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Trump the Do-Gooder

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George Washington University

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Trump the Do-Gooder

Some positive things to consider under Trump

Max Skidelsky

10.5.17

Cards on the table. I’m not a fan of President Donald Trump. I wasn’t so crazy about former President Barack Obama either. That said, I believe in giving credit where credit is due. And I also believe that the left is not engaging in this right now. I do not seek to diminish the awful agendas Trump has supported, but rather bring to light other aspects of his administration that are objectively good.

Fixing Obama’s Mistakes


One of Trump’s first acts as president was to freeze and review an Obama ordered release of funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This freeze had the stated goal of ensuring that this type of payment is in America’s best interest, since this notoriously corrupt body politic would have likely siphoned these funds for terrorist activities. This was a favorite of Shep Gerszberg, member of the GW Republicans. When interviewed, he pointed out that, “There are some positives [Trump] has done that even Democrats can get behind.”

Trump has also rescinded an Obama administration policy that would have required the Social Security Administration to report records of some mentally ill beneficiaries to the FBI. However, such information has been protected by states based on privacy concerns, as sharing this information with the federal government would have made it less likely that mentally ill individuals sought help. Indeed, an unlikely duo opposed the move—the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. He has also signed bills to encourage the U.S. to again compete for the World Expo, which once featured famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower.

Improving Government


Trump has worked to improve a few government agencies as well. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent government agency that analyzes and investigates federal expenditures. A new law allows the GAO to obtain federal agency records for purposes of audit or investigation. If an agency or department refuses to cooperate, the law makes it easier for the GAO to file a civil action in court to obtain the records or documents.

Another resolution aims to improve National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research methods and prioritizes weather data, modeling, computing, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy. The bill expands certain programs to better track weather events such as hurricanes and tornados, as well as improve interagency coordination.

Trump has also signed a whistleblower protection law designed to extend legal protection for violating an executive regulation. Unlike protection guaranteed from refusing to violate a congressional law, this law—passed unanimously in both houses—extends that simple protection to a regulation instituted by the executive branch. Previously there was no such protection at all for disobeying an order to violate a regulation.

Trump has also amended the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to improve management and oversight of the vehicle fleet, as well as provide regular analysis and evaluations. Another DHS bill provides oversight into protecting U.S. agriculture from terrorist attack. Ironically, Trump even signed a bill encouraging federal employees to use alternative transportation options such as Uber or Lyft for official travel to reduce government expenses.

Space, Science, and Women


Oddly enough, Trump has guaranteed free lifetime healthcare for one demographic—astronauts. Additionally, the TREAT Astronauts Act reaffirms American involvement with the ISS through 2024, indicates NASA’s focus on landing on Mars, and resurrects the National Space Council, a governmental body that hasn’t existed since 1993, following a failed Obama campaign promise to do so.

The INSPIRE Act directs NASA to support retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators to engage with female STEM students in an attempt to inspire young women to consider participating in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers in aerospace. Trump signed a similar law to encourage women to participate in entrepreneurship industries. He also waived the Jones Act to expand access to food, medicine, and other supplies needed in Puerto Rico, though many argue this move was too slow.

Police and Veterans


Trump has also shown his support for the boys in blue. The Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program was established by Congress in 1976 to financially assist survivors of officers killed in the line of duty, but many families face long waiting periods. Trump recently signed an improvement measure to take steps to reduce the backlog of families awaiting approval of survival benefits. A parallel bill authorizes Capital Police to make these payments to injured officers as well.

Under the Forever GI Bill, veterans no longer have to use their GI Bill within a certain timeframe. More people are eligible for more benefits, more Purple Heart recipients get more benefits, and more beneficiaries have more funding and time—as do their families. A similar bill encourages law enforcement to hire veterans, as well as provide other benefits.

Trump signed into law a bill providing over $2 billion to open new Veterans Affairs (VA) department medical facilities and fund care for veterans seeking medical care outside the government system. Passed by the House unanimously, this was seen as a bipartisan compromise. Trump has also signed another largely popular bill that would make it easier to fire VA employees for misconduct while better protecting staffers who bring wrongdoing to light.

Unexpected Developments


For the purposes of this article I did not include policies the president supports that have not come to fruition, or ramifications of his rhetoric that ran counter to his intent—namely, inspiring left-wing resistance and popular reprisals. However, his rhetoric has had a substantive impact at reducing border crossings.

The above measures are not meant to provide excuse as to Trump’s rhetoric or his disastrous policies in other fields. I am simply pointing out that not every single one of his actions is arguably awful. While no one interviewed was Trump’s biggest fan, Shep and I agreed that “It’s important to give credit where credit is due because otherwise you are only contributing to the idea that the other party is ‘the enemy’ and that’s ridiculous.”

Let me say that again: Not every single thing Trump has done is completely awful. A lot, arguably, but not every iota. Liberals who were tired of Obama being blasted on every single thing he did should take care not to make the same objections with Trump lest they be branded hypocrites themselves.

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Rival.