CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: Countdown: Top stories of 2018
by WorldTribune Staff, December 31, 2018
President Donald Trump this week released a list of more than 200 accomplishments during his nearly two years in office.
Although the “mainstream” corporate media ignored the list, the president has other ways of getting the word out and those channels are undercutting once credible media channels of information.
Indeed, Trump “understands branding and he understands messaging better than anyone,” said pollster John McLaughlin.
Noting that Republican presidents win on two issues, peace and prosperity, McLaughlin said that if Trump sticks to those key issues, and his approval rating hits around 51 percent, like former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush did before their re-elections, he “will win” in 2020.
“Together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America,” said Trump in his new list of “historic results,” provided by Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard.
The Trump Results List:
IGNITING A HISTORIC ECONOMIC BOOM: President Trump’s pro-growth policies are unleashing economic growth and providing opportunities to workers across the country.
- Due to President Trump’s pro-growth policies, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3 percent over the last four quarters.
- Real GDP grew at annual rates of 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018 and 4.2 percent in the second quarter.
- More than 4.6 million jobs have been created since President Trump’s election and the unemployment rate remains at 3.7 percent, the lowest rate in nearly 50 years.
- This is the seventh time this year that the unemployment rate has been below 4.0 percent.
- Prior to this year, the unemployment rate had fallen below 4 percent only five times since 1970.
- Eighteen States recently reached record-low unemployment rates.
- The unemployment rate for African Americans in November fell to 5.9 percent, which is the lowest rate on record.
- Asian and Hispanic-American unemployment rates reached record lows in May and October of this year, respectively.
- Initial weekly jobless claims have hit a nearly 50-year low under President Trump.
- Americans are seeing more money in their pockets thanks to the booming economy. In October and November of 2018, workers saw their largest nominal year over year wage growth in nearly a decade.
- In 2017, real median household income rose to a post-recession high.
- President Trump’s policies are helping to lift Americans out of poverty. African-American and Hispanic-American poverty rates reached record lows of 21.2 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively, in 2017.
Since the election, 4.6 million Americans have been lifted off of food stamps.
- Consumer confidence has soared under President Trump, recently reaching an 18-year high.
MANUFACTURING AND BUSINESSES ARE THRIVING: President Trump is delivering on his promise to bring back American manufacturing.
- The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Index had the highest annual average in its history over the past year.
- 468,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since President Trump’s election.
- Small Business optimism jumped to a record high under President Trump, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index broke a 35-year record in August.
- President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, ushering in the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. These tax cuts are delivering real results for American families and workers.
More than 6 million workers received tax cut bonuses and benefits.
- More than 100 utility companies have announced lower rates.
- President Trump is ensuring American workers receive the training and education they need to compete in today’s economy. More than 185 companies and associations have signed our “Pledge to America’s Workers,” promising more than 6.4 million training opportunities. The president signed legislation that reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, making more than $1 billion available for career education programs.
- President Trump has prioritized the economic empowerment of women. The women’s unemployment rate recently reached its lowest rate in 65 years. The Small Business Administration lent approximately $500 million more in capital to women-owned businesses in 2017 compared to 2016. The administration helped launch the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which could leverage more than $1 billion to support women entrepreneurs.
ROLLING BACK RED TAPE: President Trump is rolling back costly regulations that have burdened hard-working Americans and stifled innovation.
- President Trump has followed through on and exceeded his promise to roll back two regulations for every new one created. President Trump’s administration surpassed the 2:1 ratio in 2018, eliminating 12 regulations for every new one in 2018.
- In 2017, the Trump administration eliminated 22 regulations for every new one.
- Since taking office, President Trump’s deregulation efforts have achieved $33 billion in regulatory savings. In 2018, these efforts alone delivered $23 billion in benefits to American families and business owners.
- President Trump has signed 16 Congressional Review Act resolutions into law, eliminating burdensome Obama-era rules and regulations.
- President Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, which would have harmed America’s economy and cost American workers millions of jobs.
