OPINION: Trump’s 12 Days Of Christmas

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Todd Gabel Professor
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Since his election in 2016, the media and political establishment have excoriated President Trump for just about everything he has said, thought or touched. Yet in commemoration of the season, here are some gifts Trump has brought to the American people that his haters can’t take away:

  1. A firm stance on immigration: In one of his first measures as president, Trump signed an executive order to restrict travel and immigration from terror-prone nations. The order, which was signed in January 2017, finally passed constitutional objections in June this year.
  2. Good judges: President Trump appointed a constitutionalist Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, as a follow-through on his campaign promise to “reign in” what was perceived as an activist court. In October of this year, Trump successfully added another like-minded judge in Justice Kavanaugh, despite incendiary partisan objections.
  3. Transparent thoughts on climate change: In July 2017 the Trump administration notified the UN of America’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. The US will formally leave the pact in 2020;
  4. Taking action against taxpayer-funded abortion: It is unclear what President Trump genuinely thinks about abortion, given his evolving public statements and stances on the issue. Yet his actions suggest he may be one of the most pro-life presidents in history. For example, in April 2017 he passed a measure to reduce the possibility of taxpayer-funded abortions through Planned Parenthood.
  5. Criticizing net neutrality: Candidate Trump was critical of allowing the government a means of regulating the internet. In December 2017, newly installed leadership at the Federal Communications Commission eliminated the Open Internet Order passed under the Obama administration, which would have added new burdens onto internet service providers.
  6. Tax cuts: Later that month Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the corporate tax rate to 21 percent. Though not an explicit campaign promise, it was nevertheless expected that a businessman such as Trump would foster an improved investment climate. Trump has also required government agencies to cut two regulations for every new regulation put in place;
  7. The end of Obamacare: While his overhaul of the healthcare industry did not pass Congress in 2017, the Affordable Care Act―also known as Obamacare―is nevertheless experiencing a death by a thousand cuts. First, the individual penalty for not buying health insurance was scrapped as part of the new tax reforms. Second, a key price control under Obamacare termed “risk adjustment payments,” which distort how insurers priced potential enrollees, was recently abandoned.
  8. Tariffs: Trump connected with blue-collar workers who felt they were left behind amid globalization. While free trade is wealth creating, there are distributional effects resulting from the free flow of goods, with many manufacturing workers getting displaced by foreign competition. In March this year, Trump imposed tariffs on imported steel, aluminum and other products to help domestic producers, but also to bring China to the table over theft of intellectual property that runs in the hundreds of billions of dollars every year.
  9. Strong foreign policy: In a sharp departure from the Washington establishment, candidate Trump said he would be open to talking with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. In June President Trump did exactly that, with a high-level meeting with the rogue leader on reducing nuclear threats. Trump looks to another visit in early 2019;
  10. “America First” mentality: Trump campaigned on improving military readiness through increased funding as well as reduced foreign entanglements that don’t directly serve the nation’s interests. In July the administration pressured NATO allies to pay their fair share of defense spending, upping their commitments to 2 percent of GDP. In another bold move, Trump notified the world this week the United States will be pulling out of Syria;
  11. Necessary trade negotiations: As a successful business mogul, candidate Trump argued he would improve “unfair” deals between trading partners, especially with Mexico. While the result of the new deal is likely mixed, Trump successfully renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA) in November and has looked into renegotiating trade pacts with other nations.
  12. Promises to build the wall. On the one hand, Trump has only had mild success with his signature campaign promise, with just seven miles of rebuilt fencing along the southern border and perhaps a few dozen more in the works. On the other hand, Trump’s rhetoric alone has been credited with deterring tens of thousands of illegal border crossings. This past week, Trump has drawn a line in the sand over additional wall funding, threatening to defy his own party by shutting down the government. If that fails, Trump has suggested he may resort to using military funds to get the wall completed.

Amid countless Russia investigations and distractions, Trump was mocked at the U.N. for claiming he has accomplished more than any other U.S. president. Yet an objective look at the record suggests he has done precisely that. This holiday season, remember that some politicians do deliver on their promises.

Todd Gabel is a clinical associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Todd is an expert in the field of U.S. and Canadian social policy and a policy advisor at the Heartland Institute as well as a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller