Trump’s List of Accomplishments
I never un-followed my Trump supporting friends and family on Social Media. By 2018, almost everyone I know had un-friended, un-followed or blocked the people in their sphere who supported Pres. Trump. Even after years of online arguments, incredible displays of disrespect and ugliness, somehow I resisted the urge to slam those doors and throw away the keys. The relationships remain quiet and strained and probably will for a long time but, the door is still unlocked on my side and I can find relief in that.
Although there is little interaction these days with that side of my clan, through social media I get a window into their world. As the pandemic swells and echo-chambers grow, there is a small crack in the social and political wall that I can peek through every now and then.
In August 2020, I started seeing this “List of Trump’s Accomplishments” showing up everywhere in my feed and out of sheer curiosity finally clicked into it.
After scrolling down the dizzying list, a few of them stuck out to me. Thoughts were swirling in my head, “Well, I know that one isn’t right… Did he do that?…No way…” At the very end, #124, the author smugly writes “No links provided to remove bias as Google search is easy”. Hmmm…
That struck me as very odd and frankly extremely off-brand. Over the last 4 years, every person in my life that is an avid supporter of Pres. Trump has screamed over text or on social media for everyone to “CITE YOUR SOURCES!” or “DO YOUR RESEARCH!” and condemned anything I put forth without citing a (non-MSM) source or “proof”.
So, my interest was piqued. Having recently been let go from my job and still firmly sheltering-in-place in the middle of a pandemic, I decided to start looking some of these up. The list seemed impossible and improbable. I had the time so, why not?
Early on, I noticed an interesting mix of verifiable truths but also severe exaggerations and false statements. My research was showing that many of these statements were giving Pres. Trump credit for accomplishments of previous administrations, members of Congress and even ordinary citizens working for years to get something done in Washington. In the quest for Truth, I decided to keep going.
During my research, I found The New York Times and a few others had already done a fact check on this viral post, published in September 2020 as I was in the middle of my own search. The NYT research was obviously well done but, a lot of the links were to NYT articles. I knew from experience with my friends and family, no matter how well researched, anything The NYT wrote about would be deemed unreliable. I needed to dig deeper.
The sources I looked for and cite from are not from the “Mainstream Media” but, a deep dive into more neutral sources we have available: news from AP, Reuters, etc. rather than CNN or NYT. I pored through official US Department websites, non-partisan studies and organizations that post a wealth of real statistics, graphs and local news reporting when I could find it. The goal was to have a list with sources as un-biased as I could muster.
After deciding to publish my findings, I wanted my article to provide context for my list. I was learning SO MUCH about each subject as I researched, I wanted to include these bits of information to provide a more realistic view on each of these sections. Government is so complicated and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
I was actively learning how our government works, which departments are in charge of what and the difference between an Act, Executive Order, a Bill and a Law. I learned how hard our members in Congress work to get something accomplished and how long it takes for meaningful legislation to get passed. I also learned how bi-partisan and collaborative our Congress can be and that gave me hope.
I also learned how every president takes credit for bills and laws that they had absolutely nothing to do with except a signature when it comes to their desk. Every President has done this but for this article, I wanted the credit to go to the folks who deserved it.
Research is not simple. And, even with Google in our pockets at all times, it is still very hard to search and parse out un-biased reporting, verifiable info and stats. This took me 52 hours (and that was just for the research part). Add 41 more hours for formatting, spell & grammar checks and re-reading each section to make sure each post actually makes sense to the reader. The total came to 93 hours.
But, I had the time to give.
I hope that, in this little way, I can offer this up to help anyone who wants to be a little more informed as a citizen. Or to use as a tool to have a more productive conversation with someone who has a specific viewpoint on any or all of Pres. Trump’s accomplishments.
After all, isn’t that what my friends and family keep railing about on social media? What is Truth? The mainstream media lies! You have to do your own research!
So, I did. And, here is what I found:
LIST OF TRUMP’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
(Possible original list from McLean County Republicans Website.)
1. Trump recently signed 3 bills to benefit Native people. One gives compensation to the Spokane tribe for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, one funds Native language programs, and the third gives federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.
S.216 — Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act is to address the loss of land that was flooded by the Grand Coulee Dam. The Spokane Tribe has been waiting 70 years for this to pass and in 2014, it was introduced and failed.
In Jan 2019, Rep Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced it again. After passing the House and Senate, almost a year later Trump signed into law Dec 2019.
To note: This was a bipartisan effort with US Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) also supported this bill.
S.256 — Native Language Programs: The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act was signed into law by Pres. H.W. Bush in 2006 but it expired in 2012. It was reintroduced by Sen Udall (NM-D) and Rep Lujan (NM-D) and signed back into law in 2019.
This was a bi-partisan effort and was approved in the House 377–48 and the Senate 403–21.
S.1790 — National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 had the recognition of The Little Shell Tribe tucked into the 3,488 page Defense Bill. The Little Shell Tribe has been petitioning for almost a century for recognition.
This was a bi-partisan effort sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and was co-sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT).
To note: Pres. Trump signed these bills when they came to his desk, he was NOT the architect. For context, think of how many hours, years and decades it took for Tribal Council members, advocates and House of Representatives and Senate members to get these bills passed/extended/reinstated into law.
Assuming this was put on this list to show Pres. Trump supporting Native Americans. For context, here are the ways that the Trump administration has negatively impacted Native American Tribes from their point of view.
A few examples:
- Days after his inauguration, Trump signed an executive order bypassing the previous agreements on Native Treaty Lands and ongoing litigation of DAPL and continued to do so even after it spilled.
- Here is a timeline and more resources on the Dakota Pipeline.
- Changing NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) in ways that will make it harder for Tribes to have a voice in developments and future projects regarding their land. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, labeled the proposed changes a “direct effrontery to the sovereignty of Native Americans” as no tribes were consulted.
- The Trump Administration has pushed to sell off the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for Arctic Drilling and Mining. The Gwich’in Nation is dependent on this area as it is critical to their food security and way of life. They have appealed to the UN Human Rights Council to intervene.
- Building the Border Wall, crews began controlled blasting of Monument Hill, a sacred site to the Tohono O’odham Nation without consultation. The tribe’s chairman Ned Norris went to Washington to speak to members of Congress in hopes to halt the destruction of his tribes’ sacred grounds. He compared the “dynamiting these sacred sites and burial grounds is the same as bulldozing Arlington National Cemetery”.
- Trump administration reduced Bears Ears Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and opened them up to oil and gas drilling. In response, the Hopi Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe represented by the Native American Rights Fund jointly filed suit.
- The La Posta Band of Kumeyaay people along the California-Mexico border are also suing the Trump Administration for destruction of burial sites, sacred grounds and archaeological sites. Their members have been routinely arrested and charged with trespassing on their own land.
- The Menominee Indian Tribe and Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians are suing the Trump Administration for Pres. Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The rule re-defines what kinds of waters are protected and decreases the waterways protected under Pres. Obama’s 2015 Clean Water Rule. Under the new rule, the Menominee Reservation’s watersheds, wetlands and streams are no longer protected from pollution.
- Six Native American tribes are suing the Trump administration for allowing for-profit Alaska Native corporations access to the $8 billion coronavirus aid that was supposed to go directly to tribes.
All of these reports paint a picture of Native American and Indigenous Tribes having to endure challenges to the sanctity of their lands and sovereignty of their Nations. Sadly, this is not new but, remains specifically challenging under Trump’s administration.
2. Trump finalized the creation of Space Force as our 6th Military branch.
Yep, he did. There was already an organization called Air Force Space Command and Trump/Pence made it into its own branch in Dec 2019. The specific details of Space Force are still being determined because it’s so new.
Read the FAQ’s here.
To note: The logo looks just like the Star Trek one!
3. Trump signed a law to make cruelty to animals a federal felony so that animal abusers face tougher consequences.
True. H.R.724 — Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act was signed in 2019 and it bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impalement or other serious harm to “living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians”.
This was a bipartisan effort by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla). and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa).
To note: Pres. Trump did not craft this law, he signed it when it got to his desk. And, we and all the animals who were unprotected are all better for it that he did.
4. Violent crime has fallen every year he’s been in office after rising during the 2 years before he was elected.
This one I’m going to break into 2 categories since that’s the best way to respond to it.
- Violent crime fallen every year since Trump took office: True. The last few months of social unrest withstanding, per the FBI- Violent crime fell less than 1% each year since Trump took office. And, this has been a severe downward trend for the last 22 years.
Most recently, Pres. Trump has claimed the Democrat-run cities is where crime is running rampant. However, crime in Republican run cities are also on the rise. Here is an analysis by the BBC using FBI stats and reports from city police departments.
-Violent crime rose during Obama’s last 2 years: True, the crime rate had a surge in 2015. However, this was following a dramatic drop in crime since the 1990s. (See FBI chart below.)
To note: Both Trump and Obama agreed separately that Chicago had a particularly bloody year that contributed to the national average going up.
Also to note: Some have claimed these surges to be “The Ferguson Effect” however that theory has been disputed. But, if the Ferguson Theory is correct, then Trump would be responsible for the rise in violence in 2020.
Here’s a good article: Ferguson Effect- Vox.com.
5. Trump signed a bill making CBD and Hemp legal.
Hemp: Yep, this is true. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp was legalized but with heavy restrictions. Please note, Hemp is NOT Marijuana and the Farm Bill outlines producing Cannabis with more than 0.3% THC will qualify as a felony. So, really, it did nothing to help the cannabis legalization on a national level.
CBD: This is kind of true. It’s only legal if it’s produced in a “manner consistent” with the Farm Bill, federal and state regulations and a licensed grower. Otherwise, CBD is still a Schedule 1 substance except for the 1 product that has been approved by the FDA: GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex. At best, this paves a very long and tedious path to get CBD legalized nationally much less cannabis.
Here’s a breakdown from Brookings Institute: 2018 Farm Bill, Hemp & status of CBD
To note: State Legalization is still not federally recognized.
6. Trump’s EPA gave $100 million to fix the water infrastructure problem in Flint, Michigan.
Pres. Trump actually gave $167 million in total as seen in this memo and issued an emergency administrative order in Dec 2018. Coincidentally, Pres. Obama also issued an emergency administrative order in Jan 2016. He also signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for $170 million.
To note: The $100 million mentioned above came from Obama’s original WIIN funding to make it $167 million. So, it could be seen that Trump only gave $67 mill to Flint.
Also, to note: Flint isn’t fixed yet. So, giving money to Flint, Michigan doesn’t really mean that’s a true win for either president to tally.
For more info on why Flint’s water is still not fixed, here’s a good article from one of Detroit’s local papers: 6 years Later: Where Things Stand in Flint.
7. Under Trump’s leadership, in 2018 the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
This is true. You can see the upward trend since 2008 in this chart. While that is a great feat to become oil-independent, the oil industry was one of several that was thrown into chaos with the pandemic. The surge of supply from Russia and Saudi Arabia didn’t help either.
To note: Even before the pandemic, leaders in the oil & gas industries have been observing economic & social trends and declines in demand.
Some are even responding to the Sustainability Imperative that is happening globally. Here is an article about oil companies and their renewable energy projects: Six Major Oil Companies noting specifically BP, Shell, Chevron, Total, Eni and Exxon.
Aside from the environmental debate, crude oil as a resource is finite and will run out someday. Many believe that we as a country should get in front of that and position ourselves to be leaders in the global economy for renewable and sustainable energy.
8. Trump signed a law ending the gag orders on Pharmacists that prevented them from sharing money-saving information.
Yes. S.2554 — Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act finally made it illegal for insurance companies to insert “gag clauses” into their contracts with pharmacies that wouldn’t allow pharmacists to tell patients about better, cheaper options for medication. 25 states already had laws in place protecting their patients but this made it Federal Law.
This was a bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and passed 98–2.
9. Trump signed the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA), which includes the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” (SESTA) which both give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.
True. H.R. 1865 — Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 specifically targets online sex trafficking which previous bills didn’t cover sufficiently. One major achievement was amending the definition to include online activities so online predators can be prosecuted.
However, this bill has become controversial because it has created an “exception” to Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. Many argue that it promotes censorship, free speech and endangers the lives of legal, consensual sex workers.
The bill’s primary author, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) claimed that FOSTA-SESTA had “shut down nearly 90% of the online sex trafficking business and ads”. That number was actually speaking to ads on several websites used for adult consensual sex workers- which is not sex trafficking. Rep. Wagner then stated on the House floor that she equates sex work with sex trafficking which are by definition not the same thing.
Regardless of your stance on sex workers, every person should be protected from predators. And, this also seems like a slippery slope for censorship laws on the internet.
Personal note: Absolutely everyone I know across all political spectrums agree that we need to DO MORE to stop Sex and Human Trafficking.
For more info on what you can do and how to help, check out the Polaris Project.org. They operate the National Human Trafficking Hotline and have extensive information, statistics and resources.
10. Trump signed a bill to require airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding Moms.
S.1110 — Friendly Airports for Mothers Act of 2017 requires all commercial airports are required to provide lactation rooms at every terminal.
These are the requirements:
- Be available to the public
- Be behind security
- Be shielded from view and free from intrusion
- Have a door that can be locked
- Includes a place to sit, a table or other flat surface and an electrical outlet
- Be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs
- Not be in a bathroom
This was a bipartisan effort led by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Stephen Knight (R-CA).
Two years later, H.R. 866 — The Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019 passed as well which requires that public federal buildings have a clean and private lactation space with the same requirements.
It only applies to federal buildings right now (Senate and House buildings, Courthouses, Smithsonian buildings and other federal facilities) but is shining a light on the need for this everywhere.
This was also a bipartisan bill brought by Sen Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen Steve Daines (R-MT).
To note: Trump did not come up with, write or draft this bill but, he did sign it.
11. The 25% lowest-paid Americans enjoyed a 4.5% income boost in November 2019, which outpaces a 2.9% gain in earnings for the country’s highest-paid workers.
This is a true statistic. Let’s look at what it means and how it happened.
Approximately 53 million Americans work “low-wage” jobs and the median wage comes out to $10.22 per hour or $18,000 annually. That’s above the minimum wage of $7.25/hour but is still not by many to be considered “a living wage”.
By comparison, the top 20% of U.S. households earn about $221,000 annually. Here’s another good article that breaks this down: WCBI.
Thanks to many bi-partisan efforts in local and federal governments- a lot of them left-leaning, Democrats and Independents (read Bernie Sanders)- the minimum wage is slowly starting to meet the needs of individual income in this country. This resulted in low-income “raises” to reflect the new percentage.
So, did Trump make this happen? No. States and independent companies raising minimum wage did.
12. Low-wage workers are benefiting from higher minimum wages and from corporations that are increasing entry-level pay.
This is redundant. See above. :)
13. Trump signed the biggest wilderness protection & conservation bill in a decade and designated 375,000 acres as protected land.
Yes, he signed it but that does not make Pres. Trump a conservationist.
The John D. Dingell, Jr Conservation, Management and Recreation Act was the largest preservation bill in a decade and designates 1.3 million acres as wilderness. It also established an additional 375,000 acres of new wilderness which logging, oil, drilling, mining and road-building are banned.
The primary aim of this bill was to conserve areas for hunting, fishing and recreational activities and shield these acres from development and pollution.
To note: This was a bi-partisan effort and passed in the House 362–63 and in the Senate 92–8.
This was a huge win for conservationists yet, the Trump Administration has been openly working to unravel environmental protections.
- A day before signing this bill into law Pres. Trump introduced a proposed federal budget cutting 31% of the EPA’s budget and 14% of the Dept. of Interior.
- Despite signing this into law, he and his administration have removed more than 2 million acres from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to make room for drilling and destroying Native American archaeological sites. (See #1 for more resources.)
- Up to 51 million acres of sage-grouse habitat in 7 states was proposed to be opened to drilling and mining by the Trump Administration. It was blocked by a federal judge a few months after the proposal.
- The watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which includes 1.1 million acre lake-land wilderness area, has over 1,000 lakes and 1,200 miles of rivers and streams is under threat for a toxic copper mine that Trump’s Administration is trying to push through.
- While this bill expanded areas around Mojave Desert and protects Joshua Tree National Park, 1.3 million acres have been opened up to mining bordering the national park and spread across the California high desert.
- By 2018, the Trump Administration has, through the BLM, offered more than 3,400 oil and gas leases in areas that are priorities for big game migrations- elk, mule deer and pronghorn. This apparently has been shelved because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the energy prices declining.
And, there are more. Here is a list of Trump’s anti-conservationist policies from National Geographic: Running List
Bottom Line: This single bill was great but, it does not make Pres. Trump a Conservationist.
14. Trump signed the Save our Seas Act which funds $10 million per year to clean tons of plastic & garbage from the ocean.
True. The Save Our Seas Act 2.0 has three main pieces:
- Strengthen the US domestic marine debris response.
- Enhance global engagement to combat marine debris.
- Improve domestic infrastructure to prevent marine debris. (Read Plastic Waste)
For more info on this bill here is a link to Ocean Conservancy.org: Save Our Seas 2.0
This was a bipartisan effort brought by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) It was approved unanimously!
See #13 for more Environmental research.
15. He signed a bill this year allowing some drug imports from Canada so that prescription prices would go down.
This was actually an executive order signed by the President in July 2020 in response to the pandemic.
Please note: an executive order is not a Bill, Act or Law.
The executive order would allow states, wholesalers and pharmacies to import certain prescription drugs from Canada. (This list does not include insulin.)
The problems this executive order has are many. About 9 out of 10 prescriptions filled in America are generic and tend to be cheaper here than in Canada. The Congressional Budget Office has found that importation could trim drug costs by about 1% over a decade which isn’t much.
And, most importantly, Canada doesn’t want to import their drugs.
A little history: Trump has long supported lowering drug prices as one of his campaign promises and unveiled a plan in 2019 that included drug imports from Canada.
It did not gain traction in the Senate even though Sen Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has long championed lowering drug prices. The House passed a bill in 2019 but Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called it “socialist” and only 2 Republicans voted for it.
Is this a win if it couldn’t get past the Republican-led Senate and Canada doesn’t want to import drugs to the US?
16. Trump signed an executive order this year that forces all healthcare providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much less providers charge insurance companies.
This executive order was signed in June 2019. The goal is to help consumers know the prices and quality of services to make informed decisions on their health care. Great right? Will it work?
Because this is American Health Care, it’s complicated.
It revealed many things such as the national average between the lowest and highest charge is 297%. There was also pricing disparity on a local level.
This means two patients could undergo the same MRI procedure in the same area, with one paying $1,390 and the other paying $615.
Also, the question of being able to shop primarily by price is actually a good thing. Can you drive that far, wait that long in an emergency and should one have to settle for a lower quality service because of price.
This was a great step for our complicated and most expensive healthcare system in the world. But, at best, this executive order only revealed how broken our American Healthcare system is.
This is a heavy topic so here is a great article from Health Affairs.org: Unpacking the Executive Order on Price Transparency.
17. When signing that bill he said no American should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance.
As of writing this, he has not signed a bill into law, this was an Executive Order.
Surprise billing happens often and absolutely should be curbed. Coronavirus has pushed the needle on this but, sadly, action in congress has stalled mainly because of Sen Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t seem to want to include these protections in the next legislative package. (A great reminder to vote in Senate races as well!)
18. Hospitals will now be required to post their standard charges for services, which include the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept.
Yes, this is included in the executive order.
However, none of this is law yet and is being contested. See #16 & #17 for resources.
19. In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month.
To note: These numbers are at best, very accurate guesses.
All three articles note that it is “almost impossible” to have a truly accurate percentage rate because of the severe fluctuations in drug prices and changes in rebates, negotiated discounts and backdoor agreements made every year.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is based on list prices rather than net prices. That said, based on this CPI graph, it looks as though drug prices have gone up (with a slight dip in 2018) since Pre. Trump took office.
20. He created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
Yes, he did. The hotline accepts tips or complaints on VA-related criminal activity, safety issues, mismanagement within the VA and misconduct by senior VA officials. This was a great idea and much needed.
For example, it’s based in West Virginia not at The White House. Despite the promises then Pres.-Elect Trump made, it is still unclear what happens to these complaints or if issues are reaching lawmakers or the President.
Many calls are redirected back to their local VA offices rather than elevating their concerns to the White House as promised.
Here are Veterans writing about their real experience with this hotline: Disabled Veterans.org.
Even so, the official website states it has so far answered more than 250,000 calls and 94% of cases were resolved.
Hopefully, this can be expanded on with more funding and oversight. Our Veterans need so much support.
21. VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
S.1094-The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 aims to get rid of unethical managers and help veterans get health care faster as well as protect whistleblowers against retaliation. In short, to clean up the VA.
After several searches, it seems the only glowing reports come from .gov sites. There are numerous accounts saying it has only created chaos and has harmed its dedicated workforce, largely resulting in the firing of lower-level workers NOT the upper level managers that set policies. You can read the full article here.
After a survey of more than 87,000 VA employees, workers said they are afraid of being fired so that the top managers can get credit for weeding bad employees out.
One wrote: “We cannot make these unattainable standards. Most of us feel like we are being set up to fail so that eventually we can be fired as ‘bad’ employees in the next few years and our jobs can be given to private contractors. I, along with many other employees, are currently working on our resumes because we don’t want to be blindsided. Sad for the VA, because you will lose a lot of hardworking, capable employees that care.”
These claims are backed up in this Military Times article. And, another article from AFGE, the American Federation of Government Employees- the largest federal employee union representing over 700,000 Veterans.
This was a bi-partisan effort led by Sen Marco Rubio (R-FL).
It’s a good step but, is this a win to brag about yet? We may need more time to see.
22. Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
The Executive Order Supporting Veterans During Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life declared a joint action plan by the 3 departments to combat Veteran Suicide by ensuring that the 60 percent of new Veterans who “do not qualify for enrollment in healthcare… will receive treatment and access to services for mental health care for 1 year following their separation of service”. It also aimed to expand peer community outreach and group sessions and extend the peer support for 1 year after Veterans leave the service.
This initiative was made in March 2019 but, the planned release was for March 2020 and was delayed because of the coronavirus.
So, this is still not an active plan yet and remains in limbo. Meanwhile, we are losing about 20 Veterans a day to suicide and that number most likely has gone up during the Covid-19 Crisis.
This is a win only in aspiration not action.
23. Because of a bill signed and championed by Trump, in 2020, most federal employees will see their pay increase by an average of 3.1% — the largest raise in more than 10 years.
The Executive Order on Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay was signed in 2019, not 2020. The pay raise began in Jan 2020.
A great win for federal employees!
24. Trump signed into a law up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for millions of federal workers.
The H.R. 1534 Federal Employee Paid Leave Act for 12 weeks of paid parental leave was included in the 2020 Defense Policy Bill.
This was a bi-partisan effort brought to legislation by Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
To note: The original draft was to include new children including birth/foster/adoption as well as to help care for a sick family member. That last part was dropped by Republicans before it was voted for in the Senate.
It had other problems too. The original bill did not include ALL Federal employees and left out Title 38 Employees. Those include Military, Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, non-judicial employees of the District of Columbia courts, the District of Columbia Public Defender Service, presidential employees and bankruptcy and magistrate judges.
Sen Chuck Shumer (D-NY) introduced a correction bill in Dec 2019 but it was not voted on before the holiday recess.
In April 2020, the correction was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and included an additional 10 weeks paid leave during the pandemic for taking care of a sick family member or to support child care while schools are closed.
25. Trump administration will provide HIV prevention drugs for free to 200,000 uninsured patients per year for 11 years.
True. This initiative, called Ready, Set PrEP, was crafted by HHS Sec Alex Azar, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is made possible primarily because the drug maker Gilead agreed to donate enough supplies to the government to protect 200,000 people over the next 11 years as part of the Federal initiative to reduce new HIV infections by 90% by the year 2030.
To note: only the medication will be free not the appointments or lab tests.
26. All-time record sales during the 2019 holidays.
Is this a win? Reports say retail sales went up 3.4% in 2019 but most of that is attributed to non-store retail- that means Online Sales not Brick and Mortar.
And, now in 2020, we are facing an even more dangerous turn for retail sales.
27. Trump signed an order allowing small businesses to group together when buying insurance to get a better price.
This is a great idea but, it was already in place through the ACA (Obama Care) called Association Health Plans or AHPs. Trump’s executive order wanted to expand on this idea by easing regulations by the ACA.
On the surface, this sounds great but let’s dig deeper.
In this executive order, it clearly eases the restrictions on the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. ERISA was enacted by Congress in 1974 to protect employees by regulating health benefit plans and pensions.
By easing this foundational protection, it leaves consumers vulnerable to fraud which is exactly what happened and why ERISA was enacted in the first place.
After Trump’s executive order, 11 states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump Administration fighting the change. They claimed the change in the rules would allow insurers and private employers to go around the ACA which is… well, Federal Law still and ERISA is very much wrapped up in it.
Basically, this change to ERISA would allow small businesses to get cheaper insurance packages however, that would result in less coverage, destabilize the market and make premiums too expensive for those with pre-existing conditions. Which, under Federal Law and ACA, is illegal.
It was struck down by Federal Judges and they gave the Trump Administration an opportunity to revise it so that it didn’t break Federal Law. Instead, the Trump Administration appealed and oral arguments were in Nov 2019.
After a series of more rounds in court, another oral argument was scheduled for March 20. And, then the pandemic hit.
In short, this executive order complicated things in our already complicated Health Care System. Instead of re-wording the order or refining/expanding on what was already in place the ACA, Trump’s Administration went to court. It’s been 2 years with no end in sight.
Our American healthcare is rife with issues and regardless of your stance on ACA or Obama Care, the Association Health Plans have proven beneficial and popular for small businesses through the ACA.
Is this a win when there was already a measure in place in the ACA?
According to this 2+ year litigation timeline, invalidating the ACA through a court ruling seems more important than getting something helpful to small businesses more specifically written into law.
28. President Trump signed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that provides funding for states to develop maternal mortality reviews to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions & largely focuses on reducing the higher mortality rates for Black Americans.
This is half-true. H.R.1318 — Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2018 is a very important bill that established funding for data collection for HHS and for the states to collaborate with the CDC to investigate why our national rate of maternity-related deaths are so high.
The bill does not specifically state it will be focusing on mortality rates for black Americans. However, it does state several times to include Tribal Maternity Mortality in the studies which is powerful.
This was a bi-partisan effort lead by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVA).
Pres. Trump did not come up with this bill. He signed it when it came to his desk and for that ALL new mothers are better for it.
To note: There is a separate legislation called the Momnibus Act that is being led by the Black Maternal Health Caucus to specifically concentrate efforts on the maternal death rate among Black Americans.
It was introduced in March 2020 by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Il) but has not been voted on presumably because of the Covid-19 crisis.
29. In 2018, President Trump signed the groundbreaking First Step Act, a criminal justice bill which enacted reforms that make our justice system fairer and help former inmates successfully return to society.
H.R.5682 — FIRST STEP Act was passed in 2018 with overwhelming bipartisan support from Republicans and Democrats. It had support from the ACLU and Koch brothers-backed Right on Crime as well as other organizations on the left and the right. That is what is truly groundbreaking.
This was an historic bi-partisan effort initially written by Rep Douglas Collins (R-GA). After the Senate was stalling on the vote, Sen Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a revised version to Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Ultimately, it passed in the Senate 87–12.
To note: The First Step Act is a generous expansion and reauthorization of H.R. 1593- The Second Chance Act that was signed into law by Pres. Bush in 2007.
It was a bipartisan effort lead by then-Sen Joe Biden (D-DE).
The new law essentially allows thousands of people to earn an earlier release from prison and cut prison sentences in the future to reduce prison populations. It makes the reforms of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive to reduce sentences but only at the Federal level.
It did get push back from several Republican Senators including Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen Mike Lee (R-UT). The loudest being Sen Tom Cotton (R-AK) who argued the definition of “productive activities” is defined so vaguely that playing softball, watching movies, etc. would result in early release.
At the time of signing, it would affect about 181,000 prisoners out of the jail and prison population of 2.1 million.
As of 2020, there have been thousands of inmates that were released and then sent back to prison because federal prosecutors have challenged their eligibility.
So, has this been a success? Although many have benefited from this, it might be too soon to see if it has produced true prison/sentencing reform. Here is a page from the Brennan Institute that tracks how the First Step Act is being implemented.
To note: In 2015, A very similar bill S.2123 — Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 was expected to pass but did not, some say due to election year politics. It was refined and 3 years later passed as the First Step Act in 2018.
30. The First Step Act’s reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed Black Americans and reformed mandatory minimums that created unfair outcomes.
Yes, the accomplishments so far according to Sentencing Project.org:
- Reduced 100–1 crack cocaine sentencing disparity benefited over 2,000 people reducing sentencing by an average of 6 years. Black Americans make up 91% of those reductions.
- 342 people approved for elderly home confinement pilot program.
- 107 people received “compassionate release” sentence reductions.
- Expansion of “good-time credits” led to 3,000 releases from federal prisons however one third of those were not true releases and were transferred to the custody of other jurisdictions.
31. The First Step Act expanded judicial discretion in sentencing of non-violent crimes.
Yes, it allows federal judges the ability to skirt the mandatory minimum sentencing if the people have limited or no prior criminal background. This could affect about 2,000 people each year from mandatory sentences.
Here is a breakdown of what is in the law by The Marshall Project non-profit group.
32. Over 90% of those benefitting from the retroactive sentencing reductions in the First Step Act are Black Americans.
This is redundant. See #30.
33. The First Step Act provides rehabilitative programs to inmates, helping them successfully rejoin society and not return to crime.
Yes, this law calls for greater use of reentry programs like halfway houses, home confinement and opportunity to participate in job training and education programs while in prison.
This law also calls for the use of homes for elderly and terminally ill inmates. All these were previously available however there has been a history of denying thousands of inmates, some who die in custody waiting for approval.
To note: One historic thing not mentioned here is the First Step Act also prohibits shackling of pregnant prisoners- a policy since 2008 but has been ignored- and also provides female inmates with free tampons and sanitary napkins.
For more on prison reform, see #29–31 & #76.
34. Trump increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by more than 14%.
H.R.2486 The Future Act signed in Dec 2019 restored a total of $255 million in annual funding that Congress let expire.
The Senate reached a bipartisan deal that also simplified FAFSA (Federal Student Aid). This is estimated to save $2.8 billion over a decade which will be used to support minority institutions.
HBCUs: $85 million/yr
Hispanic-serving Institutions: $100 million/yr
Tribal Schools: $30 million/yr
Variety Other Minority Institutions: $40 million/yr
So, yes, Trump signed this into law thankfully! But, let’s not overlook the swiftness of actions taken by ordinary citizens hammering the doors of Congress to make a swift deal to save this funding.
Also, it is interesting that the Trump Administration isn’t bragging more about the $100 million per year for Hispanic Institutions.
Additionally, it is worth noting that Tribal Schools only got $30 million per year out of the deal. Historically, Tribal Schools need the most funding.
35. Trump signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened HBCUs.
H.R.1892 — Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 made funds available to fully forgive the Katrina Loans of four HBCU schools Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.
Background: The four HBCUs collectively borrowed $360 million after the storm to renovate, refinance debt and build new facilities. This will be a lifeline!
To note: As the name states, this was a bi-partisan legislation introduced by Representative John Larson (D-CT). The Senate amended the original bill and voted 71–28. The House then approved the amended bill at 240–186. And then Pres. Trump signed it into law.
36. New single-family home sales are up 31.6% in October 2019 compared to just one year ago.
This is partially true. Sales were up 31.6% from the previous year but, new home sales actually fell in October 2019.
Regardless, we’re in 2020 now. Home sales are up 13.9% per the Census Bureau in August 2020. Economists attribute it to low mortgage rates due to the pandemic.
37. Made HBCUs a priority by creating the position of executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
Ok, back to HBCUs. Yes, Trump’s executive order moved the position from the Department of Education into the White House. The Executive Director position took months to fill and was finally appointed Johnathan Holifield. Reactions to his appointment were mixed throughout the community due to his lack of experience with HBCUs and the Education sector.
See #34 & 35 for more on HBCUs.
38. Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award at a historically black college for his criminal justice reform accomplishments.
Pres. Trump got this annual award because he signed the First Step Act. He received this award from 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center- a non-profit organization whose mission is focused on criminal justice reform.
After they gave him the award, there was some major blowback sparking protests and boycotts of their annual forum from 10 Democratic then-Presidential nominees.
The reason? Trump’s long history -or lack thereof- for criminal justice reform.
He took a full page ad out in the New York Daily News in 1989, calling for the death penalty of the boys- all POC and minorities. The boys charged were later found innocent by DNA testing and awarded $14 million in 2014.
Even with the exonerations, Trump refused to recant his position that they were guilty.
In 2016, the Black Lives Movement sought to seek attention to the mistreatment of Black Americans by police officers. Trump responded by siding with law enforcement and calling all protesters criminals and “thugs” that needed to be dealt with. The majority of protesters back then were Black Americans.
