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MEASURING TRUMP AGAINST HIS PROMISES IN FIRST YEAR
TOM LAMPRECHT: Today, specifically, I’d like to take a look back on the first year of Donald Trump’s administration and his presidency – what he promised and then what he accomplished – again, let’s sort of go through this in a bullet point fashion.
However, before we get into the specifics, Harry, can you remember a president who has managed to accomplish as much as Donald Trump has done in his first year?
DR. REEDER: The idea of us doing this program came about in terms of the extraordinary pushback against President Trump when he moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Presidents have been under an order to do this, although they’ve been given the flexibility not to do it for purposes of negotiations and national security decisions, but, every six months, they’d have to say why they hadn’t moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – and he went ahead and did it.
And he said, “Well, it’s time to do it. We’ve had all these presidents who were supposed to do it so it’s time to do it and I’ve done it.” He had promised this in the campaign and now he delivered.
Well, what else has he done? He has made, as I counted, ten basic campaign promises and, those campaign promises, he has responded to either accomplish them or initiate their accomplishment.
Now, let me be very clear: this particular Today in Perspective is not an evaluation of whether we agree with these particular acts that he has done, but we’re looking at the overall dynamic of a president who made campaign promises and then, within the first year, this is what he has done in relationship to those promises.
1. TAX CODE BILL
TOM LAMPRECHT: You’ve mentioned the first one, moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The No. 1 I’ve got on my list was this most recent accomplishment – that’s the tax code bill.
DR. REEDER: He made a promise to simplify and to bring tax reform. Again, we’re not evaluating the tax bill, but he has delivered in his first year of office.
2. SUPREME COURT NOMINATIONS
TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 2, the Neil Gorsuch confirmation.
DR. REEDER: And he made a promise on the Supreme Court which, by the way, probably was the most influential promise that he made that garnered much of the evangelical support, who had a number of issues with him on a number of things that he both said and did during his campaign, but ended up voting for him probably motivated by this issue more than any other. He also, in the first year, has appointed more appellate court justices than any other president in recent history.
3. ROLLBACK OF OBAMA-ERA REGULATIONS
TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 3 on the list is just the basic rollback of regulations that Obama implemented.
DR. REEDER: “For any regulation that we institute, we’re going to cut out three.” Well, he has gone way beyond that in what they would have determined as unnecessary regulations that are paralyzing upon the economy.
4. IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT
TOM LAMPRECHT: No. 4, Trump ran on a platform of tougher immigration enforcement – the travel ban.
DR. REEDER: He has attempted to initiate a vetting process on who is to be allowed in and also immigration reform. This is one where he has not delivered as most people would have thought he would have delivered because included in that was border security – the promise of the building of the wall – but there have been efforts at his immigration reform in terms of who is allowed in and the vetting process of visas in light of national security.
5. WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
TOM LAMPRECHT: Next on the list, Harry, is the withdrawal from the Paris Climate deal.
DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s take a look at two of these agreements that the previous administration had entered into that Candidate Trump campaigned against. One was the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and the other was the Paris Climate Agreement that also affected manufacturing and regulation in the United States and it was declared that that was an unusual duress to what was required of the rest of the world. He said that he would get us out of both of those and he has delivered on both of those promises in his first year.
TOM LAMPRECHT: The rollback of some of Obama’s Cuban policies.
DR. REEDER: That would fall in under his national security strategy, Sustainable Security Strategy, that he has initiated. When he did the speech, one of the things that he did was reverse the open-door policy with Cuba that had been initiated in the previous administration as well as a commitment to America First. And, by the way, he redefined that for everyone in his security policy, which was, “I am not saying America selfishly but, America First, I was elected to look out for America’s interest. And, by the way, in our negotiations with other nations, I fully expect those elected officials to come to the bargaining table on our various discussions looking out for their nation first.”
7. NET NEUTRALITY REPEAL
TOM LAMPRECHT: In another blow to regulations enacted under Obama, recently, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its landmark Net Neutrality rules.
DR. REEDER: And I like the way you have explained it on your own program, Tom, of this being a socialism comes to the internet. What happened was, with what President Obama did in basically level the playing field in the internet research and advancement, it makes everything that someone does available to others.
Well, what happened is what always happens in socialism: It’s a loss of initiative and so people quit doing research on internet improvement and expansion and enhancement because they knew they either had to give it away or they knew that they could get what other people did without having to spend money on it.
He has rolled that back and I think what that means is you’re going to see some amazing advancements in the internet capabilities for our nation and for the world.
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, the final accomplishment I want to talk about today is something that has just sort of disappeared from the headlines of the national news and that is the degrading of Isis.
DR. REEDER: He said he was going to do it – amazingly, it’s been done with a great deal of reliance on Iraq. Their military capabilities on the ground have been fundamentally degraded and removed. That’s another accomplishment.
9. DRAIN THE SWAMP EFFORTS
Now, his drain the swamp promise – this deep-state bureaucracy and the opposition has come up in terms of the FBI and the State Department and other places – he has not made the advancement that he has promised, but it seems to have now been unearthed and exposed. And that may be something that will be dealt with in the coming year in terms of removals and putting people in place that would be serving the country and not serving themselves as if they are a State within the State.
Given the hiring and firing policies in the government and the protections that are put there, it is very difficult to unearth and remove bureaucrats, but I think he’s going to do that and he says that he’s going to do that in an effort to reduce the budget in that there’s going to be a lot of positions that are just going to disappear.
Finally, we would have to say that his promise to remove Obamacare did not meet with success, the repeal and replace promise, but there was an effort to do it.
And there has been some success in that there has been the reestablishment of the religious freedoms protection in that the requirement to participate in funding of abortions and abortifacients is no longer placed upon individuals and privately held companies that have religious convictions against the destruction of unborn life.
And, secondly, now, the tax package, there was the removal of the mandate for Obamacare, which would be the undoing of Obamacare unless the government decides to fully fund it. The cost of Obamacare is going to come full-force to next year’s Congress.
TRUMP’S PROMISE-KEEPING IS ADMIRABLE
Tom, can I, before we leave, just say one final thing from a Christian world and life view about today’s program? Again, with no evaluation upon the policies and programs, themselves, I do want to speak of one thing that’s commendable in this that I would put before all of our listeners: We ought to be people who, when we make promises, we attempt to fulfill our promises and not to make promises to manipulate people but, “When we make a promise, this is what we’re going to do. Our yes is yes and our no is no.” And that is always admirable in someone.
I would like to commend that, “way of life” that, when we say we’re going to do something, let’s make a commitment to do it. And, as I approach this new year, I rejoice in the fact that the God of glory and grace has made certain promises and definite promises and clear promises for the redemption of His people. And then we have just rejoiced in the coming of Christ in the Christmas season and that Christ would come and all of the promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” in Him.
May our lives reflect that trustworthiness and that consistency and that integrity. We say what we will do, we do what we will say and, by God’s grace, we are never mean when we say or do what we say.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin. Jessica is editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.