by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In a National Review Online column devoted primarily to the elevated level of vitriol aimed at the 45th president, Victor Davis Hanson takes time to reflect on Donald Trump’s presidential actions to date.
The stock market is reaching all-time highs. Polls show business optimism rising. The Rasmussen poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 55 percent.
Compared with Obama in 2009, at the same point in his young administration, Trump has issued about the same number of executive orders. For all his war on the press, Trump has so far not ordered wiretaps on any reporter on the grounds that he is a “criminal co-conspirator,” nor has he gone after the phone records of the Associated Press — Barack Obama’s Justice Department did both, to little notice in the media.
Trump’s edicts are mostly common-sense and non-controversial: green-lighting the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, freezing federal hiring, resuming work on a previously approved wall along the Mexican border, prohibiting retiring federal officials from lobbying activity for five years, and pruning away regulations.
His promises to deport illegal aliens with past records of criminal activity or gang affiliation have, by design, sidestepped so-called dreamers and the illegal aliens who are currently working, without criminal backgrounds, and with some record of lengthy residence.
In his executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from seven war-torn Middle East states, Trump channeled Barack Obama’s prior targeting of immigration trouble spots. At first, Trump’s order was poorly worded and clumsily ushered in; then it was reformulated. It is supported by the public but nonetheless earned a hysterical response from federal judges who seemed to invent new jurisprudence stating that foreign nationals abroad enjoy U.S. constitutional protections.
On more substantive reforms, such as repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, and rebuilding infrastructure, Trump awaits proposed legislation from the Republican congressional majority. By all accounts, Trump’s initial meetings or phone calls with British, Israeli, Japanese, and Russian heads of states have gone well.
Trump has had fewer Cabinet appointees bow out than did Barack Obama. Most believe that the vast majority of his selections are inspired. The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch was a widely praised move.