Running in 2016 (and now in 2020) as a Law & Order President, he has repeatedly claimed that “crime is out of control” and that America is full of dangerous criminals and that he is the only one to keep our streets safe.
To note: The Black Lives Matter Movement has publicly stated repeatedly that their organization maintains the constitutional right to protest against state-sanctioned violence against Black Americans, they do not condone violence and the organization is protesting peacefully.
In 2020, with the Black Lives Matter protests several months in, Trump and his administration have ramped up the original messaging calling all the protesters “terrorists” and “thugs” not to mention tweeting videos of black men attacking white people.
As of this writing, President Trump has yet to change his message or meet with any officials from the Black Lives Matter Movement
So, yes, he signed the First Step Act into law. However, attacking a Black American Justice Reform Movement and calling for more criminals to be locked up while touting prison reform is a confusing message to criminal justice reform advocates.
This is a controversial subject and probably will be for some time. The goal here is to present diverse perspectives for context so the reader has the opportunity to explore their own opinion on these subjects.
If you’d like to learn more about the BLM movement:
Here is a video on a brief history of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
And, here is a video about how the media has falsely portrayed the marches, rallies and riots.
39. The poverty rate fell to a 17-year low of 11.8% under the Trump administration as a result of a jobs-rich environment.
This was the 3rd consecutive year to drop significantly following a declining trend since 2013.
Since Pres. Trump was sworn into office in Jan 2017, this doesn’t seem like a win that Trump can solely claim.
40. Poverty rates for African Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels since the U.S. began collecting such data.
Yes, this is true. However, the poverty rate for Black Americans and Hispanic Americans has been on a steep decline starting in 2013, which would be during the Obama Administration.
See #39 for more info.
41. President Trump signed a bill that creates five national monuments, expands several national parks, adds 1.3 million acres of wilderness, and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been in place for 55 years and is the largest conservation program responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level.
Pres. Trump signed the bill that made this funding permanent so that it would never expire.
This was a bipartisan effort by — Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen Richard Burr (R-NC), and Sen Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Rep Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Rep Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).
See #13 & 14 for more on the Environment.
42. Trump’s USDA committed $124 Million to rebuild rural water infrastructure.
This one is interesting. In 2017, Trump’s first budget plan was to cut this program by $498 million.
In 2018, his administration reversed and the USDA did in fact commit $124 million dollars. In Aug 2020, the USDA has committed to $462 million for the same purpose.
43. Consumer confidence & small business confidence is at an all-time high.
False. The all-time high was in January 2000 with a record 111.40 points. However, if you’re looking at present day, this is a moving target in 2020.
Consumer confidence was at 84.8 points in August 2020 down from 91.7 in July 2020. (The United States has averaged 86.58% from 1952–2020.) So, we’re basically average.
Small Business Confidence is up to 53% as of Aug 2020. However, only 18% of small business owner reported conditions as “Good”.
To note: The argument might be made that these proclamations were made in the pre-Covid 19 era. I would argue that since Donald Trump is our president right now during this crisis, these recent numbers are relevant since they reflect his Administration and how he’s handled the economic crisis during a pandemic.
44. More than 7 million jobs created since election.
Again, with all the jobs lost in the last 7 months, this doesn’t seem relevant.
However, pre-Covid this was still technically false or an exaggeration. As of Jan 2020, the economy added a total of 6.7 million jobs. Just stating the facts.
To note: The average monthly gain in Trump’s first 3 years was 191,000 compared to Obama’s 217,000.
45. More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.
This is false. Assuming this claim was made pre-Covid, it is still false.
The record was in 2008 at 138.4 million which was the highest employed since 1939 when Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking.
You might look at the data and point to the fact that 158 million Americans were employed pre-Covid and say, “That number is bigger”.
It is a bigger number because the Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks by population growth. Essentially, it’s a percentage of the population that is at work, not just the number.
To note: Since Trump took office, the labor force participation rate has fluctuated in a narrow range between 63.2% and 62.8%. It was at its highest in December 2020 —or 0.4 percentage points above where it was the month Trump took office.
(See above links for resources. It’s all in there. Happy reading!)
46. More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since his election.
Unclear. The only source that stated the exact number 400,000 was from White House.gov. Since that is the claim and the White House did not give sources to this data, I had to look a little deeper. What I did find was a murky answer.
Short answer: yes, kind of. I saw anywhere from 348,000 to 487,000 as the number cited across different resources. There was absolutely a boom in manufacturing from mid-2017 to the beginning of 2019. Many contribute that to the tax cut and Trump’s “red tape” cutting policies.
So, is this a bragging right? Absolutely, but it’s also incomplete and is only true for the first 2 years of his presidency.
47. Trump appointed 5 openly gay ambassadors.
Yes, he did as reported here.
If this is to show support to the LGBTQ+ community let’s look at what else his administration has done.
- On Jan 20, 2017- the LGBTQ+ rights page disappeared from the WhiteHouse.gov website as well as a report on LGBTQ+ workers’ rights.
- On Jan 23, 2017- Sen John Kerry’s official apology for the “Lavender Scare” witch hunt in the 1950’s & 60’s was removed from WhiteHouse.gov. The Lavender Scare was a purge of thousands of federal employees that were fired or forced to resign because of their sexuality.
- Feb 15, 2017- the Trump Administration revoked the ACA rule against gender discrimination. The new ‘rule’ allowing discrimination was finalized in June 2020 until a Federal judge blocked it in Aug 2020.
- Feb 22, 2017- Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos revoked Title IX of the Education Amendments which protects LGBTQ+ students.
- March 10, 2017- HUD Secretary Ben Carson withdrew 2 notices impacting LGBTQ people’s rights to access shelter safely and homelessness prevention initiatives targeting LGBTQ+ youth.
- July 26, 2017- Trump reinstated a ban on transgender people serving in the military. (Via Twitter.) This caused disruption in all the military branches. Here is an article from Military Times describing this.
- In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that a person’s gender or sexuality is not grounds to fire someone and that is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- In July 2020, the House added a provision in the 2021 Defense spending bill to end the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people in the military. Meanwhile, Trump is being sued by 6 members of serving members of the armed services and 2 Americans who seek to enlist.
- October 5, 2017- AG Sessions issued a memo rescinding the protections under Title VII of Civil Rights Act apply to transgender people.
- Dec 5, 2017- President Trump says he agrees with businesses hanging signs that state they don’t serve LGBTQ customers.
- January 2018-DHHS established a “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” to support complaints by health care providers who were ‘forced’ to participate in procedures that were against their religious beliefs. Civil Rights leaders saw this as a way to deny care to LGBTQ+ citizens, specifically transgender folks.
Until there is more solid evidence and legal support that Pres. Trump is pro-LGBTQ+, appointing 5 ambassadors does not equate he supports their rights as American Citizens.
And, VP Pence has a long record that hurts this claim.
48. Trump ordered Ric Grenell, his openly gay ambassador to Germany, to lead a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
It’s not clear if Trump “ordered” Richard Grenell to lead the initiative but, Grenell did lead an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality world wide.
Grenell was championing the idea well before the UN position became open. When he was appointed, he came out of the gate threatening to cutting back or withholding intelligence with countries that criminalize homosexuality- namely Iran, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
After 2 years in the post, he only got 1 country to decriminalize homosexuality: Botswana. They overturned the ban during Grenell’s tenure however it was part of a legal challenge that started before Grenell was appointed.
In June 2020, Grenell resigned via tweet.
49. Through Trump’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.
Before we get into it, it must be noted that Trump did not create the ACTeams.
They were created by the DOJ during Pres Bush’s Administration in Feb 2011 as part of the Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative. I detail that a bit below.
In Jan 2019, the DOJ issued this release regarding human trafficking. In it, they state “In 2018, ACTeams saw significant prosecution results, including increases of 10 percent, 75 percent and 106 percent in cases filed, defendants charged and defendants convicted”.
So, this statement is true.
It also states that “in fiscal year 2018, the FBI initiated 649 human trafficking cases and arrested 2453 subjects. The FBI’s efforts contributed to 410 human trafficking conviction and 422 sentences in this same period.”
Here is a record of what else Trump and his Administration have done to combat Child/Human Trafficking:
In Jan 2020, Trump issued the Executive Order to Combat Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation which creates a new position that will be “solely devoted to combat human trafficking.”
*I have not been able to find any mention of who this person is or if they have been appointed.
In Aug 2020, Trump’s administration awarded more than $35million in grants to organizations that provide safe housing for survivors of human trafficking.
To note: In Jan 2020, Pres. Trump said he signed 9 pieces of legislation combatting human trafficking however that is false. He signed 7 pieces of legislation and executive orders which are not laws.
In 2019, Trump signed into law:
- S.1312 — Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017 -This is the original TVPA from back in 2000 and it was split into 4 parts so that the amendments could be detailed. (see below)
- S.1862 — Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 which tightens the criteria used to monitor countries are meeting the minimum standards for combatting human trafficking.
- S.1311 — Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017 which was to supplement funding for domestic trafficking victims through 2023.
- H.R.2200 — Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018* which specifically targeted forced labor and child soldiers. It modifies existing programs to include these issues.
*This was the newest addition and was a bipartisan effort brought to legislation by Rep Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and it had 29 co-sponsors.
In 2018, Trump signed into law:
- H.R.4708 — Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act which will unify and coordinate DHS efforts to address human trafficking.
This was a bipartisan bill brought to legislation by Rep McCaul (R-TX), Rep Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Rep Clay Higgins (R-LA).
- S.534 — Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 which protects young athletes.
This was a bipartisan effort brought to legislation by Sen Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and 29 co-sponsors.
- In 2017, Trump signed into law the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. This law will hold websites accountable who promote and facilitate prostitution and traffickers.
This was brought to legislation by Rep Anne Wagner (R-MO) and was a bipartisan effort with 174 co-sponsors.
To note: In this 2018 fact sheet, Pres. Trump claimed to have created the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking Persons (PITF).
Also to note: There have been many posts on social media that inflate what the Trump administration has done. For example the post below.
As you’ll see in the data from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement below, while using some real numbers the graph above is clearly false. You can read the full fact check here.
In pursuit of facts and truth, it was worth mentioning.
There is no doubt that the Trump Administration has made this a priority and we, as a society, will be better for it.
However, just because we are lookin at this now more than ever, this doesn’t mean this is the first time a president is doing something about Human Trafficking.
Let’s look at what previous administrations have done:
- In 2015, 769 were convicted and sent to prison for human-trafficking, raising the percentage sentenced to prison by 99%.
- In 2015, created the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking appointing 11 members to the council, each member a survivor of human trafficking.
- From 2010 to 2013, the 6 ACTeam districts produced : 114% increase in cases filed, 119% increase in defendants charged and 86% increase in convictions.
- In 2012, Obama called on the agencies to create an Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking.
- In 2011, launched the Human Trafficking Enhanced Enforcement Initiative which included the creation of ACTeams.
- Declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month for the first time in 2011.
Pres G W Bush:
- In 2008, signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 which authorized funding for the TVPA of 2000 (with additions) for another 4 years.
- In 2006, 2,039 suspects were prosecuted and convicted sex offenders sent to prison rose to 96%.
