Jay Fletiman: Voting for President Trump without apology

  • Jay Fleitman FILE PHOTO

  • President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks to board Air Force One, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.   AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Published: 10/27/2020 1:55:39 PM

The decision to reelect President Trump is an easy one simply based on the accomplishments of his administration.

I can start with the two major issues of the 2016 presidential election.

The first was that of confronting the ISIS caliphate, which seemed destined to be an expanding malevolent presence in the Middle East. The caliphate has been erased, and ISIS has been reduced to a minor presence during the Trump presidency.

The second major issue was that of illegal immigration, about which we hear very little these days. Trump did get almost 400 miles of his wall built, but what brought this issue under control was Trump’s ability to leverage Mexico into reestablishing the integrity of its southern border. Mexico had allowed and encouraged the use of its territory as a conduit for undocumented immigrants from Central America crossing into the U.S. Recognizing that the U.S. government expected immigrants seeking sanctuary could legitimately find it within Mexico, the Mexican government opted to control its southern border with Central America.

There were numerous economic achievements: pre-COVID, the most robust economic growth in recent memory, as well as record low unemployment, due to a combination of regulatory cuts, with tax cuts for businesses and working Americans. The reduction in corporate income taxes encouraged the repatriation of billions of dollars into the U.S. from American and foreign countries investing domestically.

We’ve achieved energy independence through the use of advanced technologies in fossil fuels as well as solar and wind. The elimination of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and renegotiation into the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) improved the positioning of American workers and companies relative to two of our largest trading partners.

In the sphere of international relations, Trump has been effective. He is the first president to seriously challenge China’s predatory trade and economic policies. He has made it clear to our NATO allies that the U.S. cannot in perpetuity finance on the backs of American taxpayers the defense of the rich nations of Western Europe, without their equal financial and military commitment.

The Trump administration was able to broker landmark peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain, as well as help negotiate a peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo. The Trump administration has earned derision from the left for “coddling” dictators, but to me it seems wise to at least attempt communications and negotiations with adversaries such as North Korea and Russia.

The Trump administration stepped out of the Iran Nuclear Deal because it only postponed the inevitability of an Iranian nuclear weapon and did nothing to temper Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, including the targeting of American troops. The Trump administration’s elimination of super-terrorists Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qassem Soleimani demonstrates a welcome boldness in taking on mortal enemies.

With reference to actually achieving for racial minorities, Trump has a record to run on. He built an economy strong enough to achieve record low unemployment for the African American and Hispanic communities. He and the Republicans passed the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that reduces sentences for minor crimes; 91% of its beneficiaries were Black Americans.

Trump established ongoing federal financing for Black colleges and universities. He and Sen. Tim Scott established enterprise zones for encouraging investment into poor and predominantly Black communities. The Trump administration has been fighting for school choice and charter schools, which would allow low-income parents with children in failing school systems to have some choice in their education.

I think this administration has handled the pandemic well, restricting travel from China and Europe early. When it looked like our health care system would be overwhelmed, Trump got major American businesses to pivot to manufacture ventilators and protective gear as our stockpiles had previously been left depleted. His administration pushed Operation Warp Speed, which seeded money into the development of a vaccine and therapeutics. The results have been the extraordinarily rapid development on both of these fronts.

Trump has been able to achieve these accomplishments while besieged with an onslaught of attempts to undermine his presidency, including the farcical Russia collusion scandal and then the malicious Pelosi faux impeachment, as well as with the ongoing and unmitigated hostility from most of the media outlets that are suffering from the Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I suppose, in order to attain some credibility here, I am supposed to qualify my comments relative to Trump’s style and personality, but I’m not going to. This is a binary vote, and if I need to choose between one candidate who has accomplished the above in a short four years, and the other who has little to show for a 47-year political career, then the choice is easy.

I do not apologize for voting for Donald Trump, and I do so enthusiastically.

Jay Fleitman, MD, of Northampton writes a monthly column. He can be reached at columnists@gazettenet.com.

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