President Trump on Sunday begins his second year on the job in a most unusual place. Washington and his government are in a crisis over the budget shutdown while his economy and the stock market are soaring to new highs. And like the public, our weekly report card graders are seizing on different Trump traits that result in different assessments.
President Trump had a pretty good week. His doctor certified him as healthy and sane, he cut aid to the Palestinians and held fast, even in the face of a government shutdown over former President Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. The media spent the week debating the president’s alleged remark that several African nations and Haiti were “shitholes.
The #SchumerShutdown began at midnight on Friday. Senate Democrats refused to fund the government — even for a few days — unless Trump and the Republicans caved in on DACA and agreed to a path to citizenship for the 700,000 or in the amnesty program. It’s a falsely-timed issue because DACA doesn’t end until March, so there’s no reason (other than political leverage) to create a crisis now. Trump said that there would be no further immigration negotiations until the government reopened. This shutdown could go on to rival the one from December 5, 1995 - January 6, 1996, the longest in many years.
Trump decided to freeze $65 million in aid to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestinians as another incentive to get them back to negotiating peace with the Israelis. After Trump’s announcement that he’d move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Mahmood Abbas (the Palestinian president now serving the thirteenth year of the four-year term to which he was elected) has been sputtering with rage to no effect. Trump is taking action that should have been taken decades ago.
Unprecedented success for our Country, in so many ways, since the Election. Record Stock Market, Strong on Military, Crime, Borders, & ISIS, Judicial Strength & Numbers, Lowest Unemployment for Women & ALL, Massive Tax Cuts, end of Individual Mandate - and so much more. Big 2018!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
The White House physician pronounced the president in fine fettle and, having given him a “cognitive” test to see if he can think straight, said Trump had a perfect score on the test. Liberals will, by next week at the latest, return to their “Trump is nuts and can’t be trusted” narrative.
Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long term budget, no C.R.’s!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2018
Apple announced that it would repatriate $252 billion of its overseas cash stash and pay $38 billion in taxes to do so. It also announced that it would build another huge campus headquarters employing tens of thousands and invest in high-tech manufacturing in the US. Fiat Chrysler said that moving RAM pickup truck manufacturing to Mexico was a mistake and is moving it back to the U.S. The stock market hit another record high, closing at over 26,000.
On President Trump’s first anniversary in the White House, the government has shut down. The man who defined the “art of the deal” is a failed artist. It may be one thing to stand for principle or to blame the other side, but the president sent out such mixed signals this week that he confused matters and muddled the entire negotiating process. In the process he threw his own chief of staff under the bus on immigration.
Unemployment applications continued to fall, businesses big and small are offering bonuses to employees on the basis of tax cuts, and the Dow hit 26,000 — 8,000 points higher than when Trump took office.
We are beginning to see a narrative emerge from the White House and from conservatives about Trump's accomplishments in his first year. But he undercuts even his own spinners with his dangerous tweets and reign of confusion. So what does he leave us with? Does Omarosa really have audio tapes? Please pray that Stormy Daniels doesn't have videotapes.
Grade D (bolstered by the economy, but ‘D’ stands for Detention where he must go until a deal to reopen the government.)
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org