- In 2005, Bush declared that fighting human trafficking was a major commitment of his administration.
- In 2004, Pres. Bush hosted the First National Training Conference to Combat Human Trafficking. The attendees included “hundreds of state, local and federal officials who work together to combat human trafficking in communities across America”.
- In 2003, signed a National Security Presidential Directive to fight against trafficking and officially establish the Cabinet-level Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons that was introduced in 2002. This task force paved the way for ACTeams.
- In 2002, there were approximately 125 open trafficking investigations, nearly twice as many as the previous 2 years.
- In 2001–2002, Bush’s DOJ prosecuted 76 traffickers-3 times as many as the previous 2 years.
- In 2001, in response to Pres. Clinton’s Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, created an annual Trafficking in Persons Report.
Here is the transcript of the announcement. The question/answer part is particularly interesting.
- Signed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) into law in Oct 2000. It was renewed in 2003, 2006, 2008 and then in 2013 became part of the Violence Against Women Act.
- In 1998, Pres. Clinton created the first presidential directive ever issued on the subject of trafficking with the Presidential Directive on Steps to Combat Violence Against Women and Trafficking in Women and Girls. This initiative did not only focus on the US but expanded the efforts world-wide.
- That directive allocated funds for protection and assistance for victims regarding mental health counseling, emergency shelter and other services. With the DOJ and Department of Labor, it created a Worker Exploitation Task Force* that investigates and prosecutes trafficking cases.
*This Task Force seems to be the beginning of the ACTeams that Obama and Trump continued and expanded on in future administrations.
To note: This initiative was the first of its kind and created the coalitions and promoted collaboration with many countries outside of the US to catch and prevent trafficking victims before it happens and most importantly to prosecute to the fullest of the law.
Here is the breakdown from the State Dept. archives: Clinton Administration Anti-Trafficking Initiatives.
This is just the last 4 Presidents’ record. But it does show that for over 20 years, our presidents, their DOJs and bipartisan members of Congress have done a lot to combat Child and Human Trafficking.
Though, through this research, it does look like Pres. G W Bush has done the most to bring it to light and bring the world together to fight it.
To note: Considering it is such a priority of his the Trump Administration, it was surprising to find that Trump’s numbers of prosecutions in 2019 are on the decline from previous years.
See #9 for more Human Trafficking resources.
50. In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking.
This is referencing the dismantling of Backpage.com, a classified online advertising site that had a controversial “adult” section. Federal agents raided the home of the co-founder in Arizona and he was eventually indicted with 93 counts involving human trafficking and prostitution.
Through a bipartisan Senate sub-committee effort led by Sen Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) the website was shut down.
To note: In 2016, prosecutors in California, including then Attorney General Kamala Harris, charged Backpage.com executives with money laundering to profit from prostitution ads on the website.
Unfortunately, a judge threw out the charges and declared the site was protected by the First Amendment.
See #9 and #49 for more Human Trafficking info and resources.
51. Trump’s OMB published new anti-trafficking guidance for government procurement officials to more effectively combat human trafficking.
This is true. This memorandum aims to make it easier for a contractor to report a human trafficking incident. It also includes advice to officers to “consider a range of mitigating factors” such as how quickly the contractor notified the government and presence of systemic violations.
This seems to be an enhancement of the previous efforts and to make tracking easier and to determine a “threshold for reporting credible information”.
See #9, 49 & 50 for more Human Trafficking info and resources.
52. Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested 1,588 criminals associated with Human Trafficking.
Yes, but this is misleading. There were that many arrests but, the DOJ only secured 526 convictions . Out of those convictions, only 256 were prosecuted specifically for human trafficking.
See #9, 49-51 for more Human Trafficking info and resources.
53. Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services provided funding to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline to identify perpetrators and give victims the help they need.
As far as I can tell, HHS has been funding this since 2007. Operated by Polaris, a Global Human Trafficking non-profit organization. It’s a far-reaching organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking.
See #9, 49–52 for more Human Trafficking resources.
54. The hotline identified 16,862 potential human trafficking cases.
This is true per the State Department report. I couldn’t find that number reported anywhere else though.
See #9, 49–53 for more Human Trafficking resources.
55. Trump’s DOJ provided grants to organizations that support human trafficking victims — serving nearly 9,000 cases from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
This is an odd one. In my research I found that yes, the DOJ provided grants to organizations that support victims. However, that seems like something that was mandated in the TVPA from the year 2000 that I mentioned above.
The DOJ has been providing grants for 20 years.
The stats about 9,000 cases were harder to find other than on the whitehouse.gov site. The only other places I could find this were republican run websites citing the White House proclamation.
This would be an extraordinary number to report on official state department documents. If this is a true number, I hope they do.
See #9, 49–54 for more Human Trafficking resources.
56. The Department of Homeland Security has hired more victim assistance specialists, helping victims get resources and support.
This is something that DHS does every year through the TVPA and the expansions since at least 2013.
I couldn’t find any evidence that they were hiring more human trafficking victim’s specialists. I did find that the Trump administration were hiring specialists for victims of crimes committed by immigrants but then will only receive funding and resources from existing sources.
So, no new jobs and a very ambiguous claim from this post.
See #9, 49–55 for more Human Trafficking resources.
57. President Trump has called on Congress to pass school choice legislation so that no child is trapped in a failing school because of his or her zip code.
Yes, he and Betsy DeVos did call on Congress to pass legislation for school vouchers however, nothing has come from this yet.
Giving parents and their children school choice has been contested for years because the proposals take money allocated for Public Schools. We shall see what happens with this.
To note: Calling on Congress without any result does not equate an accomplishment.
58. The President signed funding legislation in September 2018 that increased funding for school choice by $42 million.
True, however this one is a bit outdated in 2020 since Trump is pursuing a $5 billion voucher program as we speak.
So, if you’re for it this is great. If you’re against it, this is seen as siphoning public school funds to give privately funded schools government money.
59. The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump promote school choice by allowing families to use 529 college savings plans for elementary and secondary education.
This is true but, the statement is misleading. This only benefits people who go to private schools.
The TCJA has expanded the use of 529 savings plans to distribute up to $10,000 per student to cover public, private or religious elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.
The catch is this savings account plan is only available in eligible states and schools and even then, might depend on what you are trying to cover; housing, tuition, etc.
It’s very complicated and ultimately depends on if the private schools want to participate.
Here is a breakdown if you’re curious: Qualified Expenses 529.
To note: To clarify, the “tax cut” doesn’t mean your existing taxes are being cut, it just means that your future savings under this program won’t be taxed.
Critics have argued this is a potential tax shelter for very wealthy families who could afford private schools regardless and doesn’t assist lower and middle-class families. Worth mentioning for context.
60. Under his leadership ISIS has lost most of their territory and been largely dismantled.
All of the articles and research shows this is an over simplified statement.
The US has been officially fighting ISIS (formerly ISIL) since 2014. We joined a Global Coalition to defeat Daesh (later changed to ISIL then ISIS) in response to the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars. To date, there are 82 countries around the globe participating.
Overall, ISIS is much weaker now and experts say Pres. Trump deserves some credit.
However, military leaders around the world say the strategy he used is pretty much the same strategy that was formed in the Global Coalition during the Obama administration.
And, that makes sense because the Chairman, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders leading the military campaigns in areas with ISIS presences all remained in place when the Trump Administration came in.
If this was true when this was posted, it isn’t anymore. Isis has not been “largely dismantled”.
As of Feb 2020, because of the stunning losses of territory and the killing of al-Baghdadi, Kurdish leaders (who have been our biggest allies in this fight) are warning that ISIS is gaining more momentum and recruitment is at an all-time high in response to these defeats.
It would be better to look at the way the Trump Administration has dealt with Iran to answer this question fully.
The US confrontations with Iran include the US withdrawing from the nuclear deal and killing Iran’s General Soleimani and getting involved in the Syrian war, allowing Russian intervention and pulling US troops out whose sole purpose was to fight ISIS.
All of these actions with Iran have potentially caused a domino effect of instability in the whole region that continues in 2020.
Every American remains hopeful but, I’m not sure Pres. Trump can claim this one yet.
61. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed.
True. This was a significant blow to ISIS to further scatter leadership.
However, the military leaders who had been working on “Operation Inherent Resolve” argue that killing their leader and then pulling out of the region was the wrong thing to do.
In Nov 2019, the Pentagon released their quarterly report to Congress that stated Islamic State is again growing in power despite Al-Baghdadi’s death.
The Pentagon Inspector General and other military leaders have clearly stated the decision to rapidly pull troops out of Syria, diverting attention from diplomacy in Iraq and Pres. Trump’s policies have enabled ISIS to regroup into a stronger insurgency.
In short, by declaring victory over ISIS and leaving the region, Pres. Trump directed the US military to abandon the Syrian Kurds -our biggest allies against ISIS- to be exposed to Turkey and Russia.
Turkey then stormed the newly unprotected area on the border of Turkey and Syria and the whole region is now in the middle of a dangerous military conflict.
Here is an up-to-the-minute update of the timeline regarding the US/Syria involvement.
To note: I am not a military expert and this is all included for context. My aim is to provide varying perspectives for the reader’s further research.
For more resources, see #60.
62. Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
H.R. 2353 — Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the reauthorization of The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act from 2006 to continue $1billion in funding.
It passed with an amendment from Sen Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) that limits the Education Department’s role and allows states to decide how the money is used.
This was a bi-partisan effort brought by Rep Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and had 40 bi-partisan co-sponsors.
63. Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.
Signed in June 2017, this executive order doubled the amount of money for apprenticeship grants from $90 million to almost $200 million/year.
Its aim was to reduce red-tape and create jobs. It is argued that limiting the Dept. of Labor oversight will reduce quality and shift funds from other training programs.
Despite the criticism, modernization of apprenticeships has been a productive bipartisan talking point for Congress within the Trump Administration.
To note: The Registered Apprenticeship system was established 80 years ago known as the Fitzgerald Act and created industry codes to regulate competition, wages, working conditions and quality of services.
64. Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith.
This executive order did not single out Christians. It covered ALL religions. Religious freedom for everyone is a worthy goal not just in the US but worldwide.
This hopefully will bring global awareness to all of the religious persecutions that are happening all over the world and in the US.
International attacks on Christians in Nigeria, Uighur Muslims in China and many more are being persecuted, killed or put in concentration camps in 2020.
In the US, crimes against Jews and Muslims have spiked steadily since 2015.
Here is an interesting article by George Yancey from Baylor University. He breaks down the definition of true persecution vs general social attitudes and the realities based on data and his opinion as a devout Christian.
65. Signed an executive order that allows the government to withhold money from college campuses deemed to be anti-Semitic and who fail to combat anti-Semitism.
Yes, this executive order does in fact do that. Signed in Dec 2019, some argue that this will create muddy waters in criticism of the highly controversial Israeli/Palestinian situation. This is categorized as “political speech” and protected under the First Amendment.
There is an on-going debate on college campuses in the US regarding the First Amendment and free speech.
66. President Trump ordered a halt to U.S. tax money going to international organizations that fund or perform abortions.
True. This memo reinstated and expanded on Pres. Reagan’s policy from 1984 which has been in effect in one form or another for 19 of the past 34 years.
