Donald Trump: 10 Most Significant Achievements
With no prior government or military experience, Donald J. Trump stunned the world and critics when he defeated former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election.
In the four years that he stayed in power, the Trump administration typically pursued trade protectionism, a plethora of deregulation exercises, and individual and corporate tax reforms. These policies in so many ways caused the federal budget deficit to balloon. For those on the left and critics of the president, Trump’s political and economic initiatives (i.e. America First) were too anti-global in nature. However, the upside of those policies (conservative legislation and ideals) resulted in remarkable economic growth and close to full employment in the U.S.
World History Edu takes a look at the 10 most significant achievements of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States.
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
In December 2017, President Trump passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Owing to the act, the United States is expected to cut about 1.5 trillion in taxes over the next 10 years. That is about 150 billion every year – the fourth largest since 1940. As a percentage of GDP, those tax cuts come in seventh in U.S. history.
However, those tax cuts contributed to the worsening of the U.S. budget deficit. For example, the US had a budget deficit of $779 billion and $984 billion in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The deficit from 2019 translates into about 4.6% of the 2019 GDP of the United States.
Regardless of those deficit issues, the U.S. continue accrue immense economic advantages from those tax cuts. Most notable of those benefits came in the form of jobs. Interestingly, the stock markets responded very positively during the Trump regime. In his tenure, the U.S. stock market (S&P 500) witnessed about 45% growth.
Achievements in terms of job creation
According to the White House, the United States of America created several millions of jobs in time that Trump was president. Many of those jobs were in the manufacturing sector, which saw about about 400,000 manufacturing jobs in the period that Donald Trump was in the White House.
Largely buoyed on by the economic stimulus package from the Obama era in 2009, the Trump’s administration supervised successive years of stellar job growth figures. Critics of the president say that these figures came on the backdrop of Trump’s excessive economic nationalism and anti-globalization policies.
Regardless of what side of the political aisle one is, it is an undeniable fact that the Trump presidency witnessed growth in wages for several months in a row. Likewise, the median household income steadily increased.
In 2019, unemployment in the US stood at a 49-year low. Similarly, there were very remarkable reductions in unemployment rates among women, the youth, veterans, high school diploma holders, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. Since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, about 6.7 million jobs have been created in the nonfarm sectors.
Visit this link to read up-to-date data (from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) about the employment situation in the United States.
Renegotiated several trade deals
Upon entering office, Donald Trump immediately set course to scrap off all deals that he considered exploitative and damaging to America’s economy.
His administration tried its hardest to steer away from multilateral trade agreements; and Trump favored dealing one-on-one with countries. He believed that multilateral trade deals create a situation where parties in the deal can go rogue and thereby exploit the other party. It is for this reason why he renegotiated several trade deals with both allies and foes of America.
Many of those renegotiations allowed benefits to trickle down to the average American workers. For example, Trump pulled the US out of 1994 NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) – a trade and economic corporation deal that eliminated trade barriers among the signers for 15 years. Trump pulled out of NAFTA because he reasoned that it subjected the US to a foreign trade tribunal. In place of NAFTA, Trump secured the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which was given consent by the House in December 2019.
Trump also exited TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), which was signed by 11 countries. He signed the Buy-American, hire-American executive order on April 18, 2017. The order restricted the H-1B visa by giving preference to American workers. It also promoted the use of American-made goods in federal projects.
Click on this link to read a succinct guide to the NAFTA deal.
Reduction in Food Stamps
A year into Trump’s tenure in office, food stamps usage in America fell by 1.3 million. In February 2018, the food stamps used in America was less than 20 million. Trump also cracked down on nefarious activities in the food stamp market, bringing down the number of fraud incidences. It was estimated that Trump’s successes in bringing down food stamps usage saved the American public more than $8 billion in the Fiscal Year of 2018.
Increased American Exports
The Trump administration opened several avenues for American goods and services to be exported abroad. He famously secured a deal with Beijing for American beef and rice to be exported to China. Likewise, several European markets opened their doors for American products and services.
In Ukraine for example, the Trump Administration was able to secure a deal that allowed America to export coal to the country. This was very crucial because it reduced Kiev’s over reliance on energy from Russia.
In dealing with China, Trump halted China from illegally dumping aluminum foil into the US. The China-US trade war that stemmed from what Donald Trump called decades of economic exploitation and abuse from China. Trump forced Beijing to come to the negotiation table by expertly imposing a series of economic tariffs on China.
