Pres­i­dent Trump’s top 10 suc­cesses of 2018

The Beaufort Gazette - - Opinion - MARC A. THIESSEN

In his sec­ond year in of­fice, the list of ex­tra­or­di­nary things Pres­i­dent Trump has done, for good and ill, con­tin­ued to grow. To­day, I of­fer my an­nual list of the 10 best things Trump has done in of­fice. (I pre­vi­ously gave you my list of the 10 worst.)

10. He has se­cured the re­lease of 19 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 16 Amer­i­cans, from for­eign cap­tiv­ity. When Pas­tor An­drew Brun­son was freed by Turkey, he be­came the 19th cap­tive re­leased thanks to Trump. That’s more Amer­i­cans freed in two years than Pres­i­dent Barack Obama got re­leased in eight. And un­like Obama, Trump did it with­out re­leas­ing ter­ror­ist leaders or send­ing planeloads of cash to rogue regimes, cre­at­ing in­cen­tive for more hostage tak­ing.

9. He de­liv­ered for the “for­got­ten Amer­i­cans.” The Trump boom is ben­e­fit­ing those left be­hind by the Obama econ­omy. Man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs grew at the fastest rate in 23 years and the un­em­ploy­ment rate for Amer­i­cans with­out a high school di­ploma reached the low­est point ever recorded. The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ports that wages rose 3.1 per­cent — the big­gest jump since 2009 — and that “low-skilled work­ers are among the big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries.”

8. He worked with Democrats and Repub­li­cans to pass im­por­tant leg­is­la­tion. It didn’t get a lot of at­ten­tion, but Trump got a lot done on a bi­par­ti­san ba­sis, in­clud­ing crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form, opi­oid and sex traf­fick­ing leg­is­la­tion, and a new “Right to Try” law giv­ing dy­ing Amer­i­cans ac­cess to ex­per­i­men­tal med­i­ca­tions.

7. He has ush­ered in a golden age for women in the CIA. Trump not only ap­pointed Gina Haspel as the agency’s first fe­male di­rec­tor but also made El­iz­abeth Kim­ber the first women to lead the agency’s clan­des­tine ser­vice.

6. His push to ex­pand do­mes­tic en­ergy pro­duc­tion bore fruit. in 2018, the United States passed both Saudi Ara­bia and Rus­sia as the world’s top oil pro­ducer.

5. In the six months af­ter the Sin­ga­pore sum­mit with North Ko­rea, he has made no con­ces­sions to Py­ongyang. North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong Un ex­pected to blow up some use­less nu­clear facilities in ex­change for bil­lions in hard cur­rency. Trump has re­fused to play Kim’s game. Not only has Trump not lifted sanc­tions, un­frozen North Korean as­sets, ended the Korean War or of­fered Py­ongyang diplo­matic recog­ni­tion, but also he im­posed new sanc­tions on mem­bers of Kim’s in­ner cir­cle.

4. He struck Syria again and elim­i­nated the last ves­tiges of the Is­lamic State’s phys­i­cal caliphate. For a sec­ond time, he en­forced Obama’s red line against the use of chem­i­cal weapons. In De­cem­ber, U.S.-backed fight­ers cap­tured Ha­jin, the last pocket of ter­ri­tory held by the Is­lamic State. The mil­i­tant group is far from de­feated, but Trump is right that we have knocked “the hell out of ISIS.”

3. He’s con­tin­ued his tough line with Moscow. Trump an­nounced Amer­ica’s with­drawal from the In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nu­clear Forces Treaty, shipped Javelin an­ti­tank mis­siles to Ukraine, can­celed a meet­ing with Putin at the Group of 20 sum­mit over Rus­sia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships, ex­pelled dozens of Rus­sian diplo­mats and im­posed more sanc­tions against Moscow.

2. He pulled out of Obama’s dis­as­trous Iran deal and reim­posed crip­pling sanc­tions on Tehran.

1. He stood by Brett Ka­vanaugh and even in the worst mo­ments never wa­vered. Trump has con­firmed a record 85 judges in his first two years as pres­i­dent. That to­tal in­cludes two Supreme Court jus­tices, 30 ap­pel­late court judges and 53 dis­trict judges who will pre­side for decades. Trump’s suc­cess­ful fight for Ka­vanaugh also helped him ex­pand his Se­nate ma­jor­ity, as en­er­gized Repub­li­can vot­ers threw out four Demo­cratic in­cum­bents who op­posed Ka­vanaugh.


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