This policy requires NGOs to not “perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning” even if they are legal in that location and the NGO is not using US funds.
Regardless of personal views on abortion, organizations who are involved in giving healthcare to vulnerable populations have called this policy a “gag rule”.
This policy has inserted US policy into International NGO practices and directly affects an NGO’s ability to be autonomous from any one country’s policies.
They argue that it undermines the ability to provide quality healthcare to under-privileged populations as abortions will happen regardless and NGO’s can make sure they happen safely.
67. Trump imposed sanctions on the socialists in Venezuela who have killed their citizens.
Oh, Venezuela. Yes, Trump did impose sanctions on Venezuela. But it was not because socialists killed their citizens.
It was in direct response to Venezuelan Pres. Nicolas Maduro rewriting the country’s constitution, moving the election and banning specific groups from voting. Then, his election win was found fraudulent and Maduro refused to leave office.
The Trump Administration (and most of the world) backed his political rival Juan Guaido. The US took a stand against Maduro trying to create a dictatorship and letting his country fall to ruins.
As far as the “socialist” comment, let’s break this down.
Venezuela has had a very troubled political history with dictators, coups and overthrows in the government every few years. Even with all of this unrest, Venezuela was consistently rich in oil and they were considered a very rich country with room to grow.
In 1976, Venezuela’s oil and steel industries were nationalized and through the 80’s oil prices dropped worldwide. Anti-Communist Democratic leaders such as Pres. Romulo Betancourt tried and failed to right the ship.
In 1992, Hugo Chavez lead two coup attempts and was jailed. Economic depression, riots and strikes fueled Chavez’s popularity and amplified his political message of redistribution of wealth and resources.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected in a Democratic Election. One year later, he launched his “Bolivarian Revolution” derived from the ideology of Simon Bolivar in the 19th century. Bolivar’s ideology was severely anti-imperialist and based in Marxism.
Once elected, Chavez wrote a new constitution, created a new government that destroyed all other political institutions so that his was the only one left.
His political ideology later became known as Chavism (or Chavismo) which blended democratic socialism and populism and eventually authoritarianism.
Conditions drastically improved for ordinary Venezuelans under Chavez. Unemployment rates were cut in half, income per capita doubled, poverty rates went down and education improved. He won 4 Democratic elections.
In 2002–3, in response to a national strike, Chavez fired 19,000 employees in their nationalized oil industry and replaced them with people loyal to his government.
He siphoned money from their booming oil industry and funneled it into his social programs without building on the infrastructure for their money-making resource: oil.
In 2013, Chavez died and his vice president, Nicolas Maduro was elected president after an emergency election was called. Maduro won by 1.6% and challengers demanded a recount. But he was proclaimed president without one.
Maduro increased his authoritarian rule by throwing political opponents in prison, replacing the country’s parliament with loyalists and killing demonstrators.
With the decline in oil prices, the country’s entire economic infrastructure collapsed and hyperinflation caused homelessness and starvation. Since 2014, 5 million Venezuelans have left their country seeking food, work and a better life.
Venezuela’s history and how it got to where it is today is extremely complicated however, it’s not necessarily “socialism” that caused its demise.
Venezuela is another example that any country under authoritarian rule can lead to corruption, mismanagement and ultimately a country’s ruin.
Here is a video that defines the varying degrees of Capitalism, Socialism and Communism:
68. Finalized new trade agreement with South Korea.
These changes included steel export restrictions, bigger quota for US cars imported to Korea, extension of tariffs on pickup trucks, changes to Korean medicine prices and additional procedures for Korean customs inspections.
69. Made a deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
Yes, he did. It rose from $18.5 billion per month in 2016 to $29 billion in 2018. It fell slightly to $26.9 billion in 2019.
70. Withdrew the U.S. from the job killing TPP deal.
In 2018, Pres. Trump withdrew from TPP and the remaining 11 nations negotiated their own trade agreement. Some argue that the US is hurt more by tariffs because we were not at the negotiating table when it was ratified by the other countries.
By pulling out, the US industries negatively affected are wheat, beef, pork, dairy, wine, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
So, this is a win for the manufacturing industry but, this came as a loss for the agricultural sector.
71. Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
This is almost true. Or at least, exaggerated. The trade deal with China was for $200 billion by 2021, but, didn’t guarantee anything after that. This agreement was in direct response to Pres. Trump’s trade war with China and US agricultural exports taking a steep dive.
Many small, independently run farms had to file for bankruptcy as a result of the trade war. Some argue that this “trade deal” is fixing a problem that the trade war caused.
And, with Vietnam, it was raised to $11.12 billion up from the $9.94 billion forecast. So, this is good news but, it’s really only about $1 billion more than what we would have had.
72. Okay’d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.
To be clear, this need for aid for US farmers was a direct result of Pres. Trump’s trade war with China.
Here are the bailouts by year since the trade war began:
2017: $11.5 billion
2018: $12 billion
2019: $28 billion
2020: $32 billion
To note: The number for the year 2020 is $32 billion in bailouts for farmers, more than twice the amount Pres. Obama paid automakers in 2009.
To be fair, the grand total for the auto industry bailout was $80.7 billion and most of these taxpayer dollars have been paid back.
See #70 and #71 for more research on Trade.
73. Has had over a dozen US hostages freed, including those Obama could not get freed.
Yes, he did. However, this is an exaggeration.
This statement might be referencing Pres. Trump announcing (via Twitter) that he freed hostages in North Korea that Obama couldn’t.
That claim is mostly false. According to the State Department, two of the three hostages were imprisoned in April and May 2017, after Trump became President.
To note: In 2015, Pres. Obama broke with US Presidential protocol and negotiated with Iran to get 5 American hostages freed.
So, if anyone is “keeping score” it’s Obama-15 and Trump-17. Although, it seems odd to make people’s lives a competition. All of these can be celebrated equally.
For a point of context, it’s not clear if the Obama administration was at fault here since hostage negotiation info is classified until it’s not.
For example, in 1979–80, Pres. Carter worked for 14 months with the Iranian government and released millions of dollars to get the 52 hostages freed. They were released the day Pres. Reagan was inaugurated in 1981 and Reagan largely took credit for their freedom.
To note: Since Pres. Nixon, the United States has had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists or paying blackmail to hostage takers of US citizens. It is seen as an encouragement to hostage takers.
74. Trump signed the Music Modernization Act, the biggest change to copyright law in decades.
True. This was an update to HR 1551- Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act to bring copyright laws into the digital era.
It ensures that songwriters and artists receive royalties, allocates royalties for music producers and updated licensing and royalty rules for streaming services.
This was a bipartisan effort led by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) and had 32 co-sponsors.
75. Trump secured Billions that will fund the building of a wall at our southern border.
Pres. Trump promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. They haven’t and won’t.
These “billions” partially come from tax-payer military funds taking money away from hundreds of projects including military on-base schools, counter-drug operations, hurricane relief and training facilities.
In short, the US taxpayers are paying for the wall.
To note: As of this writing, that number is up to $18.4 billion taxpayer dollars. So far, over 300 miles of wall have been built and only 8 are new.
Also, to note: Steve Bannon (former Trump adviser and Breitbart executive) has been arrested and charged for fraud in the “We Build the Wall” organization. They raised $25 million in private donations to fund the wall.
Everyday Americans are paying for it whether they want it or not.
76. The Trump Administration is promoting second chance hiring to give former inmates the opportunity to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment.
This was already partially covered in #76–77 but here’s some more info:
H.R. 1593- The Second Chance Act was signed into law by Pres. Bush in 2007. It was a bipartisan effort lead by then-Sen Joe Biden (D-DE).
It was reauthorized and expanded on several times during the Obama administration. Since 2009, the Second Chance Act has provided more than 900 grants across 49 states, impacting more than 164,000 people.
In 2018, Pres. Trump signed S.756- First Step Act into law which also reauthorized The Second Chance Act.
This was also a bipartisan effort from Sen Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
See #29–33 & #76–77 for more on prison reform.
78. President Trump’s historic tax cut legislation included new Opportunity Zone Incentives to promote investment in low-income communities across the country.
Yes, this was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The Opportunity Zones create tax incentives to encourage those with capital gains to invest in low-income communities. (A capital gain is when you sell an asset for more than you paid for it.)
Very basically, the tax incentives occur when a property is purchased in an Opportunity Zone in a qualified area through a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOD). This QOD defers and potentially reduce the tax on capital gains until 2026 and allows the ability to invest your capital in other areas.
Qualified Opportunity Zones are designated by the state and certified by the Sec of US Treasury via the IRS.
Opportunity zones have lower incomes, higher poverty and unemployment rates and are mostly “less white and more Hispanic and black”.
The intent aims to help poor communities build up small businesses and create local jobs. However, only 7 percent of Americans report taxable capital gains.
In short, this tax incentive benefits those who have the money, assets or the capital to invest enough money in these communities to make this count as an incentive.
As of 2020, it is showing that this helps big developers and investors, not the mom and pop stores. Here is a list of very rich folks who are already benefiting from this tax break.
79. 8,764 communities across the country have been designated as Opportunity Zones.
Yes, here is the list.
80. Opportunity Zones are expected to spur $100 billion in long-term private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the country.
As of this writing, there is no evidence to support this.
See #78 & 79 for more info on Opportunity Zones.
81. Trump directed the Education Secretary to end Common Core.
Common Core has not been ended. Since Common Core is not Federal Law, it is up to the states to sign on and implement or not. Neither Pres. Trump nor Education Sec. DeVos can end it without a new federal law from Congress.
Common Core is a set of K-12 education standards that individual states create to establish guidelines to ensure American students are prepared for entry-level careers, freshman-level college courses and workforce-training programs.
The Obama Administration encouraged states to adopt it in 2010. 5 years later, 41 states and the District of Columbia adopted Common Core by 2011. Many states adopted fully. Some states adopted and then proposed re-writes of some or all of the requirements.
There has been a lot of pushback from both parties and independents stating it homogenizes learning and the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work. Again, it is up to the individual states to ultimately decide.
Common Core has remained controversial and a talking point specifically in the Republican Party since then.
To note: The basic elements of Common Core can be traced back to Pres. Carter’s administration when he established the Department of Education in 1979.
When Reagan was running for president against Carter, he used the creation of the department as an example of federal government over-reach and ran on a platform that included abolishing the department completely.
82. Trump signed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund into law.
This was a reauthorization of the Sept 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. This newest authorization made the law permanent and with funding through 2090.
To note: Pres. Trump did not craft or formally support this bill to become law until the signing.
Here’s how the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund became law:
- The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 (VCF) was created by Congress September 22, 2001 after the 9/11 attack on the WTC towers. It was originally $7.375 billion to cover claims relating to injuries and deaths related to the attacks.
- The bill also stated that in order to receive payment, the victims waived their rights to sue the airlines or the owners of the World Trade Center buildings for inadequate escape routes. Many victims chose to pursue court litigations instead of taking payments from the government.
- In 2003, the VCF stopped accepting claims and in 2004 finished processing all remaining claims.
- In 2005, a bill was introduced by Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for a permanent compensation fund for survivors and first responders who were getting sick or dying and were saddled with medical payments and poor health. It did not come to a vote.