- President Trump signed an executive order to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects with a goal of cutting approval time from up to 10 years to an average of 2 years.
- President Trump signed legislation to roll back burdensome Dodd-Frank regulations that harmed community banks.
NEGOTIATING BETTER DEALS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: President Trump is negotiating fair and balanced trade deals that protect American industries and workers.
- President Trump negotiated a new trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico to replace the disastrous and outdated North American Free Trade Agreement. Once enacted by Congress, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.
- USMCA will incentivize billions of dollars in auto and auto parts production in the United States and create a freer and fairer market for American agriculture.
- USMCA also includes the strongest-ever provisions on labor, environmental, digital, and intellectual property protections to reflect the realities of the 21st century economy.
- The President renegotiated the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement to preserve and grow jobs in the American auto industry and increase American exports.
- The United States and Japan are set to begin negotiations on a United States–Japan Trade Agreement.
- President Trump is establishing a new trade relationship with the European Union (EU), working toward the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade.
- President Trump has established a Trade and Investment Working Group to lay the groundwork for post-Brexit trade with the United Kingdom (UK) and has notified Congress of his intent to negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK.
- This year, President Trump filed a withdrawal notification with the Universal Postal Union, launching a one-year negotiation to secure fair international postal rates for American mailers.
- President Trump has expanded market access for American agricultural producers.
- Argentina has opened to American pork and beef, Brazil to American beef, Japan to lamb and Idaho chipping potatoes, South Korea to American poultry, and more.
- The administration authorized $12 billion to aid farmers affected by unfair retaliatory tariffs.
- The Trump Administration has begun the process to expand the sale of E15, or gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, to year round.
- One of the president’s first actions after taking office was withdrawing the United States from the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership, which incentivized outsourcing.
- In 2017, the administration oversaw 82 anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.
- President Trump is holding China accountable for its unfair trade practices, such as the theft of intellectual property, by imposing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Following President Trump’s successful meeting with President Xi in Buenos Aires, both agreed to conduct negotiations over 90 days to address the United States concerns.
- American steel and aluminum jobs are coming back following President Trump’s tariffs to protect domestic industries that are vital to national security.
- President Trump imposed tariffs to protect American-made washing machines and solar products that were hurt by import surges.
UNLEASHING AMERICAN ENERGY: President Trump is rolling back costly and burdensome regulations to unleash America’s incredible energy resources. After years of stifling regulation under the last administration, President Trump is unleashing America’s energy potential.
- America is the largest crude oil producer in the world and production has hit a record high.
- The administration has streamlined Liquefied Natural Gas terminal permitting.
- In 2017, the United States became a net natural gas exporter for the first time in 60 years.
- American coal exports increased by more than 60 percent in 2017.
- President Trump is expanding access to our country’s abundant natural resources. The president signed legislation to open up energy exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
- In July 2018, the Department of the Interior announced it would hold the largest oil and gas lease sale in history.
- In 2017, the Administration approved construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and the cross border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
- The administration issued permits for the New Burgos Pipeline that will export American petroleum products to Mexico.
- The president has ended the war on coal, cutting Obama-era regulations such as the “Stream Protection Rule” which was estimated to cost industries $81 million a year.
- President Trump is replacing the Clean Power Plan, a flawed Obama-era regulation that the Supreme Court ordered halted.
- President Trump rescinded the hydraulic fracturing rule, which was expected to cost the oil and gas industry $32 million per year.
- The Trump administration curbed the burdensome Obama-era rule on methane, saving American energy developers hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory costs.
EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE: President Trump is expanding access to affordable healthcare choices and taking action to lower drug prices. President Trump’s administration is working to provide Americans with affordable alternatives to Obamacare.
- The Administration expanded short-term, limited duration health insurance plans that are expected to be nearly 50 percent cheaper than unsubsidized Obamacare plans.
- President Trump has expanded association health plans, allowing more employers to join together across State lines and affordably offer coverage to their employees.
