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Evaluating the Trump Presidency


Report Card: Catholics Evaluate the Trump Presidency 

Audio Podcast Above, Video Version can be found at the end of the Article…

It’s been one year since Donald Trump took office. As you can recall in Stephen Caladrino’s article (https://ccatholicism.wordpress.com/2016/11/26/how-donald-trump-won-the-catholic-vote/), Catholics were integral towards Trump’s victory. Much has happened in the year since, and we asked four college Catholics to evaluate his presidency so far.

The full audio of their discussion can be found above, but here we have a brief summary of each person’s comments. Before we get into that, here’s an introduction to our little focus group.

Will: Student of Politics and Theology (and Econ minor) from Oregon.

Eduardo: Student of Architecture from Arizona.

Liam: Student of Theology and a Minor in French from Massachusetts.

Tommy: Student of Engineering from Maryland.

When dealing with a controversial Presidency, Deatherage advises three mindsets to enter:

  • Think with your heart and mind. As Catholics, there are too many young theologians who think primarily with their heart alone. While it’s a good thing to be emotional and passionate about helping others, we must think things through to ensure that we use God’s given gift of reason.
  • Remember the virtue of Prudence. It is the foremost virtue, since it commands for people to think before they act. As Catholics, we are called to help others. However, there are good ways and bad ways to assist those in need. Because of the virtue of Prudence, we can figure out the best way to help others. While solutions may seem simple, such as free government health care and college, the long-term implications of those actions must be well thought out before any action is taken.
  • Separate actions from words. While rhetoric is quite important, this evaluation will be focusing primarily on the policy-level actions of the Trump Presidency. Keep in mind that nearly all of the panelists condemn the language that has been used in the modern political field. Nevertheless, it is important to separate these subjects.

Without further ado, let’s get into this evaluation!

 

Pro-Life

Will Says…

“There was so much promised during the election to repeal government funding for Planned Parenthood. While there have been many Executive Orders signed, what we need is legislation, since it is incredibly easy for the next president to undo these orders. Ordinarily, I’d give a three out of five, but his appearance at the March for Life, as the first sitting president to attend, boosts his score up to a four.”

Verdict: 4/5

Eduardo Says…

“I haven’t seen too much from the President. He promised so much, but hasn’t passed much legislation. I’d give him a one or two, but his appearance at the March for Life boosts it up to a three.”

Verdict: 3/5

Liam Says…

“So far, he’s been very outspoken about the subject. His dedication to highlighting the Pro-Life movement has been very consistent, from the campaign to his Presidency. That’s what matters, to me. Additionally, his attendance at the March for Life was historic. Finally, his nomination of Gorsuch was a good choice.”

Verdict: 4/5

Tommy Says…

“He’s repealed many mandates that gave money to Planned Parenthood. Beyond that, he’s made it much more difficult to fund abortions, by decentralizing the process. States have more control over abortion laws than ever before. Gorsuch’s nomination has also tipped the Supreme Court in favor of a Pro-Life outlook. However, what we need is more legislation.”

Verdict: 4/5

Final Verdict: 15/20 (75%)

 

Freedom of Speech/Religion

Will Says…

“I appreciate his protection of Christians across the nation. Regardless of his personal religious life, he stands up for our basic freedoms. Additionally, he’s worked marvels combatting the “safe space” movement that punishes people for voicing their opinions. However, his administration’s protection of other Religions, such as Islam, needs a lot of work. Many members of the Republican party are still very hostile to Muslims, and I think that is unacceptable. The President must stand up for them.

Verdict: 4/5

Eduardo Says…

“People have not felt very safe during his Presidency. His rhetoric has caused more people to hide in fear and feel bullied, so they aren’t comfortable voicing their opinions anymore. Many friends of mine no longer feel safe. His rhetoric is damaging the conversation.”

Verdict: 3/5

Liam Says…

“The safe-space movement is diminishing now, and that’s good. I’m not entirely sure how many laws he’s actually passed to protect Christians, but I do like how he’s unafraid to voice support for religion. So, from a rhetorical perspective, I like his openness about Christianity, but I don’t know that he’s done anything to further protections on freedom of speech, from a legislative standpoint.”

Verdict: 3/5

Tommy Says…

“I’m also unaware of legislation he’s been involved with regarding this subject, but I do know his appointment of Gorsuch swings the courts in favor of freedom of speech. I really like that and think he could do even more to promote freedom of religion and speech.”

Verdict: 4/5

Final Verdict: 14/20 (70%)

 

Economics

Will Says…

“The Trump administration has done an outstanding job at promoting domestic job growth. President Trump always makes sure to meet with foreign business leaders, which has brought many jobs to the United States.  However, he has not come through with re-evaluating trade deals. This takes him down to a four.”

