Trump’s Already Won

A consequential presidency has enabled peace and prosperity.

By Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman   October 31, 2020

Win or lose, America’s 45th president deserves credit for a more competitive economy, a nation at peace and a secure rule of law. Donald Trump doesn’t trample Americans’ rights. He doesn’t start wars; he ends them. And he makes comments that offend people. The cost of supporting Mr. Trump is enduring awkward moments when he says things that presidents shouldn’t say. The benefit is that he champions U.S. liberty and prosperity, and a thriving America is a benefit to the world.

It may seem obvious that a president should prioritize the interests of his country. But when Mr. Trump arrived in Washington, too many politicians seemed to view America as one of the world’s problems. Barack Obama began his presidency with a series of overseas speeches in which he described American flaws. In 2016 he visited communist Cuba where he noted that the U.S. had once sought to “exert control” over the country. Many suffering Cubans wish that we’d succeeded.

Mr. Trump doesn’t apologize for America. When it comes to foreign relations, he thinks that in many ways the U.S. has been too nice. But he also brought the nicest news to the Middle East in decades, a series of historic peace agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In contrast with the expansive ambitions of the Bush era and the apologetic retreats of Obama days, Mr. Trump leads an America that is ready but not eager for war and that encourages former foes to engage in peaceful commerce.

The pursuit of commercial vitality at home has defined his presidency, as it defined his unconventional candidacy. “Is Donald Trump Serious?” asked a New York Times headline in September 2015. A columnist mocked him for seeking to sharply reduce the tax on corporate profits. The real mockery was the damage the levy inflicted. When combined with state and local taxes, the tax rate on corporate income amounted to nearly 40%, the highest in the industrialized world. U.S. companies were fleeing for business-friendly countries.

In 2017 Mr. Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced the top federal corporate tax to 21% from 35%. The law triggered an increase in business investment and a surge of optimism among employers, which turned out well for employees. The Trump economy was characterized by historically low unemployment rates, massive job openings, and rising wages for low- and middle-income workers. The Covid pandemic and shutdowns wrought historic economic destruction, but it’s now being followed by a historic rebound.

From the start of his presidency, Mr. Trump paired tax reform with aggressive slashing of federal red tape. By the end of 2019 the administration was setting another annual record for the smallest number of final rules published in the Federal Register since such records began being tallied in the 1970s. Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute reports that by this measure the three best years for federal restraint all belong to Mr. Trump.

The president tells us that a recent rule to speed approval of infrastructure projects will turn out to be among his most significant reforms, eliminating years of bureaucratic delays. His commitment to drain the regulatory swamp was inspired by his own experience trying to figure out ways to get necessary state and federal approvals for New York building projects. “I understand the system. It’s a consultant system. The consultants go up to Albany or they go down to Washington and they make it very tough. So you have to hire consultants and pay them millions of dollars to get a simple approval. No, I know that business,” he says.

By reducing the tax and regulatory burden, Mr. Trump has reduced the federal footprint on Americans’ daily lives. Joe Biden promises to make that footprint much larger.

Mr. Trump’s greatest legacy will likely be his success in appointing more than 200 federal judges, including three Supreme Court justices, committed to interpreting the law as written. In our interview he gave all the credit to Harry Reid, who was majority leader in 2013 when the Senate eliminated the filibuster for nominations.

That was called the “nuclear option,” because its destruction could be foreseen to affect both parties. Now some Democrats regret their decision to detonate—including, according to Mr. Trump, Chuck Schumer, Mr. Reid’s successor as Democratic leader. The president reports that Mr. Schumer frequently laments: “The worst thing that ever happened to us was Harry Reid.” Mr. Trump sees it differently: “Thank God we had the nuclear option.”

If Americans vote Mr. Trump out next week, they may thank him for maintaining the rule of law and constitutional governance long after he leaves the Oval Office—and long after his odd comments have been forgotten.

If they opt for a second Trump term, they’ll likely get more pro-growth economic policy but should also expect that his unconventional method of presidential communication will continue. We asked if he ever lets anyone, including First Lady Melania Trump, review his tweets before he sends them. “A little bit,” Mr. Trump answered. “But basically, I do what I do. You know, I’m president. Somebody said, ‘Oh, that’s not good.’ I said, ‘Oh, really? Where are we?’ ‘Sir, we’re in the Oval Office.’ I said, ‘That’s right.’ ”

Ms Bartiromo is anchor of Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” and two programs on Fox Business. Mr. Freeman, assistant editor of the Journal’s editorial page, writes the Best of the Web column for They are authors of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”



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