- The administration proposed a reform to Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) regulations that will give consumers more freedom to purchase benefits that fit their needs.
- Roughly 800,000 employers are expected to provide HRAs for more than 10 million employees once the rule finalized.
- Americans have more healthcare freedom thanks to the president signing legislation that ended Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty. While healthcare premiums had been steadily increasing as a result of Obamacare, the average benchmark exchange premium will decline for the first time thanks to President Trump’s policies in 2019.
Next year, Americans will benefit from more insurer participation on the exchanges.
- Medicare Advantage plans offer more benefit options than ever before, and average premiums in 2019 will be 6 percent lower than in 2018.
- President Trump launched an unprecedented campaign to drive down drug prices, leading more than a dozen drug manufacturers to enact price freezes, reductions, or rollbacks.
- In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a record number of generic drugs, breaking the previous record set by the Administration in 2017.
- The FDA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 generic drug approvals are expected to bring nearly $9 billion in savings in 2017 alone.
- President Trump signed legislation eliminating contractual gag clauses that stopped pharmacists from informing patients about lower drug prices.
- The president put forth an initiative to stop global freeloading that drives up prices for American patients.
- The Administration provided Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans with new negotiating tools to drive down drug costs for American patients.
- The administration implemented reforms to the amount Medicare pays hospitals for drugs that are purchased under the 340B program, saving seniors $320 million in 2018.
- President Trump signed “Right to Try” legislation to expand access to experimental treatments for terminally ill patients.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE CRISIS NEXT DOOR: President Trump mobilized his entire administration to combat the opioid crisis that has devastated communities across the country.
- President Trump launched an Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, introducing new measures to confront the driving forces behind this crisis.
- The president signed the landmark SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the largest and most comprehensive legislative package addressing a single drug crisis in history.
- The president helped secure a record $6 billion in funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
- The administration provided more than $2 billion in grants in 2018 to help States, territories, tribes, and local communities prevent and treat opioid abuse.
- The administration pursued scientific solutions to prevent and treat addiction through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative.
- The president launched a national public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction and youth opioid usage.
- Last year, President Trump created a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which recommends ways to tackle the opioid crisis.
- The administration declared the opioid crisis a nationwide Public Health Emergency in 2017. President Trump is working to cut off the flow of deadly opioids into our country and to disrupt the networks that distribute them to our communities.
- The administration secured first-ever indictments against Chinese nationals for fentanyl trafficking.
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a surge to target fentanyl and heroin dealers in the districts with the most severe overdose death rates.
- The DOJ formed a Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement team and shut down the biggest Darknet distributor of drugs.
- Last year, the DOJ announced the largest healthcare fraud takedown in history, arresting more than 120 defendants with opioid-related crimes.
- The president launched a Safer Prescribing Plan that seeks to cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years.
- The administration has led four National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days, collecting a record-breaking 1,837 tons of expired and unneeded prescription drugs.
STANDING UP FOR THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND PROTECTING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: The President is committed to defending the right to life and religious liberty.
- Shortly after taking office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy.
- President Trump defunded a United Nations (UN) agency for colluding with China’s brutal program of forced abortion and sterilization.
- The administration withdrew guidance that constrained States’ ability to exclude family-planning providers that provide abortion services from the Medicaid program.
- The Trump administration proposed new regulations to ensure Title X family planning funding does not go to projects that perform, support, or refer patients for abortion.
- The Trump administration issued regulations establishing new or expanded exemptions from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.
- In 2017, the president issued an executive order to promote free speech and religious liberty.
KEEPING AMERICAN COMMUNITIES SAFE: President Trump has made clear that his first responsibility is to protect the safety and security of Americans.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows violent crime decreased under President Trump’s watch in 2017, following two consecutive years of increases.
- United States Attorneys indicted the most violent criminals on record last year.
- Last year, the DOJ announced nearly $100 million in grant funding to hire hundreds of additional law enforcement officers.
- President Trump is cracking down on the vile MS-13 gang that has brought violence to communities across the country. In 2017, the DOJ worked with international partners to arrest and charge approximately 4,000 MS-13 members. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations arrested nearly 800 MS-13 members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the prior year.
- President Trump signed an executive order to restore State and local law enforcement’s access to surplus equipment that can be used to help keep our communities safe. President Trump enhanced and updated the Project Safe Neighborhoods program. The DOJ announced the creation of the National Public Safety Partnership in 2017, launching a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crime.
- President Trump signed legislation to improve the Federal firearm background check system and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.
ENFORCING OUR LAWS AND SECURING OUR BORDERS: From the first day of his administration, President Trump has worked to uphold the rule of law and secure our borders. President Trump released an immigration framework that would fix our broken immigration system through merit-based reform and provide the resources needed to secure our border.
- Closing the legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, ending chain migration, and eliminating the visa lottery.
- President Trump secured funding to begin building the wall and construction has already begun in areas along the southern border.
- President Trump deployed the military to assist in securing the southern border.
- President Trump and his administration took action to require aliens seeking asylum to go to a port of entry to make their claim.
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended 17,256 criminals and 1,019 gang members in FY 2018. ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 158,581 aliens in FY 2018, an 11 percent increase from FY 2017.90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions, pending charges, or had been issued final orders of removal.
- ICE ERO increased removals by 13 percent in FY 2018 to 256,086, the majority of whom were convicted criminals. Removals of convicted criminal aliens increased by 14 percent from FY 2017.
- Nearly 6,000 known or suspected gang members were removed in FY 2018, a 9 percent increase from FY 2017.
The Department of Justice prosecuted a record number of criminal immigration offenses in FY 2018, and increased the number of prosecutions for illegal entry by 84 percent over FY 2017.
- Immigration courts are now completing more cases than at any point since 2011.
- President Trump kept his promise by launching the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) within the Department of Homeland Security. The Administration has more than doubled the number of jurisdictions participating in the 287(g) program, which enables State and local law enforcement to aid immigration enforcement.
- President Trump has made our country safer by ordering the enhanced vetting of individuals entering from countries that do not meet our security standards. These procedures were upheld in a June 2018 Supreme Court ruling.
REBUILDING AMERICA’S MILITARY FORCE: President Trump is rebuilding our military and defending America’s interests across the world. President Trump ended the devastating defense cuts of the past Administration and has secured historic investments to rebuild our military.
- President Trump signed legislation providing $700 billion for defense in FY 2018 and $716 billion in FY 2019.
- President Trump is supporting America’s men and women in uniform, securing the largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
- The president issued a new National Security Strategy to keep America safe from all threats. The administration has also released new strategies specific to cybersecurity, biodefense, counterterrorism, and weapons of mass destruction terrorism.
- President Trump directed the first whole-of-government assessment of United States manufacturing and defense supply chains since the Eisenhower administration.
- President Trump initiated the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, improving United States deterrence policy and existing capabilities to counter nuclear threats.
- President Trump empowered our military commanders with broad authority in order to take the fight to ISIS, and the results are clear. ISIS has lost nearly all of its territory, more than half of which has been liberated since President Trump took office. All of ISIS’ territory in Iraq was successfully liberated. ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital city Raqqah has been recaptured.
- President Trump announced a new Iran strategy to confront all of Iran’s malign activities and withdrew from the horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal. All sanctions that had been lifted or waived under the Iran deal have been reimposed. The administration has sanctioned more than 160 individuals tied to the regime’s support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, human rights abuses, and more.
- President Trump took decisive military action to respond to the barbaric use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. President Trump directed strikes in response to the regime’s chemical weapons attacks in April 2017 and April 2018. The Trump administration has also rolled out sanctions targeting those tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.
- President Trump is strengthening America’s cyber defense and directed the elevation of the United States Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.
