Issues & Insights

Trump’s Top-10 Triumphs: A Last Look At A Remarkable Presidency

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I&I Editorial

President Donald Trump became an ex-president on Wednesday, as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. We wish him nothing but the best. But before we let Trump go, we thought we’d review some of his biggest accomplishments while in office. We call them “triumphs,” because they were all big achievements executed against great odds.

More than any other president of recent memory, Trump fought hard for average working Americans. And contrary to the epithets thrown at him by his far-left detractors in the Democratic Party, his policies helped low-income and minority Americans most of all.

We believe – we hope – that Trump’s post-presidential career and reputation will resemble President Ronald Reagan’s. For those old enough to remember, Reagan also was called every vile name in the book, from “senile” to “fascist” and everything between. Yet, today, in retrospect, his presidency shines as a beacon in our nation’s history.

Given the at-times unhinged nature of the criticism directed at Trump’s presidency by the left and Republican “never-Trumpers,” Trump’s performance in just four years was nothing short of remarkable. He promulgated dozens, if not hundreds, of successful policies that other presidents talked about, but never secured.

He reached so many we can’t highlight all of them. But here are 10 that we believe stand out — and that future presidents (are you listening, Joe Biden?) would be foolish to reverse or overturn:

  1. 1. Slashed taxes on individuals and businesses. As an earlier administration said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” As much as anything, Trump’s growth-boosting $1.9 trillion in tax cuts and doubling of the child tax credit led to the bottom-up growth of our economy, as unemployment rates plunged for African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and women, and poverty rates plummeted to an all-time low in 2019, before COVID-19 struck. The bottom 20% of incomes posted a 16%-plus rise, the largest ever for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.
  2. Yes, Wall Street and Silicon Valley moguls made out well as stocks boomed. But so did average Americans, especially the middle class. More than half of all Americans now own stock, a fact that’s lost on those who curse the stock market and “tax cuts for the rich.” By the way, the top income earners were the only group to pay more to Uncle Sam under the Trump tax cuts. And income inequality under Trump fell, after rising during Obama’s eight years in office.
  3. 2. Forged peace in the Mideast. The big media have tried to pretend that Trump’s unorthodox but astoundingly successful peace deals don’t exist. But it’s no accident that Trump has already been nominated — twice — for the Nobel Peace Prize. He deserves it. This year, thanks almost entirely to Trump’s efforts under the “Abraham Accords,” Israel has normalized diplomatic ties with four Arab League members: Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco. Jordan and Egypt already have ties. Terrorist sponsor Iran, meanwhile, has never been more isolated and on the defensive than it is now, thanks to Trump’s pulling out of President Barack Obama’s phony “nuclear deal” with Tehran’s mullahs. And while the terrorist group ISIS still exists, it has effectively been neutered, a shell of its former self, pushed out of nearly all its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
  4. 3. Created Operation Warp Speed. The Chinese virus hit the U.S. hard. It’s now clear that China’s communist regime downplayed the deadly virus outbreak early, leading to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus that official data show has killed 400,000 Americans. Trump was ridiculed and berated for daring to think he could push the creation of a new, effective vaccine within the remaining months of his term. Yet, as Bloomberg noted on Wednesday, “Vaccinations in the U.S. began Dec. 14 with health care workers, and so far 16.3 million shots have been given, according to a state-by-state tally … In the last week, an average of 806,716 doses per day were administered.” The vaccine critics were dead wrong, and Trump’s push may well end up saving hundreds of thousands of lives in coming years.
  5. 4. Deregulated the nation’s economy. It’s not sexy. But Trump promised to cut two regulations for every new one proposed. He beat even that estimate, cutting eight regulations for every one added. If you think that doesn’t matter, consider this: Regulations currently cost the economy nearly $2 trillion a year, or about $14,000 a year for every U.S. household. Trump’s rule-cutting saved the average American household an average of $3,100 a year.
  6. 5. Got rid of Obamacare’s “individual mandate”. By far the most odious element of Obama’s first step toward socialized medicine was its requirement that all Americans must buy health insurance. For the first time ever, the U.S. government forced its citizens to purchase something, whether they wanted it or not. This part of the 2010 bill was clearly unconstitutional, as a federal appeals court ruled late last year. Americans are, for now, safe from being forced to buy insurance policies they don’t want. At least, that is, until the new Democratic administration begins its push for Medicare for All, or some other nationalized health care scheme.
  7. 6. Restored Supreme Court balance. By naming three new justices, Trump assured Americans that the court’s days of rulings based on politics and ideology, not the Constitution, are over. At least for the foreseeable future. Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, are all strong constitutionalists who have sterling reputations for fairness and non-political legal decision making. “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers,” Barrett said during her nomination hearings in the Senate, a fitting description for all Trump’s choices. That includes the more than 230 judges he appointed to the federal bench.
  8. 7. Forced NATO to reform. Trump pushed NATO members to live up to their commitments to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense, part of a 2014 deal that came after years of NATO countries shirking their duty to pull their own weight in the military alliance. In Trump’s first year in office, just four of the 30 NATO members met the 2% floor. Today, 10 do, and more will increase spending by $400 billion by 2024. By demanding NATO to keep its promises, Trump likely saved the West’s main military alliance.
  9. 8. Encouraged U.S. energy independence. By encouraging fracking and approving the Keystone XL pipeline, Trump set off an energy boom. And he did something that no one thought possible just four years ago: He made the U.S. energy independent for the first time in 70 years, meaning we would no longer be held hostage to unstable petro-powers and the vagaries of foreign energy supplies. Fracking enabled the U.S. to boost its output of natural gas, with many major utilities now using the cheap, clean source of energy instead of coal and other major sources of carbon dioxide emissions. The result: the U.S. is one of the only major countries whose CO2 emissions are plunging, with output now at the lowest levels since 1985.
  10. 9. Reformed immigration and built the border wall. Despite being called a “racist” and “fascist” and “anti-immigrant,” Trump has now built more than 450 miles of wall to restore control of our nation’s borders against illegal entrants into the U.S., including gang members, smugglers and drug dealers. As journalist Deroy Murdock recently noted, “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%.” A blow to Mexico? Not according to a recent Reuters headline: Mexico’s Lopez Obrador says Trump helped Mexico.
  11. 10. Withdrew from the Paris Climate Deal. The U.S. is the only major country actually living up to the Paris Climate Accords’ steep cuts in CO2 emissions. But the deal is still a bad one, since it commits the U.S. and other major industrial nations to shrink their economies over the long run to meet arbitrary CO2 limits in the future. Meanwhile, fast-growing countries such as China and India have few binding requirements on their emissions. The result: Those two countries, with more than a third of the world’s population, continue to spew CO2. This year China’s coal use surged above 2015 levels, “undercutting climate pledges,” according to a news report out this week. Biden’s plan to rejoin the Paris deal will only bolster China and hamstring the U.S. going forward. It’s a climate-based “America last” policy.

