A Brief History
On April 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump had a busy schedule, participating in a Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride event in the East Room, receiving his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office, leaving the White House en route to Mar-a-Lago, arriving in West Palm Beach, Florida, and having dinner at Mar-a-Lago with China’s President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan. Today, a year later, we list some of Donald Trump’s Greatest Accomplishments. What other accomplishments of Donald Trump would you list?
1. Getting elected President.
Obviously, becoming president is a great accomplishment, considering only 44 other men have ever served as US President. For Trump to have reached this office without the benefit of a prior political career or the notoriety of having been a high ranking military officer during a war is completely unprecedented. And he did it without spending a ridiculous amount of money! Not only beating the heavily favored Hillary Clinton who had years of political experience and public exposure, as well as an enormous political machine behind her along with a giant war-chest of money, but also beating his Republican opponents in the primaries is also a tremendous accomplishment, perhaps even more impressive than winning the general election.
2. Surviving Political Pitfalls.
Ronald Reagan was known as “The Teflon President,” but he had nothing on Donald Trump! The Donald routinely shrugs off incidents that would have quickly ended the career of other politicians, people without the guts or persistence to stay in the game after suffering a public relations disaster. Trump has repeatedly toughed out negative incidents and stuck to his guns (so to speak) in the face of what to others would be a campaign or career ending disaster. When the Access Hollywood tape (2005) was revealed during the 2016 Presidential campaign in which Trump was surreptitiously taped making lewd comments, any other candidate would have been ruined on the spot, but Donald Trump took the blow in stride and continued on to his highly improbable victory in November. Accusations against Trump by a variety of women have met unflinching denials with no sign of wavering or weakness. Trump’s ability to stand up to accusations and criticism, whether about his personal, political, or business life is incredible. You get the impression this guy really believes in himself.
3. Making a fortune and keeping it despite pitfalls.
While Donald Trump is fiercely protective of his financial privacy, we do know he has amassed at least 2 or 3 billion dollars (low end estimates, higher end estimates are closer to $9 billion) after inheriting somewhere between $20 million and $40 million. (Reports of a much larger inheritance do not take into account his father’s estate being divided among children and grandchildren.) In 1982, Donald Trump’s net worth was $200 million, so like him or not, he has made money. Much has been made of Trump investment bankruptcies, but Donald Trump is quick to point out that these ventures were joint ventures with multiple investors and he never filed for personal bankruptcy. In fact, his ability to weather those few negative financial incidents is amazing. Trump also survived the horrible 2008 financial collapse in the United States, something some other big companies needed government bailouts to survive.
Donald Trump speaks to the American people in a colloquial manner, using common terms and jargon that normal people can relate to. This fact belies the excellent education he received by attending The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school of the highest quality, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business, something he is quick to proudly point out. Our Presidents have a long history of coming from Ivy League educations, and Trump is another in this tradition.
5. The fortitude to avoid drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
Donald Trump learned from the misfortune of his brother, who died in 1981 in part because of being an alcohol abuser. Trump quite publicly refuses to drink alcohol, has never abused drugs (unlike some other notable politicians that have admitted to illegal drug use such as Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and others), and provides a good example for the youth of the US by never having smoked cigarettes or cigars (unlike Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton). Other than Mitt Romney, it is hard to think of prominent politicians that can match this sort of self-control.
6. Maintaining Health and Vitality.
At the age of 71 Donald Trump continues to golf (some say too much) and maintain a highly active lifestyle. His energy and stamina during the grueling Presidential campaign of 2016 easily eclipsed that of Hillary Clinton a year his junior. Somehow he manages this remarkable energy on a diet famously prone to indulgence in fast food and Diet Coke. Critics point to the extra pounds Donald Trump carries, but in truth he is in pretty good health for a man his age (better than me at 10 years his junior!).
Whether you like the guy or not, agree with him or not, it must be admitted that Donald Trump is nothing if not persistent. When he says he wants a border wall built, he is not dissuaded by critics or Mexican reluctance to participate in mutual construction of a border wall. Trump obviously feels tremendous responsibility to make good on promises made, something most politicians let fall by the wayside as soon as obstacles appear. Sticking in the Presidential race when pundits had written him off as related above (#2) is another sign of his incredible persistence. When he says he wants to deregulate, he is not put off by gridlock in Congress, he acts. Same with foreign trade, the Affordable Care Act, and other pillars of his political agenda. Again, you don’t have to agree with him to admit and admire his stalwart resistance to modifying his positions. In the face of tremendous pressure to cut back on his voluminous tweeting, Trump will not be denied! This is just how he is, and he will not change to appease critics.
8. Defeat of ISIS.
Again, agree with Donald Trump or not, the fact is ISIS is all but defeated. Trump said he would let the military professionals run the war on terror and would give them the support and means to win, and that is exactly what is happening. Donald Trump has also promised to pull out US troops whenever prudent, and he has just recently made it known that our forces in the Middle East will be drawn down soon, a long overdue move.
9. Booming Economy.
Candidate Trump promised his election would result in an economic boom for the United States, and whether or not his inherited Obama trends are responsible the facts are that our economy is booming by virtually every measure. A couple of the most visible signs of economic health are the unemployment rate, around 4% (down from 10% in 2010), and the stock market as evidenced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which although it has taken a recent downturn was up an incredible 31% in Trump’s first year as President, something not achieved since FDR 85 years ago. Especially significant is Black unemployment, currently the lowest ever measured, lending credibility to Candidate Trump’s question to Black voters, “What do you have to lose?” by voting for Trump. A key part of Donald Trump’s appeal to voters and American business was the promise of lowering taxes, and this he has done in spectacular fashion. We will have to wait to see what the results of this enormous tax cut will be, but we must admit he promised an enormous tax cut and he did it.
10. Building US Military Power.
Candidate Trump promised building the American military even beyond its tremendous capabilities he inherited, and he has done just that, getting the largest ($700 billion) military budget passed in US History. In addition, President Trump’s appeal to Congress to remove the military from a lack of funding in the event of a government shutdown over budget and military spending has been given a 2 year reprieve from the threat of sequestration cuts.
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For more information
Lewandowski and Bossie. Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency. Center Street, 2017.
Trump, Donald. Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America. Threshold Editions, 2016.