Donald J Trump not only served as the 45th US president but is also a successful businessman. Today, he continues to remain a relevant and important figure globally and his accomplishments in different spheres of life teach adequate lessons too.
It won’t be wrong if one says that Donald J Trump was one of the most eccentric and edgy of all presidents that USA has ever had considering the blatant and outright decisions he had undertaken remained unprecedented especially in recent times if compared to both his Democrat counterparts such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton or his Republican predecessors such as George Bush Jr as well as George Bush Sr.
Trump was outlandish in the way he moved ahead with his administration of world’s greatest superpower and by far the only power world has today in a globe that closely borders on that of a unipolar one with Cold War-era over and the Soviet Union no more and countries of East such as China and India are still struggling to make it to the level where they can be militarily and politically on par with the USA.
Currently, India and China are only economically progressing and China has emerged only as an economic superpower but not as a political and military world power because it is a country devoid of democratic rule, respect for fundamental human rights as well as freedom of speech and expression which one finds in the USA the biggest power representing the Western civilization which stands for freedom and liberty of all humans.
For many both within and outside the US, Trump was a savior of the Western civilization against what they deem as a threat of foreign incursions ( in the form of immigration of non-White ethnoreligious groups from different parts of the world to the US as well as the threat of terror attacks on the American soil by Islamic terror groups).
Trump for them was a ray of hope against seemingly too lenient liberal appeasers of rogue regimes such as Iran which pose a significant threat to the sovereignty of Israel ( a state which is of biblical significance to many American Christians as well as the American Jewry which had been very steadfast in the support of Trump because of his overt acts of support to Israel). Many also laud Trump for getting many important Arab and predominantly Muslim countries on the table of negotiations with Israel.
Now with Trump’s diplomacy and hard work, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco have established full diplomatic relations with Israel after years of anguish and anti-semitic hatred. The Trump administration also played a pivotal role in bringing peace after a very long time to the troubled Korean peninsula where North and South Korean leaders met for dialogue under the mediating aegis of Donald J Trump of the US.
Who is Trump?
Elected President of the United States in 2016, Donald Trump was born in New York City and very early bathed in the world of real estate. His father, Fred, made a fortune as a promoter. Donald Trump had an easy childhood with two brothers and two sisters.
He was enrolled in a military school at the age of 13, before completing economics studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He married three times, first in 1977, Ivana Zelníčková, a Czech model and athlete, with whom he had three children (Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka and Eric). In 1993, he married Marla Maples: from this union was born Tiffany. Finally, in 2005, he married Melania Knauss, a Slovenian model who gave birth to Barron in 2006.
Donald Trump’s business career began in 1968 when he joined the family-owned Fred Trump business. Three years later, he took the reins of the company renamed Trump Organization.
In 1983, he inaugurated the Trump Tower, the first of many skyscrapers built during his career, a building on which he occupied a triplex with his wife and younger son. Despite the real estate crisis, his empire is doing well and this billionaire is still one of the biggest American fortunes.
Donald Trump’s political background is atypical and reveals great versatility. Thus, if he first committed himself to the Democrats, he joined the Republican Party in 1987 to support Ronald Reagan. In 1999, he joined the Reform Party of the United States of America, before making a new 180° turn, in 2001, to become a democrat again.
In 2009, another about-face: Donald Trump returned to the Republicans. After having hesitated several times to run, he was finally running for president in 2016 and thwarted all the initial predictions. He won the primary elections within his party, before becoming the 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016.
Indiscretions about Donald Trump
Donald Trump owes much of his popularity to a reality show, The Apprentice, first aired in 2004. A co-producer of the program, he quickly became its star presenter and benefited greatly from its immense popular success. Donald Trump is an overzealous character whose words often shock some communities. He is regularly called a misogynist. Some of his statements on women have something to react to. Donald Trump never drinks a drop of alcohol, because his older brother, Fred III, died of alcohol-related complications when he was only 43 years old.
Analysis of accomplishments of Trump administration
Donald Trump tried at all costs to score, in the last straight line before the presidential election of November 3, successes of foreign policy likely to satisfy his base, after having failed to resolve the major crises of his first mandate.
The last announcement followed a key promise from the Republican President: “End the endless wars” from the United States to the Middle East.
The US Army announced that it will withdraw an additional 2,200 soldiers from Iraq by the end of the month.