Verdict: 4/5

Eduardo Says…

“I don’t know much about economics, so I won’t be giving an opinion. However, I don’t think that this success can be credited to Trump.”

Verdict: None (score will be counted as an average of the others)

Liam Says…

“The market is looking great. I’m not entirely sure how much that is to his credit, but there is a lot of progress being made. I’m no economist, but it definitely looks good to me!”

Verdict: 4/5

Tommy Says…

“Regarding trade deals, I’m not sure there’s much more he can do. So, I won’t fault him for that. However, he has overturned so many Obama-era regulations that have prevented so many small businesses from succeeding. Because of Trump, it’s becoming increasingly possible for small businesses to succeed again. While I’m unsure of how long this boom will last, since booms usually signal a bubble about to burst, I’m quite happy with what he’s done so far.”

Verdict: 5/5

Final Verdict: 17/20 (85%)

 

Immigration

Will Says…

“Countries have a right to their borders. If we had the resources to help every person in the world, we would do it. However, the fact of the matter is that we cannot afford to accommodate too many people, unless we risk a migration crisis. Additionally, I think it’s unfair that overseas peoples spend so much time and dedication to pursue legal citizenship, while neighboring countries can bend the rules. That said, I think the rhetoric with bordering countries has been unacceptable. If we want to solve immigration issues, let’s start by offering help to other nations, rather than antagonizing them. A border is needed but it should never be celebrated.”

Verdict: 2/5

Eduardo Says…

“The government’s treatment of Mexico has been horrible. We need to give immigrants support and love, rather than hate. Mexican people feel excluded and their problems aren’t being helped by the United States’s response. We should focus on reforming the process of immigration, so that it’s easier to enter the country. It’s time that the U.S. government pulled their weight by encouraging dialogue.”

Verdict: 1/5

Liam Says…

“Trump promised a wall and that hasn’t come through. That was his biggest campaign slogan, yet here we are without any developments in his promise. We need better border control, though there has been some progress in better maintaining the border.”

Verdict: 2/5

Tommy Says…

“Border crossings are down significantly. Additionally, it’s been estimated that Trump tripled the amount of people filing paperwork for legal immigrants to come in. Hopefully, that boosts efficiency of incoming migrations, since immigration is a huge part of our economy. That said, so much was promised that has not been fulfilled, yet. A solid border would eliminate many tricky issues we face here today. Basically, there’s progress, but it just isn’t enough.”

Verdict: 3/5

Final Verdict: 8/20 (40%)

 

Health Care

Will Says…

“I’m not a huge fan of government-paid healthcare, since it eliminates competition and delivers power to a very narrow group of corporations that partner with the government. From there, the ethical issues, such as funding abortion and euthanasia, rise. But this administration has not been able to deliver results with repealing Obamacare. What should have been a slam-dunk for Congress ended up being a huge letdown for the Trump administration.”

Verdict: 2/5

Eduardo Says…

“It’s important that the government help people get the proper health care that they need. That said, President Trump’s failure to replace a flawed system is a huge mar on the administration. Even if they had replaced it, Trumpcare appeared very similar to its predecessor, basically plagiarizing its elements.”

Verdict: 1/5

Liam Says…

“Trump couldn’t pass this legislation with control of the House, Senate, and Courts. This was a big disappointment.”

Verdict: 1/5

Tommy Says…

“I don’t fault the President too much for this, as it was Congress’s fault that legislation failed. While Trump could, perhaps, have done better to unite Congress, I cannot blame him for this situation. If anything, his effort was great and I think he was on the right track. However, we still need Health Care reform, if not, elimination. Giving too much power to the government is dangerous.”

Verdict: 3/5

Final Verdict: 7/20 (35%)

 

Environment

Will Says…

On one hand, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has gained an uncomfortable amount of power. As it stands, a handful of unelected officials make decisions as, essentially, a fourth branch of government. President Trump’s decentralization of the agency is a great step in the right direction, as industries harmful to the environment will die off naturally. That said, the appointment of a man-made climate change denier as the EPA’s director is concerning. Pope Francis has stated multiple times that acknowledging the planet’s needs is fundamental towards promoting a cleaner Earth.”

Verdict: 2/5

Eduardo Says…

“As an architect major at a Catholic school, we are taught to take care of the planet in every way possible. The appointment of a manmade climate change denier is very upsetting and detrimental to the planet. Additionally, pulling out of the Paris agreement didn’t help us at all.”

Verdict: 1/5

Liam Says…

“The Environmental Protection Agency was out of control, so I agree with his decentralization of the agency. In fact, I question the existence of such an agency in the first place. However, his lack of committal towards acknowledging and fighting climate change is disappointing.”

