by Carol King, UK Correspondent
The media are struggling to contain their glee. The Impeachment trial has begun. They are salivating at the prospect of non-stop Trump bashing news but the response by President Trump has not been as they may have predicted. As illustrated below, President Trump has buttressed the strategy used by President Bill Clinton in his impeachment. He would compartmentalize “impeachment” in order to focus on the day to day task of running the USA. By injecting this way of working, with a healthy dose of Trump competitiveness, he has produced several winning shots in the past 90 days. It is even arguable that having impeachment competing with him in the news agenda has made Trump even more determined to produce great news and actions for the American people despite all attempts to smear him.
THE MEDIA AND THE IMPEACHMENT STORY
The media has not made any attempt to hide the fact that the impeachment story is their lead until another way emerges for them to condemn President Trump. As Page Six news reported last week “CNN refused an interview with vice-President Mike Pence in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – because the network is ‘all impeachment, all the time’.” At a time when anti-Semitic attacks are rising, the White House offered Wolf Blitzer an exclusive interview since his personal history involved his parents surviving the holocaust, while his grandparents, brothers and sisters perished. CNN’s Jeff Zucker was not persuaded to give the exclusive the go ahead and banned Wolf from leaving the country due to needing him on air for impeachment trial coverage. CNN has also demonstrated an eagerness to ambush even liberal democrats of their own ilk like Professor Alan Derschowitz, who in their view had the audacity to defend the US constitution by arguing that the impeachment has no constitutional standing and should therefore be dismissed.
Dershowitz said Democrats were using a faulty argument, that the framers of the Constitution specifically rejected maladministration as a reason for impeachment during the Constitutional Convention. According to Dershowitz, the framers specifically mentioned four criteria -- high crimes, misdemeanors, treason and bribery -- and rejected terms like "abuse of power" as "explicit grounds for impeachment." CNN tried to call him out by airing old footage of him apparently disagreeing with his current argument. Derschowitz simply said he was correct then but is even more correct now, having done further research. You can watch the clip of this debate here.
In other media, The Washington Post was excited about "How the peach emoji had joined the #Resistance." For imPEACHment, NBC's Today show, repeatedly tell their viewers that the Biden’s have assured us all that they’ve done nothing wrong, So that’s that. Not to forget the run-of-the-mill lying the media often engages in, for example, when ABC claims that the whistleblower had "first-hand" information, even though publicly available documents contradict that.
THE PRESIDENTIAL RESPONSE
There is no doubt President Trump has assembled a first-rate team to represent him in the Senate impeachment trial. Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone, Alan Derschowitz and Ken Starr are formidable. The President can also put forth his defense on twitter and via interviews. But consider what he has been achieving aside.
In his memoirs and elsewhere Bill Clinton gave some insight into how he dealt with his impeachment trial. While Clinton might privately complain and denounce the attacks on him in public he was careful to communicate that he was not only calm and in control, but that he was "compartmentalizing" (a popular word at the time), dealing with impeachment when he had to but spending the bulk of his attention on the work of the presidency.
Though it might have been only partially true that he was working for the American people while Republicans were consumed with what Clinton saw as an unnecessary impeachment, this was the Clinton White House strategy. Chief of staff, John Podesta, went so far as to forbid anyone in the White House who wasn't working directly on impeachment from even talking about it. By contrast, President Trump has merely upped his game in producing for the American people in the last 90 days.
First, in the foreign policy realm, terrorist al-Baghdadi was killed in a special operation by US forces. On October 27, 2019, US President Donald Trump informed the public of the successful operation. As US forces bore down on al-Baghdadi, Trump said the Isis chief fled into a tunnel with three of his children and detonated a suicide vest. In a televised address to the nation from the White House Trump said: "He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. "He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him." al-Baghdad had been the subject of an international manhunt for years and had a $25 million bounty on his head.
In a second major foreign policy win, Iran's most powerful military commander, General Qasem Soleimani, was killed by a US air strike ordered by US President Trump on January 3rd. The leader commanded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran's elite Quds Force. Trump said the general was "directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people". Under his leadership, Iran had bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian militant groups, expanded its military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria's offensive against rebel groups in the country's long civil war.
Third, in making good on a campaign promise to reinvigorate and revamp trade deals whereby the US gives up less advantage to its competitors, the new USMCA has now passed both the House and Senate.