- The president announced that the Department of Defense will work to create a Space Force to serve as an independent branch of the United States military.
RESTORING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ABROAD: President Trump is restoring American leadership on the world stage and advancing an America first agenda.
- President Trump held an historic summit with Chairman Kim Jong-Un, bringing beginnings of peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula. Since the summit, the leaders have exchanged letters and high-level officials from both countries have met. Because of the President’s actions, North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests. The remains of POW/MIA service members from the Korean War are being returned to the United States. Prior to the summit, President Trump’s leadership helped secure the passage of historic UN sanctions on North Korea.
- President Trump followed through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there.
- President Trump withdrew the United States from the UN Human Rights Council due to its bias against Israel.
- The administration made clear that it does not accept the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over Americans and will continue to protect our sovereignty.
- President Trump has successfully advocated for cutting waste at the UN. Changes made to the organization’s structure allowed the UN to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from their budget, while making the organization more efficient.
- The President’s leadership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has encouraged members to increase their defense spending and realign the Alliance’s priorities. In 2017 alone, there was an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending among NATO allies. President Trump convinced the Alliance to strengthen counterterrorism activities, and NATO formally joined the coalition to defeat ISIS.
- President Trump’s administration is working to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific through investments and partnerships.
- President Trump has imposed tough sanctions on the corrupt regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
- President Trump has taken tough action to combat Russia’s malign activities, including Russia’s efforts to undermine United States elections. The administration has imposed sanctions on more than 200 individuals and entities related to Russia’s destabilizing activities.
- The Trump administration has enhanced support for Ukraine’s defense by stepping up sales of weapons to its military.
- The Trump administration has secured the release of numerous American citizens held abroad, including Andrew Brunson from Turkey, Josh Holt from Venezuela, and more.
- President Trump attended G20 summits in Argentina and Germany, where he promoted American First policies and encouraged closer cooperation.
- In 2017, President Trump conducted tours through Asia to promote America’s interests.
HONORING AMERICA’S COMMITMENT TO OUR VETERANS: President Trump is honoring America’s commitment to our veterans by ensuring they receive the quality care they have earned.
- President Trump secured a record $73.1 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide quality medical care for our veterans. This funding included $8.6 billion for mental health services, $400 million for opioid abuse prevention, $206 million for suicide prevention, and more.
- The president signed the VA MISSION Act, revolutionizing that VA healthcare system and reforming numerous services for our veterans. This legislation will consolidate and reform existing programs to give eligible veterans better access to healthcare providers in their communities. Thanks to this legislation, eligible veterans will have access to walk-in community clinics that offer immediate, local care.
- President Trump and his administration have expanded access to telehealth services for veterans, including through the “Anywhere to Anywhere” VA health care initiative.
- President Trump issued an executive order requiring the VA to improve access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for veterans.
- President Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, making it easier to fire failing employees and protect whistleblowers.
- Under President Trump, the VA has removed, demoted, or suspended more than 4,300 employees for poor performance.
- President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, streamlining the process used by veterans when appealing benefits claims.
- President Trump fulfilled his promise to create a new White House VA Hotline to provide veterans with 24/7 support. The VA is providing veterans with online access to wait time and quality of care data.
- The president signed the Forever GI Bill, providing veterans, service members, and their families with enhanced education benefits.
- Last year, programs at the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development helped more than 51,000 veterans find permanent housing and access supportive services.
TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT: President Trump has followed through on his pledge to transform the Federal Government and increase accountability and transparency.
- President Trump’s administration submitted a plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
- In a historic show of transparency and accountability, the Trump Administration completed the Department of Defense’s first ever audit.
- The president implemented a five-year ban on lobbying for White House employees and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign countries.
- Each quarter since taking office, President Trump has donated his salary, fulfilling a promise he made to the American people.
- President Trump is reshaping our Federal judiciary, appointing judges who will follow the Constitution as written. The President has appointed Circuit Court judges at a record pace. President Trump has appointed Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.