea, Pulling Out Of The Paris Climate Agreement, Reduction In Illegal Immigration, Reinstating The Mexico City Policy On Abortion
7) Moving The American Embassy To Jerusalem: The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is a Gordian Knot that will probably never be solved short of one side or the other being driven away at the point of a gun, but if it is ever going to be fixed, a dose of reality is needed. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump ALL promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, but only Trump delivered. He then followed that up with yanking aid from the Palestinians until they come to peace talks. Will it bring both sides together? Probably not, but acknowledging that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and punishing the Palestinians for bad behavior has a much better chance of getting results than catering to Palestinian fantasies and pretending both sides are equally at fault for their conflict.
6) Improving The Economy: On the one hand, no President deserves full credit or blame for what the economy does under his watch. There are just too many factors involved that he can’t control. On the other hand, despite predictions of doom when Trump was elected, economic growth has been up, unemployment has reached a 16 year low and the 31% growth of the stock market in Trump’s first year was the best it has been under a President since FDR. Undoubtedly, some of this success has to do with business getting a hostile socialist OUT OF OFFICE, but Trump’s pro-business attitude and tax plan undoubtedly helped a lot, too.
5) Hurting NFL Attendance: There were varied opinions on the Right about how smart it was for Trump to call out the NFL for unpatriotic disrespect some of its players were showing to the flag. However, a brutal reality soon set in for the NFL. Its attendance dropped 10% for the year on top of an 8% drop that already happened in 2016. Perhaps worse yet, opinion on the Right turned so viciously against the NFL that it tied with MSNBC for the most polarizing corporate brand. In recent years, corporations have seemed to inexorably move toward the Left, mainly because liberals complain about everything and conservatives have had a “Live And Let Live” attitude. Showing corporations that there can be a big price to pay for insulting conservatives was the most important use of the presidential soapbox by a Republican President since the Reagan years.
4) Pulling Out Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership: The Trans-Pacific Partnership was sold to Republicans as a free trade agreement. Unfortunately, that free trade agreement also had a DANGEROUS erosion of American sovereignty built into it. It allowed a Trans-Pacific Partnership Commission filled with unelected bureaucrats to make rulings that had the potential to impact American policy in regards to “free speech, gun rights, environmental regulation, border enforcement, the Iran nuclear deal, immigration and refugee policy, and the Israeli–Palestinian standoff.” No free trade agreement is worth undermining American sovereignty and thanks to Trump, it’s not something we have to worry about any longer.
3) Trump’s Tax Plan Delivered: With Trump’s help, the GOP managed to push through the most significant tax reform since the Reagan years. Although the polling numbers were initially bad, they are now starting to improve as corporation after corporation announces new hires and pay increases for their workers because of the bill. Additionally, changes in the tax bill allowed big corporations to bring money from overseas back into the U.S. For example, Apple will be paying 38 billion dollars in taxes on money it had overseas. Although some workers with higher pay are getting 4-6% tax cuts, others are paying a little more. On the other hand, many lower income workers are getting 20% tax reductions. It is possible that this bill will add to the deficit and additionally, it may not become as popular as some people hope, but Republicans have wanted a tax reform bill like this for a long time and Trump delivered.
2) Decimating ISIS: ISIS rose to prominence during Obama’s time in office and unfortunately, he seemed entirely incapable of dealing with the terrorist organization. Trump seems to be having no such problem. Under his leadership, ISIS has lost control of almost 100% of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria during the Obama years. The organization still exists and is dangerous, but it has been smashed, humiliated and largely defanged thanks to Donald Trump allowing our military and Kurdish allies to take the fight to ISIS. If Obama were as competent as Trump seems to be on foreign affairs, ISIS would have never gotten a foothold in Iraq to begin with.
1) Nominating Judges: Of course first and foremost, Trump deserves credit for nominating Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch is the sort of originalist with a reliable track record that conservatives have been clamoring for as a nominee. However, the winning on judges does not stop with Gorsuch. In his first year, Trump got 23 federal judges, 12 appellate judges (a record for the first year President) and 10 district court judges confirmed. Executive orders come and go, but judges can make decisions for decades at a time. Granted, Republicans will need to hold the Senate in 2018 (which is iffy) for Trump to have the time to make a really big impact in this area, but he’s certainly off to a great start.