Editorial: Grading the president on his first year in office

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President Donald Trump joins Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, Louise Gorsuch, and others in prayer in the Green Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., following the President’s announcement of Judge Gorsuch as his nominee to the Supreme Court, Jan. 31, 2017. SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD/The White House

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. In his first year as president he has received mixed reviews. His opposition seems to be able to find ample fault with the nation’s leader by highlighting everything from his “noxious tweets” to his failure to reach across the aisle to win the favor of Democrats.

The truth is that I am not all that thrilled about some of his tweets; but his efforts to court the Democrats would be akin to having a lovefest between Israel and Palestine or a cobra and a mongoose.

The President’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast this week is actually what inspired this editorial.

President Trump said, “Our hearts are strengthened by the power of prayer … Our founders invoked our Creator four times in the Declaration of Independence; our currency declares “In God we trust”; and we put our hands on our hearts when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and declare, “We are one nation under God.”

Then Mr. Trump said, “As the Bible tells us, we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works. American heroes rise to this calling. In their selfless deeds they reveal the beauty and goodness of the human soul.”

Finally, the President stated, ‘As long as we open our eyes to God’s grace and open out hearts to God’s love, then America will forever be the land of the free and the home of the brave and a light to all nations.”

I thought it was an appropriate and a heartfelt speech.

Having used the President’s speech as an impetus for the editorial, let’s take a look at some of the very positive things President Trump has done in his first year in office.

First, I appreciated his selection of Mike Pence, who is a devout Christian, as his running mate, but after the election he started the selection of his staff and cabinet, many of whom are strong Christians. One online Christian publication, Hello Christian, stated, “For many years, we have prayed that God would raise up men and women of God to positions of leadership and influence in our country. Who would have thought that Donald Trump might be the answer to that prayer?”

Second, the President has appointed conservative judges who will preside for decades. For example, Diane Black, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee, praised the President for his selection of Neil Gorsuch to the U. S. Supreme Court.

Black stated, “President Trump has chosen a respected jurist who will uphold both the spirit and the letter of our law. I am especially encouraged by Judge Gorsuch’s opinions in the case of Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius and Little Sisters of the Poor vs. Burwell, which display a clear respect for religious freedom that has been missing in too many corners of Washington over the last eight years.”

Third, the President has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, praised the President for this decision, saying, “[This] is a major milestone in America’s historic relationship with Israel. Under the bold and courageous leadership of President Trump, America is finally putting American interests and the interests of our key allies first.

“America’s foreign policy, as it pertains to Israel, is coming into alignment with this biblical truth: Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state.”

Fourth, the Trump administration has fought for and won several pro-life victories. Those victories include the President reinstating the Mexico City Policy and the passage of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in the House of Representatives, which prevents organizations that perform or promote abortion procedures from receiving government funding, such as Planned Parenthood.

Fifth, under President Trump’s presidency the Islamic State has been virtually dismantled. Timothy Meads, writing for Townhall, states, “Since January [of 2017] ISIS has dwindled from 35,000 members down to 1,000. Perhaps more astonishingly is the decrease in the amount of land that the Islamic extremist group controls. When Trump assumed office, ISIS controlled nearly 17,000 square miles of land. Today they control only 1,900 square miles.”

Sixth, President Trump reversed a radical social experimentation that President Obama initiated at the tail end of his term in office by making a decision to shield our military from one of its most extreme policies – opening up the military to transgendered persons. It was the right decision, because almost no one accepts the idea that a gender continuum can replace the biological concept of sex, especially when military effectiveness is at stake.

Seventh, President Trump signed an executive order designed to allow churches and other religious organizations to become more active politically. The order directs the IRS not to take “adverse action” against churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations participating in political activity that stops short of endorsement of a candidate for office.

There are other things I could mention, including the order ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, reinforcing the sovereignty of our nation, the Tax Reform legislation, creation of more than 2 million jobs, success in bringing companies back to the U.S., developing a strategy of combating opioids, directing the rebuilding of the military to ensure peace through strength, and every effort to make America great again.

The President certainly has not done everything right in the past year, but neither have I. I don’t know who is reading this, but it is within the realm of possibility that you might have make some little, minuscule, unintended, inconsequential error in the past year yourself.

To be honest I think the President is doing his best to appeal to his evangelical base – at least through his policies. He deserves our prayers. The Apostle Paul said that praying for those in authority over us “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”; and that it leads to “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

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