In 2016, “Trump campaigned that the Iraq War had been the worst foreign policy mistake in American history,” said Sarah Kreps, a professor at Cornell University.
“He is now trying to keep his promise after giving the military time to plan the withdrawal,” she told AFP, stressing that he had so far “stumbled on the resistance of the establishment, including the Pentagon,” when he wanted to reduce the presence in that country, as in Syria or Afghanistan.
According to her, there was a certain consistency on the part of the president Trump “who has used military force the least” since the end of the Cold War, which “can be considered a success” by those who criticize American interventionism.
Diplomacy: the biggest accomplishment of Trump
Less than eight weeks away from running for a second term, the timing was not insignificant.
Especially since the US administration was also about to announce a further reduction in troops in Afghanistan, even though the violence continued and the peace process was struggling to take off.
Above all, the White House did not let pass a day without highlighting the “historic” agreement that it favored between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, only the third Arab country to recognize the Hebrew state.
This “peace agreement”, which was signed with great fanfare on 15 September, 2020 in Washington, ” was a testimony to President Trump’s diplomacy and courageous vision,” said his spokesperson, who issued a statement on Wednesday to welcome his “appointment” to the Nobel Peace Prize — makes it a simple proposal, by a Norwegian elected official, which has no preselection value from the institute that awards the prestigious awards.
However, the normalization of Israeli-Emirati relations is far from the initial ambition of the thunderous seventy-year-old, who promised peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
It is because Donald Trump alienated the Palestinian Authority by multiplying the decisions in favor of Israel, aware of satisfying the important Christian evangelical fringe of his electorate.
Trump’s skillful diversion of attention
Trump also announced an “economic normalization” of relative importance between Serbia and Kosovo, by doing so he created surprise by revealing that he had also snatched the recognition of the Hebrew state by Pristina and the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem by both countries. It does not matter if, this week, Belgrade questioned its own commitment.
Left-wing’s critique of Trump administration
“The Israel-Emirates agreement will not be enough to erase the major deterioration of security across the Middle East during its mandate,” told AFP Brian Katulis, a researcher at the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank, said, referring to the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
For him, “Trump made many promises and kept few on national security”.
Thus, the main crises identified upon his arrival were far from being resolved: Iran, despite its “maximum pressure” which had earned him a strong anger with the Europeans, is closer than before to a nuclear weapon, just like North Korea, despite three summits and many “gorgeous” letters with leader Kim Jong Un.
Failing Russia, China and Venezuela
Similarly, relations with Russia did not improve as hoped, and China, the number one strategic rival, does not seem to want to back down in the face of the American diplomatic offensive. As for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, he was still in power while Washington had done everything to drive him away.
Katulis also pointed out that “the main security crisis of the Trump era”, which will remain his “main legacy”, is the one linked to the poor management of the pandemic, also emblematic of his inability to get along with America’s allies.
When Trump was president-candidate for the other term it was said that he “is probably trying to divert attention from his management of Covid-19 by restoring his diplomatic image,” Kreps said. “I doubt it will work in an election dominated by domestic policy issues, but it can play on the margins.”
No significant change since the last 15 years
For over 15 years, only a minority of Americans have believed that the country is moving in the right direction. Trump’s presidency will not have changed anything. Results of an extraordinary mandate, a month before the presidential election.
Promises made but were they delivered or not?
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump began his mandate as the 45th President of the United States with a speech with apocalyptic overtones. “The American bloodbath ends here and now,” said the Republican real estate magnate, who presented himself as the defender of the “forgotten men and women”.
In line with his campaign as an outsider of the populist right, Trump promised to tackle migration flows, global free trade and Washington’s political elite and lobbyist, and thus return the American man his jobs, its identity and dignity.
This day will be remembered as the day when the people once again became the master of the nation.”Almost four years later – with Trump’s re-election on November 3 at stake – all that remained was the uninterrupted stream of tweets, scandals and extreme political polarization. This smokescreen of controversy masked many broken promises, but also a whole series of achievements.
Every American president plays first for his own side, of course, but Trump retreated more than any other on his base of followers. The “master people” were above all conservative, white and – again and again – rather rich than poor. Trump was therefore mostly a classic republican, although he was undeniably a steroid-boosted republican.
Favors by Trump administration
Trump, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh
After placing Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, Trump hoped to have a third Supreme Court judge appointed before the election, which had nine. Her candidate was the very conservative Amy Coney Barrett. Since Richard Nixon, no other American president had left such a mark on the country’s highest jurisdiction during his first mandate.