Verdict: 3/5

Tommy Says…

“I’m a bit skeptical about the man-made nature of climate change, but I still think it’s a bit much to put someone in charge of the EPA who doesn’t acknowledge the facts of the matter. However, I am strongly opposed to the economic effects of the EPA, that has been choking out corporations and killing jobs. Because of this, I’m happy with him decentralizing the agency.”

Verdict: 3/5

Final Verdict: 9/20 (45%)

 

Law Enforcement

Will Says…

“President Trump said that he would be the ‘Law and Order President’ and I must praise his efforts so far to restore support to the police. Most of this stems from vocal support of law enforcement, which is really needed right now.”

Verdict: 5/5

Eduardo Says…

“I’m not very familiar with this situation, so I’ll avoid a verdict on this one.”

Verdict: N/A

Liam Says…

“The President’s support of the police has been fantastic. Before this administration, police were quitting en masse. President Obama’s refusal to stand up for the police force was very detrimental, as he would often talk about racism at the funerals of slain cops. More needs to be done though. This is personal to me, since I have an uncle who is a cop. President Trump has done an excellent job at reversing this trend and restoring respect to the police.”

Verdict: 4/5

Tommy Says…

“He’s done a great job so far. I agree with the points laid out before mine. It’s time we show love and support to those who risk their lives for us. Sure, there are racist police out there, but it’s highly unfair to claim that all cops are racists.”

Verdict: 5/5

Final Verdict: 19/20 (95%)

 

Race Relations

Will Says…

“This is a very interesting issue to me, since I am Mexican-American. On one hand, I must say that the lack of assurance to minorities, from this administration, has bothered me. Tragedies, such as Charlottesville, should have been home runs for encouraging all Americans to stand together. While I agree that both the far left and far right are at fault for detrimental race relations, more should have been said to bring the country together, specifically in Charlottesville. However, I will applaud the President for ending hateful rhetoric towards straight, white, Christian, male Americans, who have become punching bags for the left. Bigotry on either side cannot be tolerated.”

Verdict: 3/5

Eduardo Says…

“I also do not know enough about this subject to comment.”

Verdict: N/A

Liam Says…

“I agree with Will. More should be said to prevent unjust discrimination to minorities, but I do appreciate the support he’s shown by combating the far left. As a white Christian male, I’ve found the current climate of dialogue discouraging, and I don’t think politicians are helping there. Like I said, though, more should be done to ensure good dialogue between groups.”

Verdict: 3/5

Tommy Says…

“The President has done an excellent job at addressing issues regarding race, most noticeably when it comes to silencing the left. In fact, more should be said and done to prevent such hateful rhetoric from those who blame everything on white and Christian Americans.

Verdict: 4/5

Final Verdict: 13/20 (65%)

 

Media

Will Says…

“Fake news is a real issue. The Wiki-Leaks of last year exposed some big-time corruption between media outlets and the Democratic National Committee. Therefore, I applaud the President’s highlighting of fake news. However, I think the rhetoric between Trump and the media has escalated into an all-out war that is quite unhealthy. This administration should be more tactful when handling “fake-news” or it will risk its own credibility by labeling any opponent as fake.”

Verdict: 3/5

Eduardo Says…

“The President needs to stop labeling everything as fake news. The whole subject has become a giant joke at this point and I don’t think making it humorous, such as the “Fake News Awards” adds anything to the conversation.”

Verdict: 1/5

Liam Says…

“This is a pretty big issue. Media outlets on both sides have become so corrupt and I’m glad it’s being addressed. As it stands, about six media organizations control over ninety percent of the news in the world. However, just as Will mentioned earlier, we can’t let this get out of hand by labeling everything as fake news in paranoia.”

Verdict: 3/5

Tommy Says…

“I personally loved the Fake News Awards and really enjoy how the administration continues to highlight the blatant lack of credibility that many media giants have. If Trump won’t do it, then nobody will, since this is the greatest amount of corruption that the media has seen, that blows yellow journalism out of the water. Exposing fake news must continue and Trump is the only one who has brought it to light. The only reason I give this a four is because I think the Trump administration could and should do more to combat it.”

Verdict: 4/5

Final Verdict: 11/20 (55%)

 

Report Card Summary

Will’s Score: 29/45 (64%) Amounts to an Adjusted B-

Eduardo’s Score: 22/45 (46%) Amounts to an Adjusted C-

Liam’s Score: 27/45 (60%) Amounts to an Adjusted B-

Tommy’s Score: 35/45 (77%) Amounts to an Adjusted B+

Grand Total: 113/180 (62%) B-

Full Video Version

1 comment on “Evaluating the Trump Presidency

  1. Pingback: Q&A Podcast – Clarifying Catholicism: Defenders of Faith

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