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Donald Trump’s Costly Legacy

Summary:
Donald Trump’s presidency has been a consequential one, but more for its destructive effects than for its achievements. The damage caused by repeated attacks on American democracy, an inept pandemic response, and disruptive foreign-policy decisions will be difficult – if not impossible – to repair anytime soon. NEW YORK – We can finally state with confidence that US President Donald Trump will leave the White House, however reluctantly, on January 20. As his four years in office come to an end, it is not too soon to raise the question of how he will be viewed. Remove and Ban Trump Now Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

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Donald Trump’s presidency has been a consequential one, but more for its destructive effects than for its achievements. The damage caused by repeated attacks on American democracy, an inept pandemic response, and disruptive foreign-policy decisions will be difficult – if not impossible – to repair anytime soon.

NEW YORK – We can finally state with confidence that US President Donald Trump will leave the White House, however reluctantly, on January 20. As his four years in office come to an end, it is not too soon to raise the question of how he will be viewed.

History will judge Trump to have been a consequential US president, in that he left America and the world much changed. He will also be seen as one of the worst, if not the worst ever.

True, Trump did accomplish some useful things. Domestically, he pushed policies – a cut to the too-high corporate tax rate; the easing of some overly burdensome regulations – that appear to have contributed to robust economic growth. In foreign policy, he deserves credit for moving the US policy vis-à-vis an increasingly repressive, powerful, and assertive China in a more sober, critical direction. He was also right to provide defensive arms to Ukraine, given that part of that country is under Russian occupation.

Negotiating a new trade pact with Mexico and Canada, and then persuading Congress to approve it, was a significant achievement, even if the improvement over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was modest and important parts of the new accord were taken from the text of the far bigger Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump unwisely rejected. The United States also played a valuable role in facilitating the normalization of ties between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors, notwithstanding its failure to make any headway on the Palestinian issue.

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