This possible “game changer”, in the last straight line before the presidential election of November 3, suddenly did put under the spotlight the judicial revolution that the Republicans had been quietly leading for four years.
Trump and his Senate majority had already appointed 218 federal judges, more than 25% of the total. With the exception of Jimmy Carter, no other president has done better in his first term since the end of the Second World War.
All the judges were carefully selected by conservative social, economic and religious lobby groups, representing the backbone of the party. They were mostly men (75%), white (85%), and especially relatively young. They were capable of defending the Republican agenda for decades, which could have ultimately been Trump’s most important legacy.
Favoring arms lobby through arms legislation
The arms lobby – another traditional Republican pillar – managed to maintain its power of influence. On October 1, 2017, the United States experienced the deadliest mass murder in American history when Stephen Paddock opened fire for long minutes from a hotel room on spectators at a music festival in Las Vegas. 60 dead and more than 800 wounded.
A few months later, at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17 people lost their lives in the bloodiest attack on a high school in the United States.
Millions of citizens participated in the “March for our Lives” movement, but nothing changed, or almost nothing had improved, in the area of the Arms Law. Only the “bump stock”, this accessory that can equip a semi-automatic firearm to give it a functioning close to an automatic weapon, had been prohibited.
Trump’s wave of deregulation triggered various results
The corporate world welcomed with open arms the wave of typically republican deregulation: the country experienced the largest tax cut in decades, banks had seen the rules loosen, 68 environmental laws had been removed in discretion and another 32 were expected to follow.
Stringent car emission standards had been relaxed, power plants could emit more greenhouse gases, oil and gas extraction sites could release methane again (harmful) and oil drilling was permitted in a nature reserve in Alaska.
These measures allowed Trump to create many jobs for his electorate, among others for the inhabitants of the “Rust Belt”, even if this effect seemed temporary.
The destructive forest fires on the West Coast, hurricanes of rare violence in the south, and rainfall records in the Midwest exemplified above all the nature of climate change, even though Trump rejected all human responsibility in these phenomena.
This is while his own administration warned against the rising economic costs of these disasters and the danger they posed to the country’s financial stability.
Trump’s controversial migration policy
While zero tolerance for illegal immigrants also known to many in the US as cheap labor is not a typical Republican obsession, Trump made it the cornerstone of his campaign. The result, however, remained mixed.
The number of arrests at the Mexican border skyrocketed as seen in how in 2019 there were almost 900,000, the highest number since 2007. But this increase said as much about hopelessness about drug-related crime and poverty in Latin America as about tightening border controls.
The fact remained that Trump’s radical rhetoric discouraged many migration candidates and drastically reduced the number of illegal migrants.
Crisis with minors on Mexican border
In 2018, Trump even sent the army to the Mexican border and separated minor children from their parents who entered the country illegally. Shocking images of children crying behind bars provoked huge protests and set Trump back. The number of evictions increased every year, but it was still far from the figures of its Democratic predecessor Barack Obama.
Trump’s attempt to remove Obama’s protection for hundreds of thousands of “dreamers” – young people who arrived illegally with their parents, or even born in the United States – failed in the Supreme Court.
Wall on the border with Mexico
And what about his high-profile “build the wall” promise? Along the border with Mexico, 3,145 km long, 549 kilometers of new walls were built. In fact, it was mostly about upgrading or renovating existing infrastructure. Only about 50 km of new walls had been built.
And Mexico had not spent a single peso. At least not directly. Because Trump had demanded that several Central American countries detain migrants within their borders by threatening them with economic pressure.
Legal migration policy with regards to predominantly Muslim countries
Legal migration had also been tightened up. For example, in 2017, Trump banned the entry of residents of several Muslim countries into the United States, even though it took three judgments to authorize this measure. It became much more difficult to obtain an American visa or a residence permit, including for highly educated people. And the reception of refugees had decreased by nearly 90%.
Upsurge in racial tensions
Trump’s migration policy also illustrated how Trump had sidelined the identity debate.Among the neo-Nazi demonstrators of Charlottesville, he saw “many good people”. He called African countries “shithole countries” and subtly legitimized millions of supporters of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon.
At the beginning of the year, more than 80% of African-Americans called Trump racist. And at the time of the death of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, when Jacob Blake was seriously injured, and when the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement exploded against police violence, Trump showed no understanding. He chose to support law enforcement.
