President Trump: His successes and shortcomings


With his fourth year of presidency coming to an end, there’s a lot to be unwrapped about Trump’s time in office.

Yi (Steven) Yang, Staff Writer


The 2020 election will see incumbent president Donald Trump face off against former Vice President and Delaware Senator Joe Biden. As with every president, President Trump has his successes and shortcomings, shaping the United States and the world with his actions. 


Success: Pre-COVID Economy


President Trump boasted about his economy being the strongest it had ever been before the COVID-19 epidemic – and it is true. His economic statistics show that it has been maintaining a growth trajectory similar to that of Obama’s in the second quarter, meaning that it hits all-time highs before the COVID-19 crash. 

Some may argue that Trump inherited his wealth from the Obama administration, but he did continue the trend and hit a record low unemployment rate of 3.5% in February 2020 before the pandemic. 

“I think Trump did do a good job with the economy, but Obama did a better job considering he helped improve the country’s economy during a recession,” said Saksham Nirvan (‘23).


Failure: The COVID-19 Response


In the United States, there are more than 200,000 people dead from COVID-19. His COVID-19 response has spurred controversy surrounding what he has said and what he has done about the pandemic. 

Some argue that his actions – or rather, inaction – had led to the large numbers of cases and deaths in the United States compared with other countries. 

However, others argue that he has done all that he could, taking action to save lives such as providing support for workers and businesses and shutting down the country from travel early. They also argue that the death and case counts are inflated

Recently, the president had contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized because of COVID-19. His approval ratings regarding his pandemic response has also dropped

“Trump’s Covid response was very poorly managed as he took way to long before finally acting on it, and he even though knew how deadly the virus was, he continued to downplay it and kept promoting the wrong ideas such as not wearing a mask, injecting bleach products, and taking hydroxychloroquine,” said Nirvan.


Success: Tax Reforms


President Trump introduced his new tax plans in 2018, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which significantly changes individual income tax and lower tax rates in general for citizens while reducing corporate tax to 21 percent. 

Those who approve of this tax reform believe that it will help spur the economy and create jobs, resulting in many benefits for companies and individuals such as having more money to invest and other bonuses. 

Others have their doubts, however, since the tax cut did not cause a permanent boost in economic growth as Trump has promised, although there was a short-term acceleration of business investments. 

“Trump’s tax reforms are a good thing. Lowering income tax is keeping more money in both the individual and corporates’ pocket, which benefits everyone. Individuals are now given the chance to reinvest their money, and corporations needn’t spend nearly as much resource on securing requirements for the minimum tax rate, allowing for more innovation that translates to better products for us, the consumers,” said Michael Hu (‘23).


Failure: Charlottesville and George Floyd. 


Trump’s response to the deadly Charlottesville rally led by white nationalists that killed a counter protester is controversial, saying that there were “very fine people on both sides.”

However, Trump has repeatedly in the past denounced white supremacy on multiple occasions. 

The Charlottesville protest response has been criticized as dividing America more, even by his strongest supporters. 

In the wake of George Floyd’s death as a result of the Minneapolis police and the nationwide protests, Trump has been criticized to not have any answers to racism and police brutality. Peaceful protesters were tear-gassed near the White House to make way for Trump and his family. 

However, some demonstrations have turned violent, and Trump sends federal agents to certain parts of the United States to stop surges in crime. 

“I think that George Floyd’s death is unfortunate, but hopefully the police departments will be stricter about abuse of power in the future. I also think that the media has overblown this topic and infuriated many Americans by turning this into a race-related issue when it is never proven that Chauvin acted based on race. It should be classified as an issue of misuse of power and that is it,” said Richard Li


Success: First Steps Act


President Trump, with bipartisan effort, approved the First Steps Act, cutting unnecessarily long federal sentences and improving federal prison conditions. 

The Trump administration began working on the bill in 2018, and after some compromises, most lawmakers approved of this bill, passing through the House of Representatives and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

“it was one of few moments of bipartisanship in Congress. However, because it only applies to federal prisons, it can only affect a small proportion of prisoners. It’s only scratching the surface but still a step in the right direction,” said Grace Chen (‘21).


Failure: Migrant Family Separation and Human Rights Abuses 


In 2016, he campaigned on reducing undocumented immigration. When he came into office, he signed a zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration, which leads to children being held in cages. This was also condemned by the United Nations as human rights abuses and illegal in the eyes of international law. 

After the backlash, President Trump issued an executive order to stop the family separation. 

“It’s really immoral. I don’t think any child should be separated from their parents, regardless of conditions,” said Chen


Success: Foreign Policy in the Middle East


President Trump successfully signed and established the foundation for a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, beginning normalized relations between these countries. This is the first of such agreements since 1994.

As a result of President Trump, this event will mark the beginning of future peace deals and normalized relations between Middle Eastern countries. 

For this reason, along with other deals that he has made, he has received many Nobel Peace Prize nominations. 

“I think Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize nominations because he did in fact achieve something that is very hard to do. Normalizing relations in the Middle East has been attempted, but this is the first time in a long time that it has happened,” said Alex Chen (‘24). 




There are, of course, many other major successes and failures that were not talked about in this article. Especially during this unique election between Trump and Biden, it is important to understand that there are usually multiple sides to a story. 

To see all the noteworthy things that the president has done, click here for more information.