When Donald Trump announced that he was running for President in June of 2015, I was initially very skeptical.
How could a billionaire reality television star with no political experience get elected leader of the free world?
And as a Mexican American, I grew frustrated with Trump’s speech during his campaign announcement about Mexico sending bad people into the U.S. "They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."
Like us, Mexico has an immigration problem on their southern border, but the people crossing into the U.S. from Mexico aren’t Mexicans. They are Central Americans.
I also grew frustrated with the rhetoric from many; positions declaring we needed to build a (border) wall to keep Mexican’s out.
Thus, during the early days of the 2015 presidential primary, I traveled with former President of Mexico Vicente Fox during his U.S. media tour; during that time we ran a counter-narrative highlighting the strong partnership between our two countries.
It was also during that tour when President Fox famously said that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for that (insert expletive) wall.
And wow, did that make the headlines.
Privately, I was hoping to help broker a historic meeting between candidate Trump and Fox, believing that such a meeting would be helpful for everyone. And to my surprise, Trump’s team reached out to me with an offer for the two men to meet for lunch at Trump Tower in New York.
Unfortunately, the meeting never took place. But I was impressed by the offer, nonetheless.
I was also impressed with the momentum Trump was gaining, his solid standing at the top of every poll and the tens of thousands of people who would attend his rallies. More than a presidential campaign, this was a movement and a historical moment in politics.
When Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, he had my full support.
Although I didn’t agree with everything he said, I did agree with his politics.
It’s true, we were being taken advantage of by other countries like China; we were fighting endless wars in Afghanistan and the Mideast; and we were destroying our own working communities by shipping American jobs overseas.
As a staffer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, I deployed to Baghdad, Iraq 14 times as a civilian between 2007-2010.
I saw firsthand the ugliness of war with no end in sight in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
I also saw firsthand the destruction of outsourcing jobs overseas and its impact on people and communities. Take, for example, the small town of Galesburg, Illinois.
Appliance manufacturer Maytag once had a factory; it closed, moving operations to Mexico in 2004. With this action, 1,600 people lost their jobs.
Seventeen years later, and the community is still hurting.
Yet, they are not alone — sadly, there are many more out there.
As our naton's 45th commander in chief, Mr. Trump has realigned politics in America.
The Republican Party is no longer the party of old white men.
Under Trump, our base has expanded to include Blacks, Latinos just like me and blue-collar workers like my father.
Over the last four years, the facts and historical legislative accomplishments speak for themselves. Promises made, promises kept.
Under President Trump and his America First policies, he reshaped the tax code, allowing Americans to keep more of their money, creating new economic growth.
President Trump also replaced the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which created fairer trade policies for America and created more jobs for American workers.
President Trump reshaped the judiciary, appointing three associate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and he’s appointed nearly 200 judges to the federal bench.
President Trump reversed racist, tough on crime policies put forward by Democrats when he signed the First Step Act — historic legislation bringing much-needed reforms that address a broken and racist criminal justice system in America.
President Trump eased tensions with North Korea, avoiding a conflict that could have included nuclear and ballistic missiles aimed at America or American allies abroad.
President Trump defeated the ISIS caliphate. He ordered raids successfully taking out the worlds most wanted terrorists: Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
And now the U.S. and the world are safer because of it.
President Trump also created Space Force, a new branch of the Armed Forces to protect military assets in space that are critical to our national security and the safety of Americans at home and our allies globally.
President Trump achieved historic peace accords between Israel and the Arab states, and he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
And during the pandemic, President Trump saved potentially millions of lives thanks to Operation Warp Speed, which accelerated "testing, supply, development, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to counter COVID-19 by January 2021."
Although President Trump departs the White House on this coming Jan. 20, his impressive list of legislative accomplishments will far outlast his presidency.
They will be his legacy where there are no terms or term limits.
Make America Great Again (MAGA) was more than a campaign slogan.
To President Trump, it was a call to action. And we’re all better off because of it.
Mark Vargas is a trusted adviser and close confidant to some of the highest profile political and business leaders in America. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Vargas served as a civilian within the Office of the Secretary of Defense on a special Iraq task force. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal. His civilian service included 14 trips to Baghdad. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markavargas. Read Mark Vargas's Reports — Click Here Now.
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