We could add much more to this list. But these were exceptional advances, and showed how productive and imaginative Trump has been in reshaping American life as president. As columnist, thinker, educator and rabbi Dennis Prager recently wrote, Trump “has not only surpassed many of our expectations but also thus far governed in a manner more consistent with conservative principles than any president since Ronald Reagan, and arguably Calvin Coolidge.

For the new president, a friendly word of advice: Your success or failure in the first year of your term will largely depend on how many of Trump’s successes you let stand, and how many you try to undo.

Looking over this long list of accomplishments over the past four years, it’s hard to argue with that. Whether Trump re-emerges as a political force in the GOP, there is no question: In his brief time in office, he was one of the most effective presidents in history. As he leaves we can only say Godspeed and good luck, Mr. President.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

16 comments

  • I stopped reading at We wish him (Biden) the very best…it was an unnecessary.
    The article was about President Trump and his remarkable Presidency!
    Save the adulation for Biden until he does something worth mentioning. Not that he will say anything he is not told to say by Obama and his cohorts.

    • Just what the country needs,Another adoring piece ,of propaganda ,blowing smoke up Trump’s fat keaster.

      • Just what every comment section needs, an idiot calling basic facts “propaganda”.

        Tell me, which part of the 10 was not factual? Put up or shut up.

      • Well, it’s tough to know about all of this stuff when the media hides & suppresses all of Trump’s successes…while simultaneously saying he’s the “worst president ever”. Frankly, we have “the worst media ever”. No one needs me to say this about our media. Any fool with eyes and ears can see that for themselves after years of spiteful coverage of the man who made them all look foolish. He also showed a lot of people in this country just how much our media cannot be trusted. That should be his #1 accomplishment in my opinion. Exposing fake news media complex and their crony henchmen of big tech. It’s truly disgusting where this country is headed.

  • President Trump accomplished more in his term than Obama/Biden did in 8 years. In my humble opinion his greatest accomplishment was revealing the level and amount of corruption in all the swamp, all the alphabet agencies and that the mainstream, lamestream media are really all just a propaganda machine for the radical, leftist Democrat Party. Let’s see if this gets past the censors…..

  • “… as unemployment rates plunged for African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics and women…”

    What about White men?

    By the way, I couldn’t care less about NATO or the middle east.

  • You missed 2 big ones: the really big won, won (capital letters) trade wars versus Mexico, Canada, EU, and left WH with US winning against China; and expanded charter schools.

  • #1 should have been 1. Didn’t start any new wars.

    That alone makes him the best President of the last 30 years.

