By The Daily Caller
Parents and friends spend all year working hard, saving money, thinking of ways to show how much they love, value and care for you through their actions at Christmas. Imagine if after all that thought, work, saving, time and energy there was no gratitude. Looking back over 2018 there have been a lot of gifts, opportunities, blessings, things to be thankful for done by President Donald J. Trump and yet, the media, pundits and polls don’t seem to accurately reflect the level of appreciation for his bold and truly transformative leadership for all of us deserves.
Here are 10 things President Trump accomplished in 2018 for which we can all be thankful.
1. Leading on criminal justice reform and signing the First Step Act
The Trump administration led the way on this bold legislative agenda that stands to change the lives of millions of American families across the country. While there is a lot of praise for the spirit of bipartisanship that went into yet another historic legislative victory for Trump the facts are that it was only done because he trusted Jared Kushner and his team to present something that made sense to his “jobs and justice” agenda that caught on like wildfire.
Trump was the catalyst for change who made it happen. The GOP-controlled Congress stood with him and voted with him, and when it looked like our own Senate majority leader was not going to bring it to the floor for a vote, Trump sent out a tweet pushing the Senate to act. To Leader Mitch McConnell’s credit, he brought it to a vote and it passed. For many in urban communities of color this is life-changing legislation.
2. Singapore Summit and Starting the Stabilization of the Korean Peninsula
There was outright media hysteria question the judgment and tactics of Trump dealing with world leaders. Whether or not we like people like Kim Jung Un he is a leader that has to be dealt with and not ignored. Ignoring the problem and not challenging it head on only makes it greater. Trump understood the situation and trusted his tried and true instinct and it worked. The progress regarding North Korea and the incremental gains in terms of denuclearization, normalizing relations, talks with South Korea, returning remains of the fallen and of course, no new testing of weapons is only because of the leadership of our president.
3. White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council
Doubling Down on his support for Opportunity Zones that stand to be one of the greatest urban development opportunities we have seen in generations, Trump created a new council spearheaded by Secretary Ben Carson, that will improve revitalization efforts by streamlining, coordinating, and targeting existing Federal programs to economically fragile communities areas, including Opportunity Zones. Our economy is booming and despite the standard ebb and flow of Wall Street, Main Street is feeling the positive impacts of the Trump economy. Record low unemployment across the board, record high consumer confidence and more opportunities for companies to grow, invest and hire more workers is part of the “America first” agenda.
4. Putting More National Attention on the Opioid Crisis
There is no doubt the opioid epidemic is real and must be dealt with. Trump declared it a Nationwide Public Health Emergency, raised the international impact of this crisis with the United Nations and worked with China to have declared fentanyl a controlled substance. The money, public awareness, and agreements to fight it is powerful and will lead to a shift in its destruction.
5. Pledge to America’s Workers
The president’s National Council for the American Worker is tasked with coming up with a national strategy for training and retraining the American workforce. To that end, Trump has assembled an impressive list of major companies and trade organization that have pledged to “expand programs that educate, train, and reskill American workers from high-school age to near-retirement.” Thus far that pledge is at well over 6 million new opportunities.
6. Common-sense federal agency rule changes
The Department of Labor has done rule changes that line up with the overall vision of Trump as it relates to how government should work for the American people. The Associated Health Plans allows for millions of small business owners and sole proprietors to form their own groups based on geography or industry to access more affordable health care options previously not available to them. Millions left out from the unaffordable Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare now have choices in the healthcare marketplace thanks to Trump.
7. Promoting a pro-women agenda
Trump has been a strong advocate for women, promoting them to senior posts. That includes his support for or selection of Gina Haspel as CIA director, Shahira Knight as White House legislative affairs director, Heather Nauert as U.N. Ambassador, Mary Elizabeth Taylor as State Department assistant secretary for legislative affairs, and Ronna McDaniel for a second term as RNC chairwoman.
On the policy side, the Trump administration has been a proponent of paid family leave and has included funding support for it in his budget. He supported the effort led by Ivanka Trump to sign the Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 into law, which will improve economic conditions and opportunities for women worldwide.
8. Trade deal with Mexico and Canada
Trump made a career as a successful businessman that had to negotiate both domestically and internationally to get good deals for his company. Now, as president of the United States, he is using those skills to get better deals for every American citizen. After a very successful G20 Summit, Trump delivered a historic trilateral agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA) replacing NAFTA with a fairer, balanced and more modern deal for our country.
9. Honoring President George H. W. Bush
Trump led the nation in mourning, honoring and celebrating the life and legacy of our nation’s 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush. We all know how tough the 2016 GOP primary was and how divisive politics has become but Trump, once again, rose to the occasion and showed us all how to be gracious and kind and honorable. From the utilization of the plane, lowering of the flags, public and private family visits, allowing the Bush family to stay in the Blair House; the list goes on and on. We needed to see that, feel that and experience that as a nation.
10. Standing firm on border security during the government shutdown
No matter what your position is on the continuation of a barrier on the southern border the fact is it illegal immigration is a major problem that Congress has long lacked the political fortitude to deal with in any long-term substantive way. Trump decided to draw a line saying that he was not willing to fund a portion of the government without funding for the wall. That takes both political and personal courage, but it is the right thing to do because the end results, should we complete the wall, will mean more jobs for American citizens, reduced backlog in legal immigration entry, a safer country, fewer drugs, less smuggled human trafficking victims, less criminal aliens and a better way to enforce our existing immigration laws. Walls worked, the work in Israel, your gated communities, around your front and back yards, our schools and even the White House no matter who is in office.
These 10 things don’t even scratch the surface of Trump’s 2018 accomplishments. The list could go on — it could include the administration’s support for historically black colleges and universities, the farm bill and the new Africa strategy. President Trump showed us all that leadership can be lonely and thankless, but these ten things we should all be able to respect and appreciate. So let me be the first of many to say: Thank you.
Paris Dennard (@ParisDennard) is a member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows. He worked previously as director of black outreach in the George W. Bush White House.