During his presidency, his administration nipped in the bud Beijing’s alleged crimes in currency manipulations (a technique which makes its exports relatively cheap), intellectual property theft and piracy. In the nutshell, he promoted equitable and fair trade deals with a host of countries like South Korea, Japan, and other Middle East countries.
Between 2017 and 2019, Trump appointed about 50 federal appeals court judges. He also got two of his nominations for the Supreme Court confirmed. The first was Neil Gorsuch in 2017, and the second was Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Gorsuch’s confirmation by the Senate came in Trump’s first 100 days in office.
The president was criticized for appointing mainly conservative jurists, that is, judges that are more inclined to tow an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. Regardless, it is still quite an impressive feat to get 50 federal appeal court judges confirmed in a single term.
Neutralized Several Terrorist Organizations and Leaders
At the start of his presidency, Trump joined forces with allies in the Middle East to eliminate the threat of ISIS. The territories that the radical Islamic Caliphate used to occupy significantly shrank due to bold efforts taken by the Trump administration. By so doing, the U.S. and its allies were able to end years of bloodshed and human rights abuses that were carried out by the caliphate in Syria and surrounding countries.
To cap it all off, Trump gave the directive for a surgical strike to be carried out against Abu Bakr al-Baghadi – leader of ISIS. Al-Baghadi and a number of his lieutenants were neutralized in October 2019. From then onward, the threat that ISIS posed to the region, and for that matter to the US, significantly reduced.
In 2019, Trump did however come on the receiving end of a barrage of criticisms after he pulled out American troops from the area, leaving the Syrian Kurds to fend for themselves. Those Kurds were the very people that supported America’s coalition forces in immobilizing and dismantling ISIS. To many people around the world, this felt like a stab in the backs of the Kurds.
Trump retorted by saying that the stability and safety of the region should be met by regional powers. His America First Policies were interested in very minimal political and military intervention beyond the shores of America. Rather than acting as the world’s police force, Trump believed that those resources were better spent in improving the lives of the average Americans.
Helped guarantee America’s energy future
Another remarkable achievement of Donald Trump was that he accelerated the swift implementation of programs that cemented America’s dominance in the coal, oil and natural gas markets.
As of 2017, the top 5 natural gas producers in the world were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, China and Iran. In 2017, the US produced 20,000,000 barrels a day, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 12,000,000 barrels a day. His administration made the US a net exporter of natural gas.
It may have come at the expense of the world’s climate, but those production figures helped boost the manufacturing sector in America.
The U.S. maintained its top spot as the world’s largest producer of crude oil. It surpassed* Russia and Saudi Arabia. By so doing, Trump’s initiatives, as controversial (i.e. being disastrous to the environment) as they were, helped guarantee America’s energy for the foreseeable future. His admirers touted those energy policies as crucial in securing America’s prosperity and security.
*Other reports state that the U.S. has been at the top since 2012.
Increased spending on the military
In 2017, Trump’s spending on the military increased by $21 billion. He focused on U.S. national security in the cyber and tech world. His administration rolled out a new national cyber strategy. Those policies in a way increased transparency and accountability at the Department of Defense (DOD).
Under the Trump administration, the first-ever department-wide audit of the Pentagon was conducted. The audit was backed by an executive order signed by Trump on March 13, 2017. The goal was to bring waste to the barest minimum and to improve the DOD’s services.
In addition to the overall increased spending on the military, Trump made sure that troop salaries were well provided for. Military pay increased by 3.1%. He also bolstered America’s defense systems. As a result, US troops and equipment are better poised to deploy quicker or to face off America’s enemy in a swift and effective manner.
Additionally, Trump called on NATO allies to put their monies where their mouths were and pay their fair share for their collective defense against threats that may stem from Russia. The allies responded by spending more on their collective defense – $69 billion dollars more.
The US Space force
On December 20, 2019, the US Space Force came to being. It was incorporated as the sixth arm of the United States Armed Forces. It supersedes the Air Force’s Space Program Command (AFSPC).
It may sound futuristic; however, the initiative is a very bold and laudable idea. It is inevitable that humanity in the near future will begin to soar into space and colonize near-by worlds in our solar system. It is for this reason why Trump decided to set up a body that could effectively keep things orderly and civilized in space.
His administration believed that it is absolutely crucial that America has the appropriate security measure to thwart efforts from persons or countries that would like to harm America’s interests in space.
