Despite the daily pounding he receives from the media, President Donald Trump enjoys two advantages — low expectations and lots of time.
When the opposition party and their media cohorts call Trump an idiot, a fool, a liar, racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican, incompetent, lazy, unfocused, greedy, hateful, fascist, tyrannical and/or Hitler-esque, there's really nowhere to go but up. Recall how immediately after Trump took office, "experts" predicted a short administration, perhaps of months-long duration. Critics said Trump did not really think he would win. The recent anti-Trump book by Michael Wolff even claims that Trump did not want to win. Some even predicted that Trump, having captured the presidency, would grow bored and quickly return to his construction business.
This brings us to Trump's second advantage, time. There is a long time between now and November, let alone between now and the end of Trump's second term. The piling-on in the first year and a half of the Trump presidency contradicts a reality, quite annoying to Trump bashers: The man is fulfilling one campaign promise after another.
The Obama administration, for example, complained about our NATO partners' failure to spend the expected amount on national security. After Trump loudly complained that only five of the 29 member nations spend the minimum NATO requirement of 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense; that America was being used and financially ripped off by an "obsolete" NATO, which doesn't fight terrorism; and that member nations need to "promptly pay their bills," what happened? Several members pledged to increased their military spending.
How many Republican presidential candidates over the years complained about the ban on drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR? Trump signed legislation to begin the process of repealing the ban. Trump successfully appointed more federal appellate judges than any first-year president in history. Trump lowered the corporate tax rate, once the highest statutory rate in the industrialized world. Trump, as promised, eliminated or delayed numerous job-killing regulations. He approved the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
The stock market has repeatedly reached all-time highs, and for the first time in years, polls show that Americans believe young peoples' lives will be better than their parents'. An April 2018 Gallup poll found 61 percent believe today's youth "will have a better life than their parents did," the highest mark since 2010.
When Trump derisively called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un "rocket man," critics practically counted down our remaining days on earth before we would see mushroom clouds. As the only President ever with neither political nor military experience, Trump was called everything from a warmonger to naive. In January, former Vice President Joe Biden said, "(North Korea) is not a game. This is not about 'can I puff my chest out bigger than yours.' (Trump's threat) is just not — it's not presidential."
President Trump, shortly after taking office, placed American aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan. Three aircraft carriers and their multi-ship strike groups conducted war exercises in mid-November. Well, well. It was not long after this that Kim Jong Un became the first North Korean dictator to set foot on South Korean soil. Kim announced plans to end the 68-year-old Korean War and even promised to "denuclearize," as Trump demanded as a condition of removing economic sanctions.
Ronald Reagan would caution the new President to "trust, but verify," and there's a long way to go before Trump can declare victory on the North Korean issue. But even Trump haters, whether or not they give Trump credit, must admit that the world is better off with a North Korea without nuclear weapons.
Trump's achievements are all the more impressive given that from the beginning of his presidency he has been under investigation for allegedly "colluding" with the Russians to win the election. The collusion investigation has apparently evolved into an investigation of lying to investigators, obstruction of justice, money laundering and possible campaign finance violation over the $130K payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels.
There is an irony here. Many of the Trump bashers cheering special counsel Robert Mueller's probe also called the impeachment of President Bill Clinton a "witch hunt." To this day, many believe Congress impeached Clinton because of his extramarital affair in the White House with an intern. In fact, the House impeached him because he lied under oath and committed obstruction of justice. He was later found in contempt of court for lying and temporarily lost his license to practice law. Former California Republican Congressman James Rogan was a House manager, one of the House members who agreed to prosecute Clinton in the Senate. Rogan, now a judge, said that had Congress done nothing to Clinton it would have set a precedent that a president can, without consequences, lie under oath. And if a president can lie under oath, argued Rogan, why can't any person justify or rationalize lying under oath?
Had Clinton not been impeached, and had the precedent been established that presidents could lie under oath, Trump would have little to fear from a "perjury trap."
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.