Trump’s signature legislative achievement was a Republican tax bill that made sweeping changes to the tax code – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The law was the biggest overhaul to the nation’s tax code in three decades, and the president pitched it as “rocket fuel” for the American economy.
It permanently slashed the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% while also providing temporary benefits for individuals and their families.
Critics argued it was a windfall for massive corporations at the expense of the middle class. Meanwhile, supporters of the tax cuts contended it would unleash an economic bonanza. Businesses would invest in their operations, they said, resulting in improved worker productivity and higher wages.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, among others, said the law would juice the nation’s gross domestic product to 3% (or more, as Trump said 6%) and soon pay for itself and spread prosperity.
But the law has achieved none of the ambitious goals that Republicans put forward – and there are scant signs they ever will.
Accomplishment: First Step Act
Trump signed the First Step Act into law in December 2018, marking the first legislative victory in years for advocates seeking to reform the criminal justice system.
The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. It offered relatively modest changes to the federal prison system, but was praised as an important step forward by groups and activists seeking to end mass incarceration.
Business Insider’s Michelle Mark summarized the key aspects of the legislation after it passed in the Senate:
The passage of the bill … marked the first major legislative win in decades to address mass incarceration at the federal level.
The bill overhauls certain federal sentencing laws, reducing mandatory minimum sentences for drug felonies and expanding early-release programs.
The bill also makes retroactive a 2010 federal sentencing law reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offences.
The bill also aims to lower recidivism by offering more rehabilitation and job-training opportunities, and it includes provisions intended to treat prisoners humanely – banning the shackling of pregnant inmates, halting the use of solitary confinement for most juvenile inmates, and mandating that prisoners be placed in facilities within 500 miles from their families.
Accomplishment: Defeating ISIS’s caliphate and killing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
ISIS shocked the world in 2014 when it took over a large swath of territory across Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate.
The terrorist group’s territorial holdings were the basis for its so-called caliphate, and provided it will a major base of operations to conduct attacks across the world.
After a five-year effort led by the US, ISIS’s caliphate was finally defeated in March 2019.
Trump at times falsely claimed that ISIS is totally defeated, embellishing the extent of the US military’s success against the terrorist organisation during his presidency. Though the terrorist group has lost its territory – its so-called caliphate – it’s still estimated to have up to 18,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria.
In late October, a US raid led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Baghdadi was the world’s most wanted terrorist up to that point and his death represented a major blow to the terrorist group.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said at the time. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.”
“Capturing or killing him has been the top national security priority of my administration,” he added.