  • From the very beginning, but yet without his ability to perceive it, Trump surrounded himself with people whose sole motivations were to undermine and destroy him and our nation. Although it seems quite unbelievable that a man of his age and experience would possess so little wisdom in regards to those whom he gave positions of great influence, nonetheless, it is true that Trump handed the keys of the nation to those who regarded him with and still regard him with the greatest disdain known to anyone who has held the office of the president. Even though Trump was popular at the time, in early 2020 he eagerly abdicated his role and authority as president and was the first ever to suspend the Constitution and Bill of Rights because of his naiveté in regards to the greatest medical hoax ever perpetrated upon the earth known as the “seasonal flu”. Hundreds of millions of Americans entered and remain in a nightmarish reality of Trump’s creation that has destroyed trillions of dollars of wealth and the sanctity of American lives and lifestyles. Undeniably, his personal demise and the permanent demise of our nation are solely and unequivocally Trump’s fault and responsibility.

    • I think part of the issue was that every previous administration in the history of America came in with political appointees who were known to those administrations.

      Trump on the other hand, not being a political insider and not having those political appointees known to him for decades had to deal with the hand he was dealt. Hence why so many were there with the apparent sole mission of undermining his Presidency from the get go. This is the swamp!

      Not Trumps fault and would most certainly have taken more than one term to eradicate more fully than we saw.

    • Scott, let me solve the mystery for you. Trump was controlled opposition from day one. His final act was walking his most loyal supporters into an Antifa false flag attack to forever be designated as domestic terrorists, and both the MSM and the FBI responded by ostracizing patriots immediately. So he left us with a compromised SCOTUS, censored off the internet, and we can’t even protest, at least not safely. Oh and how about the scamdemic? $5 trillion and counting, plus the loss of our freedom. Also, the handoff of our nation to Xiden was planned to, or Trump would not have enabled the fraudulent vote to happen, let alone stand. He does not deserve the legacy of the people’s president. He was the ultimate traitor. Please help me to make it known.

  • Dear Issues & Insights:

    Thank you for citing me in this piece.

    I would offer two corrections:

    First, President Donald J. Trump earned four Nobel Peace Prize nominations, not just two.

    Second, President Trump not only “pushed [ISIS] out of nearly all its strongholds in Syria and Iraq,” he unleashed US and allied forces and utterly erased the ISIS caliphate, which was once twice the size of New Jersey.

    Your editorial fairly captures much (though not all) of the good that this amazing chief executive accomplished. But, in fact, he performed even better than your generous assessment reflects.

    Whatever people may think of this man’s policies, America was incredibly fortunate to benefit from President Trump’s policies.

    Best wishes,

    Deroy Murdock
    New York City

    • Dear Deroy:

      Thanks so much for your note, reminding us that it is now four, not just two, nominations for Trump to get the Nobel Peace Prize. If the Nobel Academy were to award Trump, it would be richly deserved. Unlike many recent recipients of the award, including this nation’s 44th president, Trump actually did something to create real, lasting peace. Presidents going back to Truman and Eisenhower broke their teeth trying to make peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. After being derided and ridiculed for even attempting such an audacious thing, Trump did it in four years.

      While others talked peace, he delivered, not that you’d know it from the media’s horribly biased coverage. If he doesn’t win the Nobel, the award will no longer have any moral currency whatsoever.

      And yes, he did crush the Caliphate, which our editorial implied but didn’t explicitly state. If Americans would remember back just 5 years ago, they would recall the Mideast’s hellish chaos. Now, Arab nations and Israel are signing not just peace deals but trade deals as well, auguring better things ahead for all. Israel’s model looks more and more attractive to others in the region.

      None of this was an accident. It started with Trump’s bold decision to live up to the U.S.’ decades-old promise to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. President after president refused to do so because it might upset the delicate “peace process,” which went on for decades but produced no actual peace. With Trump’s push for the Abraham Accords and repeated displays of U.S. support and friendship with Israel, not to mention Israel’s own growing economic prosperity, many moderate Arab nations made the rational choice to end decades of hostility and instead forge peace and economic ties. It’s an epic accomplishment. The greatest concern now is that the Biden administration will undo all this very real, tangible progress.

      As our piece showed, Trump in just four years did more than virtually any president of recent memory to make America stronger and better. And he did so for all Americans, not just a select few. Only the big media’s unhinged anti-Trumpism keeps more Americans from realizing this. We focused on just ten things on his presidential resume because to do more would have required an exhaustive, and lengthy, list of accomplishments. By having just ten of his many accomplishments, we hoped those who read it will remember them and in coming years reflect on what a great president Trump was, whatever personal shortcomings one might think he has.

      Thanks again, Deroy, for your helpful corrective comments and your kind words about our piece. We look forward to hearing from you again soon. We also look forward to reading more of your own bold, provocative and groundbreaking journalism.

      Warmest regards,

      Issues & Insights Editorial Board

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