Donald Trump’s re-election campaign may not have gone as Republicans hoped, but his four years in office provided plenty to be thankful for.
Start with foreign policy, where President Trump oversaw a host of stunning achievements. He moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Past presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said they believed Jerusalem was the Israeli capital. They left the embassy in Tel Aviv anyway.
Trump moved the embassy. To the shock of the foreign policy establishment, war didn’t break out. Peace did. In recent months, Israel has signed peace deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
U.S. forces aggressively pursued terrorist leaders under Trump. This included killing Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, ISIS official Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and top leaders of al-Qaida.
Trump also withdrew from the Paris climate accord. The fracking boom helped reduce U.S. carbon emissions anyway. He correctly labeled China as a growing threat. He did find out the hard way that trade wars aren’t easy to win, even if necessary for national security reasons.
Domestically, Trump presided over one of the strongest economies in American history before the pandemic. His coronavirus response was a rousing success in most respects, save Trump’s repeated rhetorical blunders. New York never ran out of ventilators, even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo shipped coronavirus patients into nursing homes.
Trump created Operation Warp Speed to rush the creation of a vaccine. The media attacked his claim that a vaccine would be ready by the end of 2020. CDC Director Robert Redfield said Tuesday that 40 million doses should be available by the end of the year.
To his credit, Trump also largely refused to use the crisis as an excuse to centralize power in the presidency. The same media that spent years portraying him as wannabe dictator criticized him relentlessly for his restraint.
The media should be especially grateful for Trump. After eight years of slobbering over Obama, they rediscovered investigative journalism and the ability to question those in authority. Expect those skills to hibernate for the next four years.
The president’s most lasting domestic legacy is a remade federal judiciary. He appointed more than 225 judges, including three Supreme Court justices. These picks won’t proactively impose conservative policies, but rather prevent leftists from enacting theirs via judicial fiat.
Trump’s personality and Twitter addiction were off-putting to many. But conservatives always appreciated two things. He was unashamedly proud of America and he refused to back down when the media — often unfairly — attacked him. Other Republican elected officials should combine Trump’s spine with more nuanced rhetoric and a dash of self-control.
Thank you, Mr. President.