- In 2009, Rep Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Zadroga Act to the House. It eventually became the First Responders Bill. Republicans filibustered the bill and comedian Jon Stewart (host of the Daily Show at the time) dedicated a full episode to first responders.
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Video Clip)…
9/11 first responders express their thoughts on Mitch McConnell's tearful sendoff of a retiring friend and Jon Kyl's…
- In 2011, Pres. Obama signs the First Responders Bill (aka the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act) into law which also reactivated the VCF from 2001.
- The law established a health program and funds for first responders, volunteers and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. The law expanded health coverage and compensation to those who developed health problems and death from exposure to the toxic chemicals due to the collapse of the buildings.
- In 2012, 58 types of Cancer and health conditions were linked to the 9/11 aftermath.
- In 2015, Pres. Obama reauthorizes the Zadroga Act which extends VCF claims through 2020. However, the Zadroga Act did not guarantee long-term care and was only funded until 2020.
- In Feb 2019, the VCF ran out of money for the fund and there was no movement in Congress to allocate new funds by 2020.
- In June 2019, Jon Stewart (formerly from the Daily Show) went to Capitol Hill to speak about the 9/11 VCF and the need to vote on the bill and make it law. Many lawmakers in Congress skipped the congressional meeting.
- A day after Jon Stewart’s testimony, the Judicial Committee voted to move the Never Forget the Heroes Act to the House and then to the Senate for a vote. It passed the House 402–12.
- Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) were able to block the bill from coming to a vote in the Senate, citing it was too expensive.
- In July 2019, the Senate reached an agreement and brought it to a vote. It passed the senate 97–2.
To note: In Sept 2020, as I was writing this, it came to light that Pres. Trump’s Treasury Department under Steve Mnuchin has withheld up to $4 million dollars from the WTC Health program that benefits first responder health care. This is a developing story but, worth mentioning for context.
83. Trump signed measure funding prevention programs for Veteran suicide.
This redundant. See #22 for more references.
84. Companies have brought back over a TRILLION dollars from overseas because of the TCJA bill that Trump signed.
But to get an accurate read, one must look at the whole picture. Despite the $1 Trillion gain from TCJA, other Trump Admin legislation will be increasing the national debt by trillions.
To note: This is from 2019 (pre-Covid).
85. Manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate in more than 30 years.
This was true in 2018 however manufacturing stalled in 2019 significantly.
And, 2020 is an entirely different story due to Covid.
See #46 for more research.
86. Stock Market has reached record highs.
This is true in a general sense however it was higher on average during Pres. Obama’s administration.
The single day’s record belongs to Pres. Trump and it was was reached in Feb 2020.
In March 2020, the stock market crashed and has been steadily recovering over the summer through the worldwide pandemic.
To note: The stock market contributes but does not make the entirety of a healthy economy. The wealthiest 10% of Americans own 87% of stocks and mutual funds in the market.
87. Median household income has hit highest level ever recorded.
True. The US Census Bureau reported this in 2017 during the first year of Pres. Trump’s first term.
Household income has been on the rise steadily since 2010. As this graph shows, following the 2008 crash, it seems we have finally surpassed 1999’s median income 20 years later.
See #11 for more resources.
88. African-American unemployment is at an all time low (was until covid bullsh*t).
(Sorry for the swear word- original poster’s word not mine.)
This is true. It should be noted that the black unemployment rate had been steadily falling since 2011. And, at 6.6%, black unemployment is still more than double the white unemployment rate of 3.2% in 2018.
While this sounds great, these numbers are averages for the whole country. To get the real data, you have to look at the fact that many states remain stagnant and unemployment gaps remain consistent.
For example, in District of Columbia, the black unemployment rate is 11.3%, Pennsylvania 10.2%, Louisiana 10%, and Mississippi 9.1%.
Meanwhile, the highest unemployment for whites was West Virginia at 5%.
See #40 for more resources.
89. Hispanic-American unemployment is at an all time low.
True but, the same trends are as stated above. Unemployment for Hispanic-Americans has been on a downward decline since 2010 during the Obama administration.
90. Asian-American unemployment is at an all time low.
91. Women’s unemployment rate is at a 65-year low.
This was true before the Covid-19 crisis and the trend has remained strong since 2009.
However, in 2020, women have been the hardest hit with unemployment.
92. Youth unemployment is at a 50-year low.
This was true in 2018. However, the data suggests that number is skewed by teens and college-age students opting for summer school, volunteer work or other unpaid activities during the time this was announced.
In 2020, Covid-19 youth unemployment has surged. Many college age kids have been forced to move back home even after graduating and struggle to find work.
To note: All of the data shows that these unemployment rates (pre-Covid) are trends that started under the Obama administration and were continuing throughout the Trump administration.
I only point this out because all the data shows that the trends were consistent over 6–8 years leading up to and continuing after Pres. Trump came office.
Using un-biased facts and official data, it is clear that Pres. Trump cannot take all the credit for these statistics.
See #40, #89–92 for resources.
93. We have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded.
This is false. Unemployment rates were lower in the 1944 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
94. The Pledge to America’s Workers has resulted in employers committing to train more than 4 million Americans.
Unclear. In 2018, Pres. Trump signed an executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker. As part of this council, the Trump Administration challenged companies and trade groups to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers, committing to expand programs to educate, train and re-skill American workers.
According to WhiteHouse.gov more than 430 companies have signed on, pledging over 16 million “opportunities” for workers over the next 5 years. Beyond signing the pledge, it is unclear how many actual jobs are being awarded directly connected to the program.
In 2019, it was found that several companies pledged opportunities that matched the amount of jobs they train annually- not necessarily the creation of new jobs. Many already had training and skill developments in place and boosted their commitment numbers annually in response to the challenge.
To note: Many of the companies that signed the pledge are outsourcing thousands of jobs after being awarded government contracts from the Trump Administration.
This is something Pres. Trump has said he would not support throughout his term.
95. 95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future — the highest ever.
Now in 2020, the positive outlook is at 33.9% as companies attempt to recover from Covid-19’s impact.
See #46 for more resources.
96. As a result of the Republican tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years.
This is true only for small businesses that are organized as “pass-through” companies- sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations.
The good news is that most small businesses do.
To note: This will always depend on the tax rate for pass-through businesses which varies by state.
97. Record number of regulations eliminated that hurt small businesses.
Pres. Trump announced that his administration had repealed 22 regulations for each new rule issued.
Here is the list of regulations that have been removed compiled by Brookings Deregulation Tracker.
Here’s a good article on regulations and how it affects small and big businesses.
98. Signed welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults who don’t have children to work or look for work if they’re on welfare.
Pres. Trump signed an executive order which included stronger work requirements for welfare recipients. The order did not set a new policy or produce clear reform.
Instead, it called on federal agencies to enforce current work requirements, propose stronger requirements and find savings (read: make cuts).
This follows the popular conservative line of thought regarding welfare that recipients abuse assistance programs and don’t want to work.
However, the data shows that childless adults receive limited government assistance and those that do work in some capacity. The assistance for this demographic is primarily SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).
Here is a study that breaks down the demographic this executive order is targeting.
The data shows that:
- Most childless adults on SNAP who can work do.
- 1/2 are white, 1/3 are Black, 1/10 are Hispanic.
- 1/4 don’t have high school education.
- The Average SNAP recipient receives $127 a month or $1.39 per meal.
To note: There was already a 3-month cap in place for childless adults to receive SNAP assistance when this executive order was issued.
- 19% of the US population uses welfare programs.
- Two thirds of participants in these programs are children, elderly and people with disabilities who are not expected to work.
- 43% of recipients are white.
- Government assistance includes SNAP, Disability Insurance, Medicaid and housing programs.
99. Under Trump, the FDA approved more affordable generic drugs than ever before in history.
This is true however in 2019 drug makers hiked drug prices 17% higher, even the generic ones.
Great gesture but, I don’t think this is a win yet.
100. Reformed Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging low-income seniors on their drugs — saving seniors 100’s of millions of $$$ this year alone.
In 2018, the Trump Administration revised an outdated rule in the Medicare Advantage Program making it mandatory that hospitals prescribe the lower cost drugs to seniors.
On the surface, this is great. However, it backfired when it went into effect in 2019. For those seniors with Medicare Part D, patients now have a deductible went up in 2020 and the threshold is expected to go up in 2021.
With most seniors on Medicare on a fixed income, any increase could be harmful to their financial security.
To make matters worse, the hospitals did not pass on the savings to use for discounts for low-income care as they were expected to but, actually pocketed the savings as profits for their bottom line.
So, this is a false statement since it did not reform to the benefit of seniors. The average prices for seniors actually went up and the hospitals found a loophole for profit.
To note: In May 2020, Pres. Trump announced a cap on insulin for seniors to go into effect in 2021. That is definitely a win.
101. Signed Right-To-Try legislation allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental treatment that wasn’t allowed before.
True. The Right to Try Act was signed in May 2018 and 41 states have adopted it as law. This is great news to many but some critics warn that pharmaceutical companies will be able to sell un-tested drugs.
In a letter to Congress, The American Society of Clinical Oncology (consisting of 40 health organizations) cited the birth defects resulting from Thalidomide as “an example of what happens when drugs are given to humans without proper safety review and approval”.
102. Secured $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
True. H.R.6 — SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law in 2018 that allocated $6 billion to fight opioids as well as any other kind of substance abuse.
It is considered a healthcare act because it focuses on health care professionals, prescription monitoring and tracking and very importantly, opioid treatment programs are now covered by Medicare.
This was a bipartisan effort introduced by Rep Greg Walden (R-OR). It received votes of 396–14 in the House and 99–1 in the Senate.
To note: In 2019, HHS announced additional funding to states to combat the opioid crisis that brought the total to $9 billion by the end of that year. :)
103. Signed VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, expanded VA tele-health services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
True, however this was already in place. H.R. 3230 — Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was a bipartisan bill that was first signed by Pres. Obama in 2014. This is to allow Veterans to get subsidized VA coverage if they are referred to a hospital outside of the VA.
In 2017, Pres. Trump reauthorized the bill and eliminated the expiration date and authorized funding to keep the program afloat.
Veterans still have to pay their co-pays from the VA and from hospitals outside of the VA through the Choice Act.
See #20–22 for more on Veterans.
104. U.S. oil production recently reached all-time high so we are less dependent on oil from the Middle East.
This is redundant. It was covered in #7.
105. The U.S. is a net natural gas exporter for the first time since 1957.
106. NATO allies increased their defense spending because of his pressure campaign.
NATO European Allies and Canada have increased their spending since 2014. That increase started during Pres. Obama’s second term.
The main reason for the increase is that in 2019, many smaller NATO allies met or exceeded their previously agreed 2% economic output from the 2014 agreement.
It is unclear if this increase was a result from pressure from Pres. Trump.
107. Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord in 2017 and that same year the U.S. still led the world by having the largest reduction in Carbon emissions.
The Paris Climate Accord is very controversial in the US. Pres. Trump and many conservatives have argued that it will “kill” US jobs by making the commitments in the terms even though many economists say otherwise.
