The Trump Presidency Post-Mortem

by | Jan 22, 2021 |

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Scholars, historians, and political pundits had already begun to dissect the Trump presidency even before his successor was sworn into office. Most have focused on Trump’s personality, combative style, and unwillingness to follow the long-established Washington rules on conducting business.

Judging his presidency on his personality and style unfairly overshadows his many great accomplishments during his four years in office. History will ultimately judge him as probably the most consequential one-term president in American history. Probably more consequential than many two-term presidents. Most notably, his immediate predecessor, whose two terms can fairly be judged as a dismal failure by any measure.

So what caused President Trump, who had a remarkable record of achievement, to run for re-election only to lose the 2020 election? There’s a legitimate argument to be made that more people voted against President Trump than actually voted for Joe Biden, based solely on their personal dislike of President Trump.

President Trump was indeed a man who generated strong emotions. His core supporters loved him, while his political enemies despised his very existence. But President Trump’s failure to be re-elected has less to do with him than it has to do with the state of our nation.

I read a comment once, and I paraphrase, “If America’s youths are not taught to love America, how can they ever be expected to fight for and defend her”? For decades now, our children have been taught in elementary and high schools, and especially in colleges and universities, that America is the cause of all of the world’s problems. Taught by college professors who are the true believers of the Cloward – Piven indoctrination they received during their own formative years.

We see the results of this playing out on the streets of America almost daily.  In Portland and Seattle, there has been a running battle between the forces for good (law enforcement) and ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter for going on a year now. The first, ANTIFA, an anarchistic group whose belief system is hard to really nail down other than that they profess to be opposed to ‘fascists,’ though I’m more inclined to believe that they enjoy destroying things and fighting with the police.

The other, BLM, is a self-avowed Marxist organization.  A curious claim, though, since they are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars into their bank accounts. For which there appears to be absolutely no accountability. Millions of dollars coming in and going to where we do not know.

This is the America that President Trump had to navigate through during his four years in office, two of which were with the Congress under Democrat control, and in no mood to work with the president for the American people. Add in the awful pandemic during his last year in office that originated in China and spread worldwide, and President Trump certainly faced immense challenges.

Yes, President Trump brought some of the problems he faced onto himself through his sometimes indelicate personality, tweeting, and combative style with the news media.

Much of the hatred heaped onto him had to do with nothing more than the fact that he had the temerity to defeat in 2016 the Democrats’ chosen candidate Hillary Clinton, the most dishonest, corrupt, and despicable politician in American history to ever run for the highest office in the land.

She had been promised the presidency; after all, it was her turn after Obama.  And regardless of her lack of character and integrity, which was well known throughout Washington, she checked all the correct policy boxes for the Democrat Party.

But unexpectedly, in 2008, Barack Obama usurped her ‘coronation’ and stole her place in history as the nation’s first woman elected president.  After eight years of Obama, the political establishment was committed to giving Hillary Clinton her just due. Unfortunately, along came Donald J. Trump to burst her and her party’s bubble. President Trump was never forgiven for that.

Any objective assessment of the Trump Presidency must acknowledge that, as previously mentioned, many of the problems he faced were self-inflicted. From the beginning, President Trump had a huge hole to dig himself out of. At times his own fiery rhetoric contributed to his challenges. President Trump could exhibit great empathy and soaring eloquence, only to follow it up with a less than artful ‘tweet’ or off the cuff comment. One step forward, two steps backward.

But President Trump’s biggest challenge as president was that he inherited a nation adrift. A nation that has been under ideological attack from within for decades. A nation that has not only discarded the belief in American Exceptionalism but has swung the pendulum so far in the opposite direction that many young people today can find no redeeming qualities in America at all. 

Democrat politicians are now even actively questioning the relevance of our founding documents, the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights.

Based on what Joe Biden has promised to do, America may well be unrecognizable in four years from the once “shining city on a hill,” the “beacon of freedom to the world.” And the “last great hope for mankind of earth.”

But the Trump Presidency did its best to promote the goodness of America, to think of America first, and to indeed “make America great again.”  For that alone, President Trump will be viewed more favorably by history than his detractors will be.

For all the hate and invective thrown at him for four years, he accomplished more than most presidents have in eight years. Accomplishments that will outlast his successor, regardless of how many executive orders Joe Biden might sign.

President Trump’s place in history as the most consequential one-term American president is secure. And who knows what the future may hold.

Del Wilber

Del is a former under cover employee of the Central Intelligence Agency serving overseas in Eastern and Western Europe, and the Middle East. He currently does consulting work in counterterrorism and writes columns, as well as appears as a guest on a number of programs.

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