Two Years of Trump: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Matt Zupon

On January 20th, 2017, businessman and freshman politician Donald Trump took the Oath of Office, officializing his position as 45th President of the United States of America. As expected, the reception to President Trump shows a polarized electorate. Many love him, while many hate him. Not many people rest in the middle or remain undecided about the extremely present President. President Trump, along with a Republican-controlled Congress and a few moderate Democrats, implemented some amazing policies and appointed some wonderful people to various positions in the federal government. However, like previously stated, some personal dilemmas, strife between reporters, and poorly planned policies led to some low points in the Presidency. So, let’s take a look at how President Trump’s making America great again and where he could improve for the future.

Inevitably, one of the highest peaks of the Trump Presidency thus far swooped in on a silver platter in December of 2017 when the House and Senate passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, easing the tax brackets for everybody for the first time since 1986. The President also oversaw record high stock numbers, record low unemployment, and beefy GDP growth. Investor confidence also reached decade highs and retailers performing extremely well on Black Friday 2018, according to Forbes.
In terms of the judiciary, the Trump Presidency shattered the glass ceiling of expectations on multiple occasions. Aside from appointing a record number of judges to lower level courts, the President witnessed two of his Supreme Court Justice nominees receive an appointment. His first nominee, battle-tested Constitutionalist Neil Gorsuch who previously served on the United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit), flew to confirmation with the help of even some Democrats. As everyone remembers, United States Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced possibly the most hellish confirmation process of any Supreme Court nominee in America’s history. After multiple uncorroborated reports of rape and drugging appeared, the Democrats fought thick and thin to prevent him from reaching the highest Court of the land. Despite this, Mr. Kavanaugh got the last laugh, as all the Democrats that voted against him from conservative states, save Jon Tester of Montana, brutally lost on November 6th, 2018 (see Heitkamp, McCaskill, Donnelly).
His various foreign policy initiatives secured the US and its allies many times. No image resonates peace better than that of the North and South Korean leaders planting a tree alongside another, shaking hands at their highly-contentious borders. The divided Korea exchanged barbs since the 1950s, and though no entirely simmered down, the Northern half of the peninsula seems to keep its temper in check ever since March of 2018. Also for US-North Korea relations, President Trump earned the award as first sitting US President to meet with the Supreme Leader of North Korea in history. Along with the containment of North Korea, the Trump Presidency’s proactive initiatives in fighting ISIS sure put up some great results. In under two years, 98% of ISIS vanished from the Earth with thousands of members surrendering en masse.
Remarkably, President Trump steadfastly stands his ground on many hot button issues. As we all know just recently, a shutdown over border security captured headlines like none other. Whether reveling over the shutdown or relishing the government more when open, few other Presidents would put all their cards on the table and hold out this long. Making history, this shutdown beats the previous longest, held by Clinton’s 21 days, by going for A MONTH*. On top of this, Trump stuck with certain nominees (see Brett Kavanaugh) through thick and thin and accomplished impossible tasks (see 2016 Presidential election) even with heavy criticism.

As convenient as it would seem to compliment the President on every issue tackled, no person, other than Jesus, can always win. On multiple occasions, the President stepped in the wrong direction. While some legislative biffs result from the action (or inaction) of the two chambers of Congress, the President still deserves some flak for not attempting to constructively criticize members of even his own party. This innate banter leads to some major policy failures that a GOP controlled House and Senate could have readily supplied to the Oval Office before January 3rd.
For one, the complete fallout of the Obamacare repeal in the Senate in mid-2017 truly highlighted a sense of internal brawling in the Republican Party. After railing against the law for nearly a decade, three Republicans decided to vote against trashing the “Un”Affordable Care Act. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and late Sen. John McCain of Arizona all voted against ending this burden, entangling America in the health care fiasco for far longer. Luckily President Trump repealed the individual mandate, debatably the worst part of the law, later on. However, the inability to self govern one’s own healthcare beyond state lines and the disastrous premium spikes still present a problem for many.
Additionally, the President failed to address his most prominent campaign promise during the Republican-dominated years of his Presidency: border security. Millions of Americans waited in anticipation for the President to work with Speaker Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader McConnell of Kentucky to provide a resolution curbing illegal immigration. Unfortunately, we still see massive gaps at our southern border, and though President Trump seems to intend to stick out the government shutdown until we seal up the South, no clear path appears visible as of typing this article.

As what seems the norm with modern Presidents (and politicians in general) comes their promise to halt spending but increasing the deficit to even greater proportions. A key campaign promise (seen as a bluff by even his most ardent supporters) resulted as a backlash to Obama’s massive budgets. Then-candidate Trump vowed to eliminate the federal deficit in his tenure as President. If the past budgets prove anything, though, the national debt continues to move in the wrong direction. The President signed a budget for over ONE TRILLION dollars in 2018 following the last shutdown. These tumultuous times in Washington unfortunately lead to an inability to completely pay off the federal debt, but making progress towards balancing the budget would pay off well.
Another dilemma presented by the Trump administration arises from his shellacking of the Second Amendment at certain points. He signed into law an order banning bump stocks, and much of his rhetoric following the horrific events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (in Florida) sounded more anti-2A than anti-gross incompetence of officials in Broward County.

Stormy Daniels and some of the people close to Trump’s campaign briefly touch upon the sins of omission committed by the President. President Trump seems at a loss for words when it comes to the hush payment towards Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election. While he frequently attacks all negative press of him in a boorish manner, he remained silent on the payment until late into the issue. In addition to this, high-ranking members of his campaign keep receiving indictments for the Mueller probe. While none got in trouble for directly interfering with the election, the stench of corruption that close to Trump never bodes well.

Donald Trump does prove his care for the nation in quite a few ways. For one, he takes no salary. Few Presidents prior to him donated their salary. Though he still possesses a personal net worth of $3.5 billion, the notion of donating his salary to different agencies proves he did not seek the Presidency just for a paycheck. In addition to this, President Trump acts and performs extremely consistently. Whether you love his energetic persona or find him erratic, very few can deny that he acts the same way as always.

DISCLAIMER: I included four examples for “The Good” as “The Bad” and “The Ugly” both got two each, totaling four bad moments. I want to keep this opinion as unbiased as possible, if possible.
*Article written 1-17-19. Intended for release 1-20-19

One thought on “Two Years of Trump: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Matt Zupon

  1. Great article, Matt! Very well written, had a lot of good points. I just want to remind everyone that, despite the many issues and successes of the Trump administration, the Mainstream Media has yet to actually treat Trump fairly with his coverage. Please remember that they spent 8 consecutive years fanning and covering for Obama (except Fox), and that he does deserve some credit for the great job he’s done despite these factions against him.

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