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Donald J. Trump is currently the 45th President of the United States. Before that he was a billionaire real-state mogul and a reality TV star on the hit show, The Apprentice. Despite having no previous political experience, he secured the Republican nomination from within a crowded field of candidates and went on to defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. After having been at the helm of the most powerful country on earth for nearly four years, he is currently running for his 2nd term as President against Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.
Why does it matter
Trump came to power as a populist candidate fighting against corruption, illegal immigration and a promise to bring change. To some, he is the saviour of America who will “drain the swamp” and bring about systemic change to entrenched corruption. To others, he is the single greatest threat to both Democracy and world stability in well over a generation.
Whether you love him or hate him, it must be noted that he has had quite a consequential term while in office. In his victory speech he said “I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans”. The question remains, has he lived up to this promise? And is he the right person to lead America forward? …You be the judge.
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So, who is Donald Trump?
He is a product of his upbringing. Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was a fiercely ambitious businessman with a relentless work ethic. While quite successful, he often resorted to bullying and manipulation to curry favours with politicians and to profit off of others. This tough and cold attitude carried over into his personal life and it is alleged that he would emotionally abuse his children, particularly Trump’s older brother, Fred Trump Jr. At the age of 13, Fred send Donald off to military school in hopes of curbing his energetic behaviour. Instead, this only fueled Trump’s sense of competitiveness and he went on to be both a star athlete and student leader by the time he graduated. Trump would later return to work alongside his father and ultimately replace his brother, Fred Trump Jr., as heir to the family dynasty.
He is a gifted marketer. Trump’s political or business savvy might be a contentious issue, but his marketing abilities are something else entirely. To some, Trump is a marketing genius, to others he is a master manipulator, but to ignore his talent in this area would be disingenuous. Trump is successful because he is keenly aware of who his customers/audience are, what they care about, and what will make them act. He knows how to draw in big crowds and energize them, while keeping the message simple and focused. His phrases such as “MAGA”, “build that wall”, “Crooked Hillary” etc. are all carefully thought out and orchestrated for maximum effect. To Trump, it is all about optics, not necessarily substance.
He’s no stranger to controversy. Donald Trump plays dirty and has a knack for coming out on top. He has no issues with breaking the rules and breaking promises because, for him, it is all about the next fight, the next battle, and of course, winning! It is in his blood and it is why most of his supporters rally around him. But with that attitude comes controversy, and lots of it! From bad business deals and bankruptcies, to accusations of intimidation, mafia ties, fraud, and sexual assault, Trump is truly the King of Scandles. Here are just a few few examples of what he’s been embroiled in over the years.
And of course, he is the current President of the United States. Although, his reign nearly came to an abrupt end when he was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in 2019 (later acquitted by the Senate). Despite this and other major controversies, Trump has actually managed to deliver on some of his campaign goals. Here are some of his biggest accomplishments and controversies (depending on your perspective) during his first four years as President:
Accomplishments (full list here)
- Re-negotiated NAFTA and replaced it with the USMCA.
- Passed the biggest corporate tax reform in 3 decades (permanently reducing corporate taxes from 35% to 21%).
- Developed a new branch of the military: Space Force.
- Appointed a record amount of new judges and re-shaped the judiciary with a Conservative tilt.
- Signed into law the “First Step Act” which seeks reforms to the criminal justice system.
Controversies (full list here)
- Response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S now accounts for ~25% of all recorded cases and deaths word-wide. This, in addition to all-time record job losses, growing economic instability and record debt.
- Eroding global alliances, destabilizing susceptible regions, encouraging hostile powers, and making unilateral military decisions.
- His racist rhetoric, including his response to the events of Charlottesville and George Floyd (among others).
- His persistent attacks on truth, facts and freedom of the press
- Efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obama care) and dismantle Medicare.
- Where’s the Wall? (To date only 317 miles of wall has been built, much of which is repair/ replacement of existing structures, and of which Mexico has paid a total of $0).
- Numerous allegations of corruption, cronyism, abuse of power, and self-dealing.
Interesting Facts about “The Donald”
- His family name was originally Drumpf (or Drumpft)
- He might love fast food, but he does not drink or smoke
- Trumps hair is real – seriously!
- He graduated from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics
- Trump has never actually personally filed for bankruptcy, but he has filed six times on behalf of his businesses and properties
- Trump allegedly had no role in the actual writing of his famous book “The Art of the Deal“
- Throughout his life, Trump has been involved in over 3,500 lawsuits
- While currently registered as a Republican, he was actually a Democrat from 2001-2009
- He has made more than 20,000 false or misleading statements while in office
- Trump has had a record-high 91% senior staff turnover rate and persistent vacancies in his administration since taking office
- Trump is the first major party nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972 to not publicly release his tax returns
If you’re interested in learning more the man himself, check out Donald Trump’s full biography.
What’s his vision for America?
Beyond “Making America Great Again” or “Keeping America Great”, what is his vision for moving America forward? Well, its actually no small feat to identify what, specifically, Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign platform actually is. The details are sparse (in some cases non-existent) and he frequently changes his mind, so at best we can get merely a “snapshot” of where he currently stands:
- Coronavirus. Eradicate the virus, develop a vaccine by end of 2020, and return America to “normal” in 2021.
- Criminal Justice. Increase police funding, end cashless bail system, prosecute extremists and terrorists.
- Economy. Create jobs, expand opportunity zones, reduce regulations.
- Education. Provide school choice to every child in America.
- Energy. Boost fossil fuel production, reduce clean energy programs.
- Gun Control. Supports the 2nd Amendment and encourages all Americans to own a firearm.
- Health care. Reduce drug prices and insurance premiums, cover all pre-exiting conditions, limit access to abortion.
- Immigration. Reduce illegal immigration, reform the legal immigration system, and end the practice of “sanctuary cities”.
- Marijuana. Let the States decide.
- Military. Expand America’s military strength, build a cyber security defense system, bring troops home, and have allies pay their fair share.
- Political Reform. “Drain the swamp” and pass congressional term limits.
- Taxes. Lower individual and corporate taxes, introduce “made in America” tax credits.
- Trade. Reduce trade deficits, re-negotiate trade deals, end reliance on China.
- Tech. Launch Space Force and establish a presence on Mars, establish national high-speed internet network.
See his campaign website here.
See his current list of “2nd term” action items here.
Popular books about Donald Trump
Over the past four years there has been a near steady flow of books released about Trump. If you’re looking for a great read, here are the 10 most popular books about Donald Trump right now:
- The Case for Trump (Victor Davis Hanson)
- Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us (Donald Trump Jr.)
- A warning (Anonymous)
- Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White (Michael Wolff)
- The Room Where It Happened (John Bolton)
- Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man (Mary L. Trump)
- The Making of Donald Trump (David Cay Johnston)
- Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump (Michael Cohen)
- A Very Stable Genious (Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig)
- Fear: Trump in the White House (Bob Woodward)
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