September 24th, 2018 6:24 AM
U.S. President Donald Trump’s critics these days led by Anonymous, author of a New York Times op-ed and Bob Woodward, author of a new Trump book accuse him of being an erratic, unpredictable leaderwho inhabits an alternate universe that will destroy the economy, end the Western alliance and start World War III.
What planet do these critics inhabit? There has never been a more predictable, more steadfast or more constant president than Donald J. Trump. In public policy, he is the gold standard in staying the course.
In trade, Trump said he’d get out of TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he did. He said he’d re-negotiate NAFTA and he’s doing it. He said he’d impose tariffs on any country that didn’t agree to his terms and he has.
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In the economy Trump said he’d cut taxes and he did, in spades with the first major tax reform bill in 30 years. He said heâd lower the unemployment rate and it’s now down to levels not seen in decades, while reaching historic lows for minorities. He said he’d bring back manufacturing plants and they’re coming back and without the “magic wand” former president Barack Obama mockingly said he’d need. He said he’d achieve four-per-cent economic growth and in the last quarter it reached 4.2 per cent. He said he’d cut red tape and he has. 860 regulatory actions have been scrapped or shelved since he became president, making him the biggest deregulator of all time.
In foreign policy Trump said he’d rebuild the military and he’s doing it through a massive funding bill he got through Congress. He said he’d recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he has. He said he’d demolish ISIS and he’s doing it. He said he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal and he did. He said he’d quit the Paris climate accord and he has.
In domestic policy Trump said heâd appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court and lower courts and he has, setting records for his number of appointments in the process. He said heâd approve the Keystone XL pipeline and he did. He said heâd repeal and replace Obamacare and heâs been doing it, step by step. He said heâd repeal Net Neutrality and he did. He said heâd work to get the black vote and he has â the latest Rasmussen poll shows him with 36-per-cent approval among likely black voters, compared to the eight per cent who voted for him in 2016.
Critics mistake his tactics, which are short-term and subject to change, for his strategy
In immigration he said heâd impose a travel ban; when he initially failed he tried again, and then again, until finally the Supreme Court sided with him. He said he wanted to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and he initially did, and now that they have risen again heâs trying again. He said heâd build a wall on Americaâs southern border and, though heâs been mostly stymied to date, heâs trying and trying again there, too.
Trumpâs predictability can best be seen by his formal record in keeping promises. By the end of his first year, according to the Heritage Foundation, he had kept a stunning 64 per cent of the 334 promises made in his Mandate for Leadership pledge. Criticize him for his policies or his personality or his hair â that would be defensible. Criticize him for being unhinged and unpredictable in executing his policies and youâre the one who needs a checkup.
In one sense, Trump truly is unpredictable: He thinks outside the box, making him unpredictable to those without imagination, and unsuccessful to those who lack the equanimity and magnanimity to step back and grant him his policy achievements. Calling North Korean leader Kim âRocket Manâ one day and lavishing him with praise another isnât being unpredictable, itâs keeping your eye on the ball, which is to get Kim to the negotiating table to achieve denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.
Trumpâs critics mistake his tactics, which are short-term and subject to change, for his strategy â getting to the long-term deals that heâs after. Heâll threaten a country with tariffs, then zig with an offer to negotiate, then zag by threatening it with doubled tariffs, all with the ultimate end in mind. Or heâll publicly browbeat his military allies, threatening to end treaties, and using trade relations as leverage, to convince them to contribute more to their own defence, and to the common defence of the free world. These tactics may be diplomatic no-nos, but they succeeded, and in short order, in contrast to the decades of failure endured by Trumpâs White House predecessors. If itâs unpresidential to keep America safe and return it to prosperity, America can use more unpresidents.
Trump isnât all over the map and the sky isnât falling. Trump is a steady hand, always down to earth, and for anyone who cares to compare his promises with his results, heâs highly predictable.