By pretending to translate the voice of the “silent majority” by focusing on “law and order”, did it unnecessarily spur racial tensions and violence between far-right and far-left groups? There are few questions that illustrate this deep polarization of the Trump era USA.
Trump’s reformation of criminal law
A rare case, Trump managed to obtain a political consensus at the end of 2018 on his “First Step Act”, the biggest criminal law reform in 25 years. It was intended to put an end to overcrowding in prisons, and especially towards benefitting the country’s minorities.
Mandatory minimum prison sentences had been abolished, early release promoted and recidivism combated through better accompaniment of former inmates.
But many steps still needed to be taken. With more than 2.3 million prisoners – more than 700 per 100,000 inhabitants – the United States is the world leader. And 40% of the prisoners are African-Americans, while they represent only 12% of the population.
Trump on health care
The coronavirus had already claimed the lives of 205,000 American citizens, the highest number in the world. This was the biggest crisis of Trump’s presidency. There was a wealth of literature on how Trump had downplayed this disease, contradicted his scientific advisers and delivered a chaotic federal strategy.
Much has also been written about the focus on economic resilience rather than promoting the importance of mask wearing and physical distancing. And on his rejection of responsibility for the crisis in China and local democratic politicians.
It was a fact that the coronavirus crisis was the largest health crisis in the United States since the Spanish flu of 1918. And that the poor, the elderly, and minorities – the forgotten men and women of America – had been disproportionately affected.
Undoing of positive developments of the past
Trump’s Republicans had partially dismantled Obamacare, the health care reform introduced by its predecessor, without offering any meaningful alternative. They had also reduced food and poverty reduction programs. Millions of Americans had seen their already thin social safety net unravel even more.
Trump brought pessimism?
What did this mean for the November 3 elections? More than 90% of Republicans continued to support Trump. And he could have had the support of an even greater percentage, especially during the first two years of his mandate, when he had a “trifecta,” that is, republican control over the White House and the two chambers of Congress, and a Conservative majority on the Supreme Court.
Trump administration’s inexperienced staff and cabinet: mere shortcomings
Trump’s versatility, the lack of experience of many advisors, and the relentless changes in his cabinet — including the firing of four chiefs of staff and five national security advisors — undermined his popularity.Therefore, Trump was the first post-war president to never exceed 50% of Americans supporting him. During the last few days, his popularity stood at 42%. Only George Bush Senior and Jimmy Carter did less well than he did a short distance from the election, and did not get a second mandate.
Trump vs Biden
In the polls, Trump had been lagging behind Democrat Joe Biden for months. During the midterm elections, the Republicans had already lost control of the House of Representatives, six seats of governors and as many parliaments at state level.
Donald J Trump had left an indelible mark on the political history of the USA with his presidency no matter how much his detractors hate him for his rhetoric and jingoism but he has proved to be a person of massive influence and impact not just in the USA but around the world. He has outgrown the stature of a typical US president as he was not always acting like a president during his presidency but also acted like a businessman who thought over very meticulously about signing some trade agreement with an Asian partner like India.
He was also very outspoken about his mistrust of China as he deemed the Chinese desire for dialogue with the US a threat to the American economy since it only paves way for the Chinese economy to thrive at the expense of the growth of the American economy. Trump was very particular about spearheading the peace process between Israel and previously antagonistic Arab states under the title of Abraham Accords.
This peace agreement was indeed a step towards achieving greater peace between two adherent races of Abraham which are Jewish and the Muslim people of the Arab world as one are the descendants of Abraham’s son Issac whereas the other descending from the other son of Abraham known to the world as Ishmael and to Muslims as Ismail.
Trump also brought North and South Korea closer once again as Trump ended constant bashing of the North Korean regime which his predecessors were very fond of doing and instead Trump decided to visit the Korean peninsula and meet the notorious North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The meeting was a very friendly one and it turned the US and North Korean animosity into a sentiment of mutual understanding.
But it also has to be acknowledged that his rule was characterized by a rise in violent acts of racism within the USA too often leading to acts of Islamophobia too resulting in the loss of life of innocent individuals. No doubt, during his tenure, American politics turned more toxic than ever before. The article also acknowledges the failings of the Trump administration through a critical look at his projected accomplishments. The failings included many instances such as favors to the arms lobby and sheer disregard for the environment.