Trump’s persona may be difficult to take, but his policies on many issues are a welcome change from the decisions rendered by the Obama administration. It is not even a close call.
Take personnel. Trump’s appointees are evidence of his commitment to the pro-life cause and religious liberty. His selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch to take the place of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court was brilliant. He also appointed a surprisingly large number of highly qualified persons to the federal bench.
Trump issued an executive order on religious liberty that, while lacking teeth, gave direction to his cabinet on how to proceed. That point was missed by some of his most serious critics.
Just recently, as a result of the work done last year, the Department of Health and Human Services launched a new entity, the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, one that will enforce “laws and regulations that protect conscience and prohibit coercion on issues such as abortion and assisted suicide” in HHS-funded or conducted programs.
Trump also took on Planned Parenthood, signing a bill that allows the states to strip the abortion clinic of funding. In doing so he created the “Trump Effect”: many states quickly embarked on similar measures.
During Obama’s two terms, nothing angered practicing Catholics more than his Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate. It was designed to force Catholic non-profit organizations to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization. Trump undercut the HHS mandate by providing an exemption to religious organizations; it was a big win for religious liberty, albeit it is still tied up in the courts.
Trump scored not only on pro-life and religious liberty matters, his economic policies and deregulation efforts are what led to the startling turnaround. To take one index, the stock market, the surge has helped everyone from individual investors to the pension funds in cities and states across the nation. The change has been dramatic.
ISIS, long on the offensive, is now on the run. The word is out, and nations from Iran to North Korea have gotten the message: this president will not apologize for America—he will defend it, and he will do so with vigor.
The issue of immigration remains a problem, a condition that is the product of both Republicans and Democrats. But it is unlikely that nothing will be done about it, even if neither party will be satisfied with the outcome.
If the president merits high marks on policy, he deserves low marks on the way he conducts himself. He has hurt himself many times by seeking to win every battle with his adversaries, never distinguishing between junior-league players and serious critics.
Overall, President Trump has gotten off to a great start. If he can temper his emotions and stick to policy decisions, he will only get better.
One more thing: never in American history has any president been subjected to such a relentless campaign of hate, malice, and lies. To say that President Trump’s most voracious critics are pathologically obsessed with his destruction does not exaggerate. They are a disgrace to the nation.