Trump claimed he would be the “greatest” on the economy. In his first year, he mostly succeeded. The economy is strong, unemployment is at 4.1%, GDP increased 3%, and the Stock Market hit all-time highs (Dow Jones +25% in 2017, S&P +19%, Nasdaq +28%). Additionally, Trump signed the GOP tax bill into law significantly cutting the corporate tax rate. It is yet to be determined whether this move boosts the economy even further. Grade A.
Trump vowed to immediately repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In his first year in office, he has been unable to achieve this goal as Congress failed repeatedly to come up with a replacement. However, the tax bill did include a repeal of the individual mandate causing a significant blow to ACA. Grade F.
Trump claimed he would build a wall along the Southern U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it, as well as reduce illegal immigration. Although Congress has refused to allocate money for the wall, and Mexico has vowed to never pay for it, illegal immigration was dramatically reduced in 2017. Indeed, arrests along the Southwest border fell by nearly 24%, and the number of deportations fell 6%. In sum, illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border is at its lowest point in 17 years. Grade B.
During the campaign, Trump vowed to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), re-negotiate NAFTA, and confront China over its currency manipulations. In his first year, Trump withdrew from TPP, and began negotiations with NAFTA partners. However, these negotiations stalled, and Trump largely refused to deal with China. In addition, Trump failed to conclude any significant trade deals. Grade D.
During the campaign, Trump promised Republicans he would nominate a conservative judge to the Supreme Court. Trump fulfilled his promise by appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, arguably the most conservative judge currently on the Court. Additionally, Trump has appointed more federal appeals judges in his first year than any other President. Grade A.
Trump’s first year as Commander-in-Chief has had mixed results. Trump granted the military more freedom in its use of airstrikes causing ISIS to lose most of its territory in Iraq and Syria (which led to a rise in civilian deaths the region). Unfortunately, Trump seemed uninterested in human rights, and failed to promote American ideals around the world. This has led to a leadership vacuum to Russia and China’s benefit. Additionally, Trump criticized his closest allies (Canada, Great Britain, Germany), and caused turmoil in the Middle East by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. If that was not enough, tensions with North Korea have increased as Kim Jong Un is closer than ever to building a nuclear ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Grade D.
Trump’s first year in office was unprecedented and disruptive. Although he followed through with many of his promises, he failed to accomplish his two major campaign promises: to repeal the Affordable Care Act and build a wall along the Southern border. His war with the press and the frequency of his lies hurt his credibility with world leaders. He seems uninterested in showing any sign of bipartisanship, and therefore failed to unite the country. Despite his un-presidential behavior, the economy is healthy, ISIS territories vanished, and no major world incidents occurred on his watch. Grade C+.