For North American business and labor, the most significant benefit of the USMCA is that it continues NAFTA in a manner that provides an alternative to Asian manufacturing of goods for the U.S. market. For the automobile industry, 75% of content must now come from North America, increasing from the original threshold of 62.5%. This gives the United States an edge. If a Japanese investor was considering the North American electric vehicle research & development and production market, the US would be a lot more attractive than before, when Mexico looked more attractive with its lower labor costs.
Elsewhere in the economy, large sections of the US who have been hurt by the Trump administration’s unilateral, tariff approach, remain supportive of the effort. For example, cotton farmer Jerry Hamill, felt the impact of tariffs when the cost of dyes, fibers and yarns from China and India, increased, but still supports the administration’s overall message on trade. Constituencies like Jerry are glad the Trump administration pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and put an emphasis on bilateral trade deals because increased competition from markets such as Vietnam would have flooded the market with even more low-priced products from Asia.
Bryan, Page and Hunter Ashby, a father and sons’ team who run the apparel-finishing company, Carolina Cotton Works, in Gaffney, South Carolina say, “It’s about time that we start putting everyone on an even playing field.” “For years, the textile industry has been a pawn item for China, or Vietnam or Africa — ‘If you let us sell Coke, we’ll let you ship clothes over here duty free.’”
Moreover, by keeping supply chains in the US, companies can cater to a new category of younger consumers who not only want to see new trends but goods that are sustainably produced with an ethical provenance. For example, American Giant, a US apparel company with entirely US based supply chains, says it is this very group who are willing to shell out $108 for Giant’s hoodies made entirely in the US against less than half that for a similar foreign manufactured Gap product. In fact, US retail sales are up by 4.6% over the past 12 months, and interestingly, the U.S. import price index fell by 2% over the past year, despite the fears that people had about the impact of tariffs.
In a similar vein, President Trump also touted putting another trading relationship on a more balanced footing with the signing of phrase-one of a deal with China, which aims to undo the burden on growth with trade imbalances between the two largest players. The Financial Times reported that the deal commits China to making $200 billion in additional purchases of US goods, including up to $50 billion of US agricultural products per year. This deal provides China with greater access to American markets, in a boost for US producers.
The White House has explained that tariffs imposed on China over the past 18 months will remain in place until there is a phase-two to prevent China from violating the agreement. It is unlikely that any tariffs will be removed until after the November presidential election.
China has also pledged to clamp down on stealing. A major concern for US companies had been safeguarding of their corporate secrets. Years of rampant piracy, trade secrets theft and discriminatory treatment had seen many cases brought against China in the World Trade Organization. The deal does go some way to reducing those worries, with the New York Times reporting that “China has promised to punish Chinese firms that infringe on or steal corporate trade secrets,” and will not direct Chinese companies to obtain foreign technologies which it previously exploited to leap to the forefront of tech industries.
Forth, in looking out for other constituencies, Trump passed a number of executive orders. One, preventing cruelty and torture to animals drew bipartisan support, and is a major step to end animal abuse. Every state has laws banning animal cruelty, as USA Today noted, this year, a Maryland man was sentenced to 90 days in jail for posting a video of himself jumping on a pelican in Florida. With his executive action though, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said President Trump has filled a gap between state laws, allowing federal prosecutors to pursue cases that cross state lines.
In two other notable executive orders, the President addresses the Jewish community by taking action against anti-Semitism on college campuses. And in an action to aid the Native American community, Trump established a federal task force to address a nationwide crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women through executive order on November 26th.
Finally, this week when all the media wanted to do was focus on impeachment, President Trump gave a well-received speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He also unleashed a glimpse of a more realistic avenue to any global and climate problems faced by the world through a positive “can do” optimistic approach compared with the doom and gloom pessimism of climate activists such a Greta Thunberg. He signed on to the planting of one trillion trees in order to take realistic advances compared with the Green New Deal which would have us ban planes and cows perhaps.
When you look at these achievements, along with the arguments denouncing the unconstitutionality of the Democrats articles of impeachment, it would seem that impeachment has only made President Trump work harder and be more determined to rack up his wins, and add to the list of promises kept for the 2020 Campaign.
Carol King received a first class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on US public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed a MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC.