For those readers who have read this column over the past month, you know that I am no fan of President Donald J. Trump. I’ve considered the relationship he has with his followers as having all the characteristics of a cult. Last week’s column denounced our president, 126 members of the House of Representatives, and 18 state attorneys general of attempting a coup d’etat through the courts. Fortunately, the Supreme Court rejected the case.
This week, though, I’m going to turn the tables to examine three of Trump’s triumphs in his past nearly four years in office.
Operation Warp Speed: Here’s the Department of Defense’s stated goal for this effort: “Using the resources of the federal government and the U.S. private sector, Operation Warp Speed (OWS) will accelerate the testing, supply, development, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to counter COVID-19 by January 2021. “ The president authorized this program on May 15 and $10 billion was allocated to carry it out. It has been largely successful with the Moderna vaccine relying on upfront funding of the U.S. government to do the research and engineering.
Distribution of these doses is ramping up as millions of Americans are receiving these shots. All those who want them should be able to be vaccinated by the summer of 2021. The Food and Drug Administration worked closely with the drug companies to give approval for the drugs on an emergency basis. Where vaccine development has often taken up to 10 years, this feat is unprecedented with development within ten months.
The success of OWS must be credited to the government and to the president. It belies the arguments of critics that the federal government is incompetent and serves only the elite.
Arab recognition of the state of Israel: The state of Israel came into being in 1948. From its very beginning it had to fight to survive, winning its war of independence in 1948, the Arab-Israel War in 1967, and signing a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. While not ending conflict with its Arab neighbors or solving the Palestinian question, it has been able to grow into a regional superpower over the past 72 years of its existence. It has also become a tech leader with a thriving if illiberal democracy.
Because of the work of Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Israel has been given recognition by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Morocco, and Sudan. As Geopolitical Futures writer Hilal Khashan noted in her Dec. 23, 2020 article entitled, “Israel Becomes the Middle East’s Superpower”: “There is no denying that Arab rulers opted for peace with Israel to protect their regimes and ensure their survival…. The peace agreements that Israel has signed with Arab countries are not transient. The Arab countries’ increasing reliance on Israel’s technology and security cooperation will make the agreements lasting and inescapable.”
Ending political complacency in America: Donald Trump got elected with a promise to “drain the swamp” and to shake up the government, ending the domination by political elites of both parties. His critics would argue that he didn’t drain the swamp but only made it larger.
His supporters, who believed his lies and conspiracy theories, don’t seem to care about this, but deeper, he did shake up the government, forcing many Americans to realize that our democracy could cease to exist. Trump pardoned loyal and corrupt allies, ignored laws and tried to overthrow traditions and customs considered to be norms of proper presidential behavior. The 153 million voters who turned out for both political parties certainly would all agree that this was an existential election where the fate of the nation hung in the balance.
Trump was able to mobilize both the left and the right. White and formerly politically apathetic citizens turned out in the millions to support him, while blacks and Latino voters were stirred into participating by voting for Biden and Harris.
We may not be able to praise Trump for his character and integrity, but he has roused many Americans from their political apathy.
Now, let the healing begin.