With the turbulence of Donald Trump’s first term, including charges of inciting an insurrection, my Never Trumper friends are convinced I regret supporting him. Untrue.
Offhand, I can’t think of a policy Mr. Trump proposed and implemented that I didn’t favor. I was gung-ho for his spectacular tax and deregulation policies, which brought us a dazzling economy, booming 401Ks, and the lowest unemployment rate for blacks and Hispanics in modern history. By unleashing the oil and natural gas industry, the president not only created more of those good paying American jobs, but made us energy independent, meaning we would no longer have to rely on an unstable Middle East for these critical fuels in time of war.
The Canadian Keystone XL Pipeline was pursued to keep the U.S. reliant on safe energy sources to supply our refineries, create thousands of American infrastructure jobs and promote friendly relations with our northern neighbor. Joe Biden’s first act as president? Terminating Keystone. By also suspending new oil and gas leases on federal land, New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado are expected to lose millions of dollars and thousands of more jobs. Because of fracking, the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal, has “led the world” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But the president, alas, has pledged to end fracking as well.
I was all in for Mr. Trump’s effort to win over Blacks with prison reform, long-term funding of black colleges and those opportunity zones, whose Kempian purpose is to lift poor communities out of poverty through free market principles. (Early reports are positive, by the way.) And what about his teaming up with Mitch McConnell to fill the federal courts with some 300 jurists steeped in Antonin Scalia’s conservative legal philosophy? Even liberal historians are impressed.
When the high court upheld the president’s effort to expand religious freedoms for every faith, saving the Little Sisters of the Poor in the process, constitutionalists rejoiced. One reason: The president’s two new appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, had joined the court’s decision written by the venerable conservative Clarence Thomas.
No policy has struck so many conservatives as more foolish than the Democratic effort to encourage massive illegal immigration. President Trump pulled every trick in the book to end it, including building that wall (some 500 miles of it), virtually ending our disastrous “catch and release” program (with Mexico’s help) and his substantial enhancement of the border patrol. And what have the Never Trumpers done to retain these sane measures? Help elect the man who is itching to abolish them.
How about Trump vs. Biden on the pandemic? In late January of last year, before any deaths from the disease had been detected in the U.S., President Trump formed the Coronavirus Task Force, closed down travel from Mainland China, and then endured unhinged criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Candidate Biden accused him of “hysterical xenophobia.”
But even Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted the president’s policies had saved tens of thousands of lives. Two months later Mr. Biden grudgingly acknowledged that the China ban was good policy after all. (Some of us evil Ever Trumpers, of course, prefer chief executives who get it right the first time.)
President Trump was right again when he called the lockdown off in May of 2020 realizing its devastating impact on the economy and the health of entire families facing bankruptcy. Almost a year later Democratic governors and mayors appear to agree: Lockdowns need to be ended. Operation Warp Speed, often mocked by his enemies, has proved a stunning success with the development of miracle therapeutics and, in record time, two new effective vaccines that are saving lives and the health of people daily.
Getting tough with China, isolating Iran, keeping North Korea in check and defeating ISIS militarily are hardly inconsequential achievements. His audacious Middle East policy not only increased Israel’s security but inspired at least five Arab states to normalize relations with the Jewish state.
But even Hank Aaron had his bad days. The rioters who stormed the Capitol and caused so much grief for everyone, including Citizen Trump, were his devoted followers who had been stoked by the president’s still unproven claims that the Dominion Voting Machines had been rigged to give Joe Biden the presidency.
Until those riots, the Republicans were definitely the law and order party, with the chief executive moving against uprisings in zip codes ruled mostly by Democrats. Even at the Ellipse,the president told the crowd to “peacefully … make your voices heard.”
The Democrats don’t urge non-violence from progressives. When their party convened in August, the delegates and speakers conspicuously ignored the arson, looting and anti-police riots that had been engulfing the country. Not a single Democrat, including their presidential nominee, uttered the mildest form of criticism against the violence that ended up injuring 700 law enforcement officers, 19 of them murdered, and inflicting $2 billion in private property damage.
Important businesses owned by minorities just ceased to exist. As Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, has so tellingly detailed, big-name Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, conspicuously encouraged the criminal conduct as beneficial.
So would I choose Donald Trump over our current president again? In a heartbeat.
• Allan H. Ryskind, a former editor and owner of Human Events, is the author of “Hollywood Traitors” (Regnery, 2015).