President Donald Trump isn’t America’s favorite guy, but maybe he should be. Despite all the criticism Trump received for controversial tweets, White House feuds, aggravating policies, and general lack of ‘political correctness’, he will enter his second year with a long list of achievements.
1. Appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court
Trump appointed Neal Gorsuch, a Colorado federal appeals court judge, to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, Gorsuch, 49, was the youngest Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas, 43, was nominated by George H. W. Bush in 1991. Gorsuch took his oath in April (2017), marking the first major political win of the Trump presidency.
In addition to Gorsuch’s appointment, President Trump officially set a record on December 14th for the most federal appeals judges appointed during the first year of a presidency. The U.S. Senate pushed through the twelfth federal appeals court nominee that day, breaking all previous records held. At this rate, his legacy as President could well center around changing the composition of the judiciary system.
2. Tax Cuts, Jobs Act, and Repealed Individual Mandate
In the first overhaul to the U.S. tax code in 31 years, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act before Christmas. Within hours, numerous businesses (AT&T, Fifth Third Bancorp, Boeing, FedEx, Comcast, & Wells Fargo among them) announced wage increases and billions of dollars in various industry investments.
In addition to overhauling the tax code, it also repealed the individual mandate in ObamaCare. The individual mandate has been in the Republicans’ crosshairs for 7 years. The U.S. Senate has attempted to repeal it twice, and failed. In Trump’s case, The Democratic Party didn’t see it’s repeal coming until it was too late. They (the Democratic Party) are now using the repeal as a way to blame the (already-rising) premiums on Republicans.
3. Immigration Enforcement
The president has put great emphasis on immigration enforcement, and the effect is beginning to tell a major success story. ICE has arrested more than 100,000 people who entered the U.S. illegally, 70% of whom were already convicted criminals. It’s worth re-iterating: over 70% of the illegal aliens arrested by ICE during the Trump Administration either had a criminal conviction, or a pending criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or were an illegal re-entrant. In other words, they aren’t ripping babies out of their mother’s crying arms en masse as biased media likes to portray.
ICE removed nearly 2,800 criminal gang members in the last fiscal year. Additionally, an international effort took place to arrest and charge 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members: two of the most violent gangs on the planet.
4. ISIS: Crushing the Capital of Terrorism in Syria
In October, the U.S. Pentagon confirmed that Raqqa, the ‘capital of terrorism’ in Syria, had fallen. The fall of the Islamic State (ISIS) was said to be accelerated by President Trump’s “critical deicisions” – according to Secretary Rex Tillerson.
“In January, ISIS was actively plotting terrorist attacks against our allies and our homeland in Raqqa,” Secretary Tillerson noted. “Nine short months later, it is out of ISIS’s control due to critical decisions President Trump made to accelerate the campaign.”
Raqqa’s fall is an effective blow to ISIS, as the physical territory seemed to serve as validation to their recruiting efforts. It helped feed an illusion that Allah was on their side. With the territory out of ISIS control, it appears to the believer that Allah has abandoned their cause.
5. American Economy: “America is Back”
It’s hard to find fault with the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment rate is 4.3%, a 16-year low. The economy has added more than 1 million jobs since Trump took office. Housing Prices are red hot, approximately 6.5% higher than a year ago. Consumers and businesses alike are borrowing more, reversing a trend from earlier this year. Consumer spending is up 2.8% over the past 12 months.
Trump wants more consumers — in the United States and around the globe — to buy American, And it looks like that’s starting to happen. The trade deficit fell slightly in June from three months ago, to $43.6 billion. That’s the lowest since just before the election. America’s suddenly vibrant oil industry is a big reason the balance is shifting. Thanks to technologies like fracking, the United States exported more crude in June and imported less. Exports to Canada and Mexico rose in June, too, a possible sign that Trump’s tough talk is working with America’s two big North American trading partners.
Perhaps most notably: the Dow keeps hitting records and is up 12% this year.
6. Deregulation, and Reduction of Government Waste
The administration has said Trump ultimately cut 22 regulations for each new one enacted this year, saving taxpayers billions of dollars over the coming years.
In the beginning of the year, President Trump issued an executive order directing every federal agency to determine “where money is being wasted [and] how services can be improved.” Several Cabinet-level departments have since found ways to shrink their payroll and consolidate internal programs. Most notably, Rex Tillerson has eliminated several coordinators for sanctions policy, offered early retirement incentives to hundreds of career employees, and promised to “redesign” the agency at the State Department.
Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget Director, has also reduced duplicative programs and wasteful spending. His agency killed 59 guidance and policy documents in June that officials had deemed ‘obsolete’ or inefficient.
7. Recognition of Jerusalem
Despite pressure to preserve a status quo that his predecessors had left untouched for decades in Israel, Trump made waves on the international stage this month when he formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the U.S. embassy there from its present location in Tel Aviv.
8. Travel Ban
Trump’s Travel Ban scored a major victory this year when the Supreme Court ruled to allow the entire policy to take effect. Despite initial criticism from across the political spectrum, the high court permitted an updated ban to be implemented pending appeal.
“The Constitution and acts of Congress confer on the President broad authority to prevent aliens abroad from entering this country when he deems it in the nation’s interest,” U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco had argued in court papers ahead of the decision.
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