The United States already employs more people in solar energy than in fossil fuels by 3–1 in 2019.
In contrast, coal consumption fell to its lowest point in 39 years and coal plants have been closing despite Pres. Trump’s support for them. In 2020, there are only 50,000 coal miners in the US or 0.04% of the American workforce.
Around the world, the fossil fuel industry has been on a steady decline for years and the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be accelerating the damage. Responding to the change in consumer demands, Big Oil like Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron and other leaders in the fuel industry have publicly supported the Paris Climate Accord.
The International Labor Organization reports that 24 million jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the objectives of the Paris Agreement are met. That could offset the 6 million job losses with a surplus of 18 million new jobs around the world as countries shift to renewable power structures.
Setting the fossil fuel industry aside, many other industry leaders agree that taking a proactive approach will be a great investment in our country’s future. The agricultural industry, real estate, banking and even the Department of Defense.
See #7 for more info.
108. Has his circuit court judge nominees being confirmed faster than any other new administration.
This is false. The number of Circuit Court Judges confirmed as of Sept 2020 is 216.
Pres. Carter had more confirmed judges at this point in his presidency with 239.
To note: Presidents don’t confirm judges, Congress does. This is done through the Senate Judiciary Committee as per the United States Constitution.
Confirmations are only happening because Pres. Trump has had Senate Majority support and they have been very focused and prioritized filling these positions.
For context, Sen Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deliberately slowed Congress from confirming judges leaving them open from Obama’s administration for the Trump Administration to fill.
109. Had his Supreme Court Justice’s Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.
True. Again, very controversial in American politics. The credit for Neil Gorsuch being confirmed really should go to Sen. Mitch McConnell for blocking the nomination of Justice Merrick Garland in 2016, leaving that opening for Trump to fill a year later.
Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed shortly after Justice Kennedy abruptly retired from the Supreme Court in July 2018. This prompted speculation that Justice Kennedy retired to protect his son who worked for Deutsche Bank when they approved a billion-dollar loan to Donald Trump before he was president. Here is a breakdown.
110. Moved U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
True. Pres. Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and moved the US embassy in 2018. This move contradicted decades of US policy that supported a 2-state country of Israel.
Protests erupted and tensions increased between Israelis and Palestinians. More than 40 people died and over 1,600 were injured because of it. There is still violent conflict happening every day in the region.
Some history on Israel and Palestine:
Arab-Israeli tensions have been around for 30 centuries. On top of that, Jerusalem is the Holy City for all Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths.
After WW2, England encouraged Jewish immigration back to the “Jewish Homeland” which was then British-ruled Palestine. The UN created the state of Israel in 1948 and essentially gave it to the Jewish people, even though Palestinians had been living there for centuries.
In short, both Israelis and Palestinians feel their homeland was taken from them and both feel entitled to stay. US presidents have long attempted to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Republicans traditionally favor the state of Israel and Democrats generally prefer to avoid inserting American politics into their conflict.
It should be noted that, Democrats have also continued to support assistance to Israel in the form of billions of dollars for military aid.
111. Agreed to a new trade deal with Mexico & Canada that will increase jobs here and $$$ coming in.
Technically, this is not a brand new trade deal but a major update for NAFTA. There were 6 major changes to the deal between Mexico and Canada but, it retained the majority of NAFTA.
One of the biggest changes is that it calls for 40–45% of auto components to be made by workers making at least $16/hr. This, hopefully, will discourage companies from moving their factories to Mexico and in effect, keep manufacturing jobs in the US and Canada.
This is an interesting stipulation since the US has a federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr and many have advocated for that to be raised to $15/hr.
See #11 for wage resources.
To note: This trade deal went into effect in 2020 and we probably won’t know until 2023 if this increases jobs or money in the US.
112. Reached a breakthrough agreement with the E.U. to increase U.S. exports.
The trade surplus between the US and EU reached a record of 139 billion Euros in 2018. Looking at the data, the surplus has fluctuated slightly but has increased overall since 2012.
113. Imposed tariffs on China in response to China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and their chronically abusive trade practices, has agreed to a Part One trade deal with China.
True. This happened in 2018. However, in 2020 China has pulled back on many agreements threatening this trade deal.
See #70–71 for more on trade with China.
114. Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
Yes, in 2018, Pres. Trump signed The National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act spearheaded by Sen Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). One of the main changes is that it will take the 10-digit number down to 3, similar to 911.
In Sept 2020, the 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Bill went to Pres. Trump’s desk to sign into law. This means “988” will be officially designated and will allow states to impose a surcharge on phone bills (similar to 911) that will fund call centers.
To note: As of this writing, this has not been signed into law yet but, with such bipartisan support, it is likely to happen soon.
115. Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
True. S.292 — The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research Act or “STAR Act” was signed into law in 2018. It is the most comprehensive child cancer legislation to date.
This was a bipartisan effort introduced by Sen Jack Reed (D-RI) and had 55 cosponsors. It passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
116. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by Trump doubled the maximum amount of the child tax credit available to parents and lifted the income limits so more people could claim it.
True. The maximum child tax credit went from $1,000 to $2,000 and the threshold was increased from $75k to $200k for single filers and $110,000 to $400,000 for couples filing jointly.
Critics note that this new addition in TCJA doesn’t help low-income families because children with parents or guardians who earn less than $36,400/yr are ineligible for the federal child tax credit. That means the families that need it most aren’t getting help.
117. It also created a new tax credit for other dependents.
True. The new tax credit is $500 for certain dependents who do not meet the child tax credit eligibility guidelines such as adult dependents or qualifying children 17 or older.
118. In 2018, President Trump signed into law a $2.4 billion funding increase for the Child Care and Development Fund, providing a total of $8.1 billion to States to fund child-care for low-income families.
This was a re-authorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 2014 which included a generous funding increase.
The notable part is that Pres. Trump originally proposed cutting the program by $95million in his 2018 budget proposal. Congress fought for the increase anyway and Trump then signed it into law and claimed it as a personal accomplishment in 2019.
This was a bipartisan effort by both houses of Congress.
To note: The original bill was a bipartisan effort introduced by Sen Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in 2013. It passed in the Senate 88–1 and Pres. Obama signed it into law in 2014.
119. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) signed into law by Trump provides a tax credit equal to 20–35% of child-care expenses, $3,000 per child & $6,000 per family + Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax $ to use for child-care.
True. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit of 20–35% of child-care taxes has a cap of $3,000 per child and up to $6,000 for 2 or more dependents.
For example, families with incomes of $200k-$500k would receive and average of $450 while families with incomes between $50k-$75k would receive around $150. The poorest families, who typically cannot afford childcare would average $10.
To note: Families have to pay for child-care upfront in hopes of the tax credit at the end of the year. The annual cost for childcare ranges from $5k to $17k per year depending on the city/state you live in.
The US median household income is $63,179 as of 2018 according to Census.gov.
To note: The $5,000 FSA is not new. It was the original limit set in 1986.
See #116, 117 & 118 for more resources on Child Tax Credits.
120. In 2019 President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) into law which allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and to help their families.
Yes, he signed H.R. 1058- Autism CARES Act of 2019 into law. However, the credit for this should go to the members of Congress that pushed for more funding and broader programs across the country to support people with autism.
Pres. Trump did not craft this law or publicly lobby for -or against- it.
This was a bipartisan effort brought by Rep Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and 173 House members and 41 Senators were co-sponsors.
To note: This is also a re-authorization of the S.2449 — Autism CARES Act of 2014 with additional funding.
121. In 2019 President Trump signed into law two funding packages providing nearly $19 million in new funding for Lupus specific research and education programs, as well an additional $41.7 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most Lupus funding EVER.
These include a National Lupus Patient Registry, more money for research, an Office of Minority Health and more funding for the National Institutes of Health.
Again, Pres. Trump did not craft this law or publicly lobby for -or against- it.
122. Another upcoming accomplishment to add: In the next week or two Trump will be signing the first major anti-robocall law in decades called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.) Once it’s thelaw, the TRACED Act will extend the period of time the FCC has to catch & punish those who intentionally break telemarketing restrictions. The bill also requires voice service providers to develop a framework to verify calls are legitimate before they reach your phone.
True. S.151- Pallone-Thune TRACE and Deterrence Act aims to give the FCC more tools to prosecute and punish robocalling and spam. It increases fines, time for legal prosecution and requires phone companies to create systems to recognize robocalls before they reach the consumer.
This was a bipartisan effort introduced by Sen John Thune (R-SD) and had 84 cosponsors.
123. US stock market continually hits all-time record highs.
This is redundant. See #86.
124. Because so many people asked for a document with all of this listed in one place, here it is. No links provided to remove bias as Google search is easy. Print this out for family, friends, neighbors, etc. I encourage you to drop this list off to voters before the 2020 election too!
Sure, Google searching is easy. But, this took 52 hours to research and another 41 hours to double-check my work, edit, format and post.
Total: 93 hours.
125.Trump did all of this while fighting flagrant abuse and impeachment charges.
The “flagrant abuse” comment is subjective opinion in an otherwise straightforward list.
The House of Representatives exerted their Constitutional power of checks and balances within our American Democratic System.
Here is a video that explains this system in the US Government:
To Note: Pres. Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives but, it did not go further in the Senate- the same outcome as Pres. Clinton. If it had, there would have been a trial.
Here’s a video that explains impeachment in the US government:
If you made it this far, I applaud and commend you. This was an exhaustive list to go through but, I am glad I did it. Researching this was fascinating on a personal level and a powerful exercise to remain neutral and present a more rounded look at each statement.
To the readers who are thinking, “Pres. Trump gets more scrutinized than any other president” or “Obama would never have gotten this treatment” that’s simply not true.
I voted twice for Pres. Obama and (surprise!) I did not agree with many things that he did over the course of his administration. And, I was not alone in this. He was expected to detail reasons for his decisions and face criticism from the media, the American public and his own supporters as a result.
Pres. Obama got criticized by folks in his own party and got rolled in the so-called “liberal media” frequently. He was heckled in speeches, had scathing reports from the New York Times and Washington Post and never really came back to his 2008 favorability in his last 3 years as president. But, you would never know that if you weren’t looking.
The difference that I’m seeing with this President is the media coverage and his public accountability is more lopsided than any President in my lifetime. The “mainstream” media demands answers from the President and his supporters call “foul”. The conservative media outlets report falsehoods that are not supported by data and “the left” cries propaganda. And, the Truth gets buried in the partisanship trenches.
The one thing that I hear across the country and in my bipartisan community at large is the need for “fair and balanced” coverage and reporting. That can only come when we demand it from everyone including our selves, the media and our presidents. Every president.
Regardless of your political leanings, it should be concerning that Pres. Trump is not being challenged by his supporters in the populace or certain media outlets. We should be wary of anyone who doesn’t question frequently, fact check and seek the bigger picture of any claim, action or legislation.
All presidents deserve criticism, it comes with the job.
Every accomplishment from any administration can be looked at with praise and scrutiny at the same time. To be an active citizen, we must do this. The President of the United States works for the people, not the other way around.
As Americans, we should never throw blind faith at any leader or let accountability slide. According to the Founding Fathers, that would just simply be un-American.