Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, via Wikipedia
President Donald Trump

{Originally posted to the author’s website, The Daily Wire}

There was a lot of good news for President Trump this week: a solid February economic report, continued gains in the stock market, plummeting attempts to cross the southern border, the apparent collapse of Trump-Russia suspicious election talk. But once again, Trump’s administration was marred by rhetorical excesses and a botched rollout of a major piece of his policy agenda.


Here are Trump’s grades thus far:

Week 1: B+

Week 2: A-

Week 3: D

Week 4: C-

Week 5: B+

Week 6: B

As we do every week, we grade Trump this week on policy, rhetoric, and the in-between (rhetoric that impacts policy).

Policy: Trump’s biggest policies this week were a revised executive order on travel from certain terror-rich countries, and the Trumpcare rollout. The revised executive order went over relatively smoothly; this time it was better-written, and didn’t carry with it the sort of chaos that the first version did. It’s still trimming around the edges of the problem of importing unvetted visitors from terror-rich countries (how about Pakistan? Saudi Arabia?) and it loses the special provision for Christians from tyrannical Muslim countries. But the big problem of the week was the Trumpcare rollout – the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Trumpcare has been ripped by both sides of the aisle. It does virtually nothing to move the health insurance system toward a freer market; it creates a new entitlement program through tax credits; it allows further expansion of Medicaid on the federal dime; it continues to skew the insurance market to prevent true competition. Trump says he’s behind it, but then tells people that if it goes down in flames, he’s happy to watch Obamacare remain in place and burn. Trump says that this is Part I of a three-part bill, but we have no idea what’s in the other two parts. Virtually no conservative thinker or organization is behind the bill.

Rhetoric: Trump hurt himself on Twitter this week with his ill-timed and ill-informed musings about being wiretapped by President Obama. There’s good reason to be upset and suspicious at the leaks from the intelligence community and the media’s overwrought reporting. But Trump doesn’t do himself any favors by shooting himself in the foot so often. Meanwhile, Trump is sending mixed signals about Trumpcare – he wants it, but not so much that he’s not willing to let it fail and then blame everybody else.

The In-Between: Trump is making overtures to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He’s talking about spending $1 trillion on infrastructure and building fantasy trains. He’s got an emerging problem in reports that he knew that his National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was acting as a foreign agent for the Islamist Turkish government. None of this bodes well.

But it’s all just chatter. The news for the country remains good. The economy is solid. Trump has elevated our activity against ISIS and against Al Qaeda in Yemen in a major way. The good news following Trump doesn’t make his performance much better, but it does mean that the public is unlikely to conflate that tepid performance with an increasingly strong feeling that the country as a whole may be moving in the right direction.

Still, this grade isn’t about events happening to Trump – it’s about Trump.

Grade: D+


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Benjamin Shapiro was born in 1984. He entered UCLA at the age of 16 and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in Political Science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007. Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the U.S. His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites internationally.