For more about Donald Trump’s life, see Donald Trump’s Early Life Story
Donald Trump’s Accomplishments in terms of executive orders and legislation
In the first few months of Trump’s presidency, the administration worked tirelessly to undo the previous administration’s legacy. For conservative Americans, this came as good news, watching the president introduce a plethora of conservative legislation. Since Harry Truman, no other U.S. president has signed more legislation and executive orders than Donald Trump.
Let’s take a look at his list of legislative accomplishments during his stay at the White House.
On June 2, 2017, Donald Trump signed bills that assisted law enforcement and veterans. Some of those bills allowed for quicker processing of benefits to families of fallen police officers.
On December 22, 2017, Trump signed the ObamaCare Individual mandate. Trump’s goal was to make the healthcare market freer. However, on December 20, 2019, he came under sharp criticism for repealing three ObamaCare taxes.
Trump signed the Right-To-Try legislation in 2017. The legislation allowed for patients to explore experimental treatments that have not necessarily been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The First Step Act signed by Trump on December 21, 2018 was aimed at reducing the mandatory minimum sentences given to people for certain crimes.
In the month of February, 2017, Donald Trump signed H.J. Res. 41 and H.J.Res. 38. Those laws removed a host of regulations in the oil, gas, and mining industries enacted by the previous administration.
ALSO READ: 12 Most Renowned U.S. Presidents
Questions and Answers
Where and when was Donald Trump born?
Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York City.
Who were Donald Trump’s parents?
He was born to Frederick C. Trump, a real estate developer, and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.
Where did Donald Trump receive his education?
Donald Trump attended the New York Military Academy and later graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with a degree in economics.
How did Donald Trump start his career in business?
Donald Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company, the Trump Organization, where he initially focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
When and how did Trump venture into Manhattan real estate?
In the 1970s, Trump entered the Manhattan real estate market with the acquisition and renovation of the Commodore Hotel and the construction of Trump Tower in the early 1980s.
What were some of Trump’s most notable real estate ventures in the 1980s?
Aside from Trump Tower, his ventures included Trump Plaza, the renovation of Wollman Rink in Central Park, and the acquisition of the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.
Did Donald Trump venture into businesses outside of real estate?
Yes, over the years, Trump diversified into various other ventures including casinos (like the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City), airlines (Trump Shuttle), and the reality TV show “The Apprentice.”
Were all of Trump’s business ventures successful?
No, like many entrepreneurs, Trump faced failures alongside successes. Some of his businesses, especially casinos in Atlantic City, declared bankruptcy. However, he also had many successful ventures that solidified his brand.
What books has Donald Trump authored about his business experiences?
Trump co-authored several books, with “The Art of the Deal” (1987) being the most famous, where he detailed his experiences in business.
How did Donald Trump’s early business ventures shape his public image?
Trump’s early ventures, especially in Manhattan, established him as a prominent figure in the real estate world. His knack for branding, media manipulation, and his larger-than-life personality made him a well-known public figure long before his entry into politics.
Has Trump always been involved in politics?
While Trump has shared political opinions over the decades and even explored running for president in the early 2000s, he didn’t fully immerse himself in politics until his successful presidential campaign in 2016.
What impact did “The Apprentice” have on Trump’s public image?
“The Apprentice,” which aired from 2004 to 2015, significantly boosted Trump’s public profile. The show, where contestants vied for a chance to work under Trump, popularized the catchphrase “You’re fired!” and established him as a shrewd and decisive business magnate.
What values or strategies from his business ventures did Trump bring into his political career?
Trump often touted his business acumen as evidence of his ability to run the country effectively. He emphasized deal-making, direct communication (often through social media platforms like Twitter (now called X), and a distrust of traditional political and media institutions, echoing his past confrontations with competitors, the press, and regulators in his business career.
Quick Facts about Donald Trump
Birth day and place: June 14, 1946, Queens, New York City
Parents: Fred Trump and Mary Anne MacLeod
Spouse: Ivana Zelnickova (1977-1992), Marla Maples (1993-1999), Melania Knauss (2005- )
Children: Donald Jr., Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Barron
Education: Wharton School
Political party: Republican (1987 – 1999, 2009-2011, 2012-present); Reform Party (1999); Democratic Party (1987, 2001-2009)
Profession: businessman, television personality, and politician
Most Famous For: 45th President of the United States (2017-2021); Real estate mogul; The Apprentice
Nicknames: Mr Trump; Your Favorite President; The Chosen One
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