Column: Taking stock of the Trump presidency

AP photo/Gerry BroomePresident Donald Trump speaks during the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit in Charlotte, N.C. on Friday.

Now that we have dispensed with the Mueller report and President Donald Trump has been found “innocent” in the impeachment “trial,” we can proceed to the more rational, less contentious 2020 election campaign.

But before the coronation, I would like to review the past three years.

The president’s personal lawyer, William Barr, the attorney general of the United States, has concluded that the Mueller report exonerates Trump. In fact, it establishes three things clearly:

Russia massively interfered in the 2016 election in favor of Trump and deleteriously to Clinton, a fact confirmed by all of our intelligence agencies;

Although the Trump team attempted to take advantage of this (collusion), they were so inept that Mueller couldn’t find a coherent plan;

There are at least 10 counts of obstruction that could be brought against Trump and could be if he were not a sitting president.

The impeachment “trial” was obstructed by McConnell and his stalwart fellow Republican senators, aided by the convoluted assertion of  Alan “O.J. Von Bulow Epstein” Dershowitz that, although Trump admits what he did (more to come), nothing serious enough happened to require an impeachment.

Final total Congress vote on innocent or guilty: guilty, 277; not guilty, 220. Unfortunately, as in the 2016 presidential election, the popular vote didn’t determine the winner.

The stock market has been on a steady rise since President Obama saved the world from a fiscal catastrophe brought on by exactly what Trump has done -- lowered taxes and removed controls on business. The Dow Jones has been on steroids since the tax cuts, the proceeds going to stock buybacks, dividends and goodies for the Mar-a-Lago crew (“You’re gonna be richer that you ever were!”). If you have a decent job and your IRA has flourished during this time, I’m happy for you. However, our children and grandchildren will pay the bill when it comes due.

Trump, who promised to eliminate the national debt, has racked up three consecutive years of twice the amount of Obama’s last year. “Trickle down” economics was tried by Reagan and Bush and failed miserably. Trump’s claim that this is a “blue collar economy” is belied by the fact that 78% of American wage earners are living paycheck to paycheck -- the waiter, truck driver, janitor. The much vaunted low unemployment rate is a meaningless statistic (Google it), and millions of people are patching together multiple jobs just to get by, as is the family man with three kids who delivers my newspaper. Trump will attempt to cut the deficit by continuing what he has already started: slashing the inappropriately named “entitlements,” social programs to assist those in need. Reagan did it in 1983 with his pension offset and windfall bill, denying Social Security benefits to people such as firemen and teachers who built up Social Security quarters by working multiple jobs to get by (I lost $1300 a month).

He has insulted and denigrated our major governmental agencies. “The FBI and the Justice Department are corrupt” and “sleazeballs.” He agrees with Vladimir Putin that Russia didn’t interfere with the election, rather than support the overwhelming evidence revealed by our own intelligence agencies. He has gutted and demoralized the State Department, the latest incident the slandering and firing of Marie Yovanovitch, our ambassador to the Ukraine. He has already viciously gone after after those on his enemies list in Congress (all Democrats and Mitt Romney). His “Deep State” conspiracy was debunked earlier by his new bobble-head, Mike Pompeo, testifying before Congress that he saw no such thing as head of the CIA. A cowardly draft-dodger, he has appalled me with his actions and comments on the military in which I served 28 years: Insulting Gold Star parents, demeaning a heroic POW, ridiculing a decorated war veteran because he had the temerity to wear his uniform when he testified before Congress, pardoning three convicted war criminals whose crimes were so heinous that their brother soldiers turned them in.

His foreign policies are a catastrophe:

North Korea’s Kim played Trump’s ego like a violin, ending up with a full nuclear arsenal and an autographed photo shaking hands with the president of the United States. China is currently playing him for the fool with the China trade “agreement” while they continue their worldwide Roads and Belts initiatives (look it up).

The carefully constructed Iran nuclear deal, which every major power and Trump’s now-fired advisers said was working, was dumped purely because it had President Obama’s name on it (I shudder to say such a thing is true). That agreement gave us what we wanted with North Korea; now we have a deteriorating situation that could explode because of some miscalculation.

ISIS was depleted by Kurdish and Iranian militias with the indispensable help of our specials ops and Air Force. At the request of despot Erdogan of Turkey, Trump literally overnight abandoned the Kurds and labeled the Shiite militias terrorists.

Trump has repeated the lie that Iran is a terrorist state responsible for worldwide acts of terrorism. His newfound ally Saudi Arabia (again, money involved) earns that title -- Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Cole bombing, the Khashoggi murder, the recent shootings at Pensacola Navy Base,9/11 all have their origin in the Wahabi government of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Osama bin Laden’s fourth goal was to convert or kill all Shiites. Iran is merely trying to protect itself in its own neighborhood.

With Russia’s help,the butcher Assad is consolidating his hold on Syria.

Afghanistan is still a quagmire.

Probably his most lasting damaging actions are to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and eliminate all of the environmental protection laws passed by President Obama, another thing your grandchildren will have to deal with.

Finally, Trump is a corrupt, morally bereft man -- all decisions made on the basis of ego or money, a self-confessed sexual stalker, the teller of thousands of lies and deceptions.

Meanwhile the Democratic presidential candidates are shooting each other in the foot. None of them is strong enough to beat Trump. Our only hope is Michael Bloomberg and/or Tom Steyer, honest, self-made men who care about all of the American people. I hope it’s not too late.

James McNiff is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He lives in Danvers.

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