- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Admittedly, the last week hasn’t been the best one for the Trump administration.

The stay on President Trump’s immigration executive ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, he fired his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, his labor nominee withdrew from consideration, and leaks continue to plague his young presidency.

And yet, Mr. Trump continues to deliver on the promises he made on the campaign trail.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis issued an ultimatum to allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a closed-door meeting in Brussels, warning them to pay up or the U.S. may alter its relationship with them.

“I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Mr. Mattis said, according to a report in The Washington Post. “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.”

While campaigning, Mr. Trump often said NATO members needed to “pay their fair share” — that many of the alliance’s 28 members relied too heavily on the U.S. and didn’t contribute the 2 percent of their GDP they promised to the alliance, and that needed to change.

The message delivered by Mr. Mattis was clear.

“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” Mr. Mattis said. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s security than you do. Disregard for military readiness demonstrates a lack of respect for ourselves, for the alliance and for the freedoms we inherited, which are now clearly threatened.”

Exactly right. It’s the start Mr. Trump promised.

Also on Wednesday, Mr. Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House. His reception and their joint press conference was warm and friendly — and stood in stark contrast to the last eight years under the Obama administration.

Mr. Trump abandoned Washington’s decade-old policy for a two-state solution, saying he preferred whatever policy that pleased both parties. Mr. Netanyahu reaffirmed Mr. Trump’s commitment to Israel, saying there was “no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state” than Mr. Trump.

On the domestic front, Mr. Trump has also been busy.

He’s signed executive orders reducing regulatory burdens within the federal bureaucracy and Obamacare, has frozen federal hiring, pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, outlined a plan to review the Dodd-Frank banking legislation, laid out spending plans for the Mexico border wall, strengthened White House ethics rules and temporarily suspended immigration from seven terrorist-ridden countries.

Meanwhile, Congress is using the Congressional Review Act to repeal many Obama-era regulations that undercut economic growth.

Mr. Trump has announced a campaign rally in Florida — and this is a good thing. He needs to start highlighting his accomplishments to the people who elected him, as the news media surely isn’t going to do it. Reconnecting with his base will also be good therapy for Mr. Trump, as he thrives off the crowd’s energy. Mr. Trump knows his only responsibility is to that of his voters.

The news media and Washington establishment will continue to feed off the scandals and leaks, and try to ruin Mr. Trump. This will go on for at least four more years.

And it’s OK. As Rush Limbaugh continues to say, the news media didn’t make Mr. Trump and therefore it can’t take him down.

Although the road so far has been bumpy, Mr. Trump will continue to roll.

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