President Trump may not be serving a second term in 2021, but let us not forget that during this election, he won sven million more votes than any sitting president in U.S. history. There’s a reason for that: In 2020 the president led us boldly through the toughest crisis of this century. And in our eagerness to put 2020 behind us, we can’t forget the many achievements he accomplished during his service.
Make no mistake about it: Religious freedom was under attack over the last year. President Trump and the GOP maintained an extraordinary defense of religious liberty during COVID-19 restrictions. Christian singer Lauren Daigle was recently ousted from Dick Clark Productions’ annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve celebration because she led a song at an outdoor worship event last month. In California in November, strip clubs were allowed to reopen, but churches were not. From the start of the pandemic, the president fought to keep houses of worship open. In the midst of soaring depression, substance abuse rates and suicide rates, he rightfully declared them “essential” to the health and well-being of the nation.
Defending human life
The president also kept his promise to defend human life in all its stages, adhering to his belief that “it is the most basic duty of government to guard the innocent.” Over the last year, he became the first president to attend the annual March for Life in person. He fought for the protection of women and children as a global health priority, opposing efforts by the United Nations to make abortion an international human right. He reversed the Obama administration’s efforts to force recipients of federal funding to pay for abortions, and he ended HHS funding for new medical research using human fetal tissue obtained from elective abortions.
Criminal justice reform
President Trump’s defense of the vulnerable didn’t just extend to the preborn. He also enacted landmark criminal justice reform and economic and educational support for black Americans. His First Step Act reduced the sentences of thousands of drug offenders, and he awarded $2.2 million to states to incentivize the hiring of former prisoners. Last December, the president signed legislation that gave $255 million of permanent annual funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and he has increased access to capital for black communities.
Prior to the pandemic, President Trump delivered the lowest unemployment rate (3.5 percent) in half a century. By early 2020, wages had grown, and poverty had fallen; in 2019, more than 4 million fewer people were living in poverty in the U.S. than in 2018. And when COVID-19 hit, he implemented policies that led to the fastest economic recovery in American history. For example, he managed to bring the unemployment rate from its high of 14.7 percent in April to 6.7 percent today, and it continues to fall.
President Trump’s support of law enforcement has been critical to the fight against human trafficking – one of the world's fastest-growing criminal activities. Trafficking-specific police training and federal agent training are two of the best ways to identify victims and trafficking scenarios. This year, President Trump also created the first-ever White House position focused solely on combating human trafficking. Under his leadership, the Department of Justice (DOJ) received the largest grant package ever to combat human trafficking, including the first grants for safe housing for survivors. In October, he released his National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
This year, President Trump brokered historic peace agreements between Israel and Sudan, Israel and Bahrain, and Israel and the UAE – the first Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel in over 25 years. The peace agreement with Sudan is a further step toward democracy after a decade under a brutal dictatorship. As a result, President Trump was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
President Trump led the fastest-ever response to a global health crisis. Thanks to Operation Warp Speed, America’s most at-risk populations – health care workers, frontline workers and individuals in nursing homes – are already getting vaccinated. During the pandemic, the administration deployed medical supplies to healthcare workers on the frontlines and took steps to ensure the safety of millions of lives while preserving individual liberties and essential services.
In the new year, we must stay committed to the values exhibited by President Trump during his tenure – religious freedom, value for all human life, free markets and free minds. Thanks to his remarkable leadership during one of our country’s most difficult years, we are welcoming 2021 with a strong foundation for a healthy, prosperous and free future.
Timothy Head is the executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.