The first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency can be summed up in three simple words — relentless promise keeping. This year will be no different.
Even after two years marked by an impressive series of policy victories, and despite the new obstructionist Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, President Trump’s record of “promises kept” continued to grow at a prodigious pace in 2019, far exceeding what his critics — and even some supporters — thought possible in today’s gridlocked political climate.
This year is getting off to an auspicious start, as well, with a successful military strike that took out the Iranian general responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
Here are the top five victories that Trump delivered in 2019, all of which represent the fulfillment of core campaign promises that he made as a candidate in 2016.
Better trade protections for American workers
Who would have thought that convincing Mexico and Canada to give up the trade advantages they enjoyed under NAFTA would prove to be easier than getting a genuinely fair trilateral trade agreement approved by the Democratic House of Representatives? Well, that’s exactly with the revolutionary U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which languished in Congress for a whole year despite enjoying broad bipartisan support. (RELATED: GUILFOYLE: Hong Kong Is Critical To US Effort To Secure A Trade Deal With China)
Instead of swiftly approving the job-creating USMCA — which is projected to add nearly $70 billion to the U.S. economy and support a whopping 176,000 new jobs in this country — the Democrats dithered over the deal out of sheer reluctance to let the president score a political victory, only belatedly bringing it up for a vote in the House after they realized that Americans were souring on their partisan impeachment farce. Even that cynical calculation might not have occurred to Democratic bosses if not for the pressure campaign waged by Vice President Mike Pence, who traversed the country for months making an impassioned case for the USMCA to voters who stand to benefit most from the deal.
More conservative judges
Although Trump began following through on his promise to appoint reliably conservative judges to the federal bench almost immediately after taking office, those efforts haven’t slackened a bit over the course of his presidency, and 2019 was another banner year for judicial confirmations. Capitalizing on the GOP’s Senate majority, the president continued to root out ideological bias in the courts by appointing conservative judges to the many vacancies left behind by President Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it his top priority to confirm those nominees as quickly as possible.
After just three years in office, Trump has done more to reshape the landscape of the judicial branch than any of his recent predecessors. In December, the Senate confirmed the50th appeals court judge of Trump’s presidency, then closed out the year by confirming an additional 13 district court judges. All told, the Senate confirmed 102 lifetime judges in 2019 alone, bringing the Trump administration total to an incredible 187 confirmed judicial appointments. By comparison, Obama appointed a total of just 55 judges throughout his entire 8 years in office.
Border security and immigration reform
In 2019, Trump also achieved one of his biggest political triumphs to date — a wide-ranging overhaul of our broken immigration system. Despite Democrats’ best efforts to prevent him from addressing the surge of illegal crossings that threatened to overwhelm our southern border, the president managed to allocate much-needed resources to border security — including funds for constructing the all-important border wall — while correcting some of the most glaring flaws in federal immigration law.
Even a lengthy government shutdown didn’t stop Trump from tackling the issue of border security head on — not only did he secure vital concessions on border security from the Democrats as part of a budget deal, but he also found a clever way to reallocate the necessary funding for a border wall using discretionary authority that Congress had already ceded to the executive branch. (RELATED: Soleimani’s Death Highlights The Need To Fortify Our Southern Border)
In order to further reduce the flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S., Donald Trump also used the power of diplomacy to negotiate bilateral immigration agreements with Mexico and other Latin American countries, successfully persuading them to help limit the flow of migrants. Just as importantly, the Trump administration closed numerous loopholes in our immigration laws that had previously been ripe for exploitation, such as tightening asylum rules to discourage abuse and pioneering a revolutionary DNA testing program to root out unscrupulous immigrants fraudulently posing as “family units.”
A stronger NATO
On the foreign policy front, one of Trump’s most significant accomplishments in 2019 was strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by convincing our closest allies to pay their fair share for mutual defense. Contrary to the claims made by the president’s detractors, his insistence that NATO countries honor their defense-spending commitments has made the alliance stronger by ensuring that all members are fully prepared to fulfill their obligations to the free world, rather than continuing to rely on America to pick up the slack as we did for so many years. (RELATED: GOPALAN: Macron Isn’t Alone In Thinking NATO Is Near ‘Brain Death’)
As a direct result of Trump’s emphasis on burden-sharing, NATO recently announced that Canada and the European allies have increased their defense spending by an additional $130 billion since 2016, with the goal of investing a total of $400 billion by 2024.
“This is unprecedented,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a recent meeting with Trump in London. “This is making NATO stronger. And it shows that this Alliance is adapting, responding when the world is changing.”
A defeated, depleted, and decapitated ISIS
On Oct. 27, Trump announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brutal ISIS leader who tortured and killed Americans while waging a barbaric war against civilization itself, was killed during a successful military raid in Syria.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” the president announced to a proud nation. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.” Even as the American people digested that unexpected good news, American forces eliminated the terrorist considered the frontrunner to take Baghdadi’s place as head of the once-powerful “caliphate.” (SPECKHARD: Syria’s Budding Democracy Is Being Destroyed, But It’s Not Too Late To Save It)
The operations that took out Baghdadi and his would-be successor, however, were just a particularly striking element of the much broader campaign Trump has waged against ISIS, which once occupied a large portion of the Middle East. Thanks to this president’s willingness to aggressively confront the caliphate, ISIS has become a shadow of its former self, losing its territorial holdings and becoming little more than a bit player in the region’s ongoing conflicts.
As impressive as these achievements are, Trump isn’t finished making America great just yet, and Americans can anticipate a lot more victories in 2020. The Trump administration’s surprisingly comprehensive “Phase One” trade deal with China, for instance, will offer immediate benefits for American workers, consumers, and businesses while setting the stage for even more progress toward establishing genuinely fair trade relations with the world’s second-largest economy. The upcoming implementation of the USMCA will only further bolster this country’s economic prospects in the coming year. Meanwhile, the development of the brand-new U.S. Space Force will undoubtedly prove to be a source of immense national pride, in addition to promoting technological innovation and enhancing national security.
If you’re impressed by everything that Donald Trump accomplished in 2019, then just wait until you see what’s in store for America in 2020. This president has fulfilled a lot of campaign pledges already, but the list of promises kept is going to get a lot longer between now and Election Day.
Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is senior adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.