President Donald J. Trump’s first year in office has been met with unprecedented resistance from critics in and out of government, but supporters have rallied around this unique commander-in-chief as he made some of his biggest accomplishments in foreign and domestic policies.
Many of his successes during the year came about through executive actions or presidential decisions that have rolled back previous regulations or strengthened U.S. positions abroad.
However, Trump has also seen victories through the legislative process, particularly with judicial appointments, aid to veterans, and a triumphant conclusion on the matter of tax reform.
He has come through on some campaign promises while continuing to stand firm on others despite legal and political challenges. Although his opposition challenged him at every turn, Trump’s persistence provided him with enduring victories as the year went on.
Here are 12 of Trump’s biggest accomplishments in 2017:
1. Rebounding economy — By the end of 2017, the economy is soaring with more than 3 percent growth from July through September, the highest quarterly performance in three years, according to Fox News. The 4.1-percent unemployment rate is the lowest in 17 years, the stock market has hit record highs more than 60 times during the year, and Trump has promised continued growth in business and jobs with the passage of the tax bill.
2. Victory against ISIS — After the terrorist organization took over major parts of Iraq, Trump delivered on his promise to defeat ISIS. The fall of the ISIS caliphate was announced in December by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who declared victory by Iraqi military forces and an American-led coalition.
3. Appointment of conservative judges — Trump set a record for the most confirmed appellate judges in a president’s first year, ABC News reported. By December, Trump had 19 federal judges confirmed, including 12 circuit judges, six district court judges, and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who replaced the late Antonin Scalia.
4. Huge tax cuts — Trump called the tax reform package passed by the Senate and House a Christmas gift for middle America as he signed it into law, beating his year-end forecast. The tax bill provides the most sweeping tax changes in three decades, lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent with the aim of stimulating long-term growth and the creation of jobs.
5. Repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate — The tax bill also included a provision repealing a mandate that forced Americans to pay a penalty for not getting health insurance. Many people chose to pay the fine rather than the costs of high premiums and deductibles under the Affordable Care Act. Trump said the move will eventually end Obamacare, which depended on the mandate to keep working.
6. Slashing federal regulations — Many business leaders complained of strangling Obama-era regulations that slowed the economy. Trump got rid of many burdensome regulations under the Environmental Protection Agency, the Education Department, and Health and Human Services. The Federal Communications Commission reversed net neutrality, which opened the way for entrepreneurs to compete on the internet with colossal corporations with less government oversight. Trump also reversed Obama’s blocking of the Keystone Pipeline.
7. Travel ban — Trump’s controversial ban faced legal challenges by lower courts before receiving approval from the Supreme Court to go ahead with a third version of the plan while the challenges continue, The New York Times reported. Trump issued the ban for national security reasons and to protect American jobs. The ban restricts travel for people in predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Chad, and Somalia — as well as for people in North Korea and Venezuela.
8. Border control — The strengthening of border patrol policies has put a significant dent in the number of border crossings from Mexico. A Customs and Border Protections report revealed a drop in the arrest of unauthorized people by nearly 20 percent from the year before, The Atlantic reported. Trump still promises construction of a border wall.
9. Support for veterans — Backlogs at medical facilities for vets were alleviated through the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, notes Thomas Binion in Fortune. Vets will find more efficient service with claims processed quicker. Other legislative actions signed by Trump help veterans with education benefits and improved healthcare.
10. Recognizing Jerusalem — Trump announced the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which would include eventually moving its embassy to the holy city. After more than 120 countries of the United Nations criticized the move, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced massive cuts in contributions to the UN. Trump and Haley had threatened to eliminate funding for any country voting in favor of a resolution for the U.S. to reverse its Jerusalem decision, Newsweek reported.
11. Exiting the Paris climate agreement — The deal could hurt the American economy and jobs, Trump said after announcing the withdrawal in June. The agreement put restrictions on the U.S. with the goal of lowering global temperatures in a reaction to climate change. Trump later said the U.S. was willing to re-negotiate a more favorable agreement.
12. Leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership — The TPP, a trade deal with Asia, was a “potential disaster for our country,” Trump said, harming American workers and manufacturing. President Obama had negotiated the deal, but it was never ratified by Congress, CNN reported. Trump withdrew via an executive order last January.
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