This week’s White House Report Card finds President Trump savoring two major new victories and promises kept, a rewrite of the jobs killing NAFTA trade deal, part of former President Bill Clinton’s legacy, and the likely confirmation of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Democratic pollster John Zogby also highlighted the humming economy and low unemployment rate in giving the president a rare grade of B+. Conservative analyst Jed Babbin called it “a very good week.”
In a period of turmoil even “good” must be redefined. This was unquestionably a “good” week for President Trump.
He managed to complete a revised NAFTA treaty and won some concessions from Mexico and Canada. Unemployment is down to 3.7 percent and every month of his presidency has seen job growth. The enthusiasm gap that had been troubling Republican leaders seems to have dissipated as self-identified Republicans appear to be just as ready to vote in November as do Democrats.
Trump changed his tactics and language from identifying Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's chief accuser as a sympathetic witness to a mocking her as a troublemaker. In the process he has again energized his base as he continues to enrage not only his opponents but whole cohorts of voters. A New York Times expose that contradicted his legend of receiving only a small loan from his father also laid bare a bold story of Trump cheating on taxes, creating shell companies to hide tens of millions of dollars to avoid taxes.
But as I write this I don't hear or see anyone talking about it. Judge Kavanaugh is headed to the Supreme Court -- again a sign that this president is achieving much of what he has promised. And through all of the mockery and showmanship, his polling numbers hold steady. In personal terms, my new grandson born last week could be in his 30s when Justice Kavanaugh departs the high court. A “good” week. For Justice Kavanaugh and President Trump -- “this Bud's for you.”
And stay tuned to Brazil's election this Sunday. Within a month, Donald Trump could be leading the “Bad Boys of the Americas Club,” joining the incoming president of Mexico and the potential victory of a wild man in Brazil -- the most populous three giants of the hemisphere.
It was a very good week for President Trump, beginning with the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and ending with the FBI’s supplemental report on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh clearing him for Senate confirmation.
The economic news was all upbeat. Unemployment fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest rate in 49 years.
Day two in #Ghana was so impactful. My visit to Cape Coast castle was a solemn reminder of a time in our history that should never be forgotten. Thank you to Chief Osabarima Kwesi Atta & the chieftains for the warm welcome & cultural ceremony. #FLOTUSinAfrica2018 pic.twitter.com/pdf9yrmQL8— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 3, 2018
Canada’s negotiators, facing a U.S. statutory deadline, caved in to Trump’s demands to enable a three-way trade agreement that replaces the Trump-condemned North American Trade Agreement. The new agreement’s provisions on automobiles and farm products are especially noteworthy. The new agreement takes two firm shots at China. First, it requires that duty-free cars and trucks have at least 75 percent of their components made in the three-nation region and by workers paid at least $16/hour, excluding a lot of Chinese-made parts. Second, the U.S. is allowed to quit the agreement if either Canada or Mexico makes an agreement with a “non-market” economy. Because China is a communist nation, its economy defines “non-market” status. The new agreement will have to be submitted for Senate ratification as a treaty.
The Kavanaugh nomination is back on track, with a confirmation vote coming as early as this weekend. The FBI report resulting from the Christine Ford allegations found no corroboration of the incidents she and other anti-Kavanaugh “witnesses” have made. Equally important, the Democrats’ despicable campaign against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, composed entirely of character assassination and unreasonable delay, is motivating Republicans to go to the polls in November far more than they had been. The “blue wave” election that the Dems have been advertising all year may, as a result, be nothing of the sort.
Working hard, thank you! pic.twitter.com/6HQVaEXH0I— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2018
Meanwhile, the U.S. laughed off a U.N. “court” decision that ordered the U.S. to remove its sanctions on “humanitarian supplies” going to Iran. It’s high time we told the U.N. “courts” that they have no jurisdiction over our government’s actions. A new counterterrorism strategy was announced by National Security Advisor John Bolton. Though it uses the term “radical Islamic terrorism” -- which the Obama administration and former Trump national security advisor H. R. McMaster refused to do -- it still doesn’t launch a response to the ideological war that has been waged against us by radical Islamists since bin Laden published his anti-American “fatwa” in 1996. That is a fundamental strategic mistake.
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin