Despite the media’s unyielding obsession with Russian-collusion conspiracies, tax returns, Stormy Daniels, and any other scandal conjured through sophistry, President Donald Trump has accrued a slew of accomplishments in 2018 that deserve recognition.
From the economy to the Supreme Court to foreign policy, this past year has been replete with home runs for the 45th president.
Defying skeptics in the media, reputable economists, and Paul Krugman, Trump achieved GDP growth of 4.1% in 2018.
Trump helped stimulate the fastest economic growth since 2014 by reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% (the highest in the developed world) to a far more competitive 21%. In September, the national unemployment rate fell to 3.7% – the lowest it’s been since 1969. Furthermore, over the last year, businesses and corporations saw tremendous growth in profits fueled by Trump’s deregulation and tax cuts.
Some skeptics may point to the stock market’s feeble performance over the past few months – the biggest annual decline in a decade – as an indication of economic turmoil. That claim, however, erroneously conflates market performance with economic performance. Strong jobs numbers, wage and labor force participation increases, and GDP growth all indicate vigor, not volatility, in the economy.
The S&P 500 index may have taken a beating in 2018 (falling 6.2 percent), but so did the unemployment rate, dropping to a five-decade low. And the latest economic news reveals a massive hiring surge. The economy added 312,000 new jobs in December, far exceeding tepid expectations, and the average number of new jobs being created each month in 2018 increased 20 percent. Manufacturing jobs – a policy pillar of Trump’s presidential campaign – grew 714% faster under Trump than Obama. Moreover, average hourly wages increased by 3.2% from the previous year.
Through the entirety of his run for the presidency, Trump railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), vowing to renegotiate it and leverage more favorable terms for the U.S. economy. This year, he accomplished just that, renegotiating NAFTA with Canada and Mexico.
As part of the deal – called the USMCA – Trump opened Canada’s nineteen-billion-dollar diary industry to American markets, eliminating prior provisions that gave Canadian milk products an edge over their American competitors. Trump’s negotiations with Mexico and Canada also helped boost the domestic production of automobiles.
Over in the East, China capitulated to mounting pressure from Trump, agreeing to crack down on the production and trafficking of fentanyl. In 2017, the lethal, synthetic opioid was responsible for nearly 30,000 deaths in the US – 60% of all opioid overdoses in the country.
In stark contrast to every past president since Bill Clinton, Trump not only promised to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, he actually moved it, recognizing the historic Jewish city as the capital of Israel.
Under Trump’s tutelage, the U.S. withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The nominal human rights organization long eschewed its own title, filling its board with egregious human rights violators such as Egypt, where dissidents and journalists are imprisoned, and Cuba, where political opposition has long been stifled into oblivion.
And then there was the Iran deal — the zenith of Obama’s foreign policy. The Iran nuclear deal was signed hastily, and with many shortcomings. It removed a bevy of financial and military sanctions that could be used as bargaining tools; it provided no clear method to verify Iran’s adherence to the deal; it provided no means to stop the rogue regime from funneling its unfrozen asset to terrorist organizations; and it even admitted that in 10 years, Iran could begin development of nuclear weapons.
Consequently, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran Deal (another campaign promise kept), and in 2018, reinstated all economic sanctions against the Iranian regime. Trump restored essential non-military options for dealing with Iran in the event that they accelerate their plans to procure a nuclear weapon.
The biggest 2018 headline was: Trump became the first sitting US president in history to meet with a North Korean leader. The momentous summit between the United States and the communist regime was promptly followed by North Korea announcing its plan for denuclearization before the end of Trump’s first term.
Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)
Trump was handed a second Supreme Court vacancy in 2018. To fill the position, the president nominated Yale Law School alum Brett Kavanaugh, who was subsequently bombarded with sexual misconduct accusations. Beginning with decades-old allegations bereft of corroborative witnesses, the media then rapaciously latched on to the wildest accusations they could find: that in his highbrow college years, Kavanaugh was (allegedly) a serial gang rape ring-leader. The story crumbled when the accuser changed her story, admitting she never witnessed Kavanaugh doing anything other than being present at a party.
Trump supported Kavanaugh through the entire charade, refusing to withdraw his nomination at the behest of far-left activists and the media. On October 6, Kavanaugh took the oath of office, shortly after he was successfully voted in by the Senate.
Freeing Americans From Foreign Captivity
From day one of his presidency to today, Trump and his administration have negotiated and secured the release of 17 American citizens from foreign captivity. And in contrast to his predecessor, President Obama, Trump didn’t pay ransom fees or free terrorists as concessions.
In 2018, Trump negotiated the release of an American pastor from Erdogan’s regime in Turkey, secured the freedoms of three Americans held in North Korea, and gave an endearing welcome home to an American held prisoner in a Venezuelan slum for two years, just to name a few.
Notwithstanding these accomplishments, tune in to CNN or MSNBC, pick up a copy of the New York Times or Washington Post, and you’re force-fed the same fodder: “Trump is trying to distract you from his criminal wrongdoings. His presidency is headed downhill and impeachment is imminent.”
A few examples from CNN:
“What Trump is trying to distract you from,” Chris Cillizza
“Donald Trump’s DC is a dangerous global distraction,” Nic Robertson
“Trump is distracting you from this,” Don Lemon
These aren’t cherry-picked outliers. Successive studies (see here and here) on the media’s coverage of Trump’s presidency arrive at the same conclusion: it’s overwhelmingly negative (upwards of 92%). The media isn’t enamored with the vagaries of the Mueller investigation because they deem it to be the most pressing story of the modern era. Mueller coverage is the media’s way of distracting from what Trump is really doing: successfully following through on a bevy of campaign promises.