Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: Good things for the economy on the horizon

President Donald Trump just wrapped up his 12-day venture to various Asian countries where he worked to strengthen relationships and business deals alike. While his trip was met with scrutiny from both those in the countries he visited and citizens here at home, I think the trip was a positive step toward showing the world that Trump can be presidential.

The biggest takeaway from this mini-tour were the business deals that Trump struck up while he was in China. As he was leaving the continent, Trump claimed that the United States walked away with, “$300 billion worth of deals, but that will be, I think, way triple that number in a fairly short period of time.” This would be a tremendous achievement that really shows Trump is committed to putting the American middle class back in the driver’s seat. He has long promised to do this, but his promises have seemed to be misconstrued and used against him at this point in his presidency.

The president seemed not to lose steam, either, which is a definite positive. An extended trip away from home can be exhausting for anybody, especially a 71-year-old president. His comments were very on-brand, claiming to be doing large, extravagant things. It was refreshing to see the president in a more human setting, wearing traditional Asian clothing and mingling with world leaders. It was nice to not see him arguing with the American media about petty things, and instead embracing the culture that he was surrounded by. So far, this is the most presidential that I have seen Donald Trump.

I say that this is the most presidential I have “seen” Trump because I did not get to physically see him type out yet another Twitter rant on Saturday. Trump sarcastically said that he would never call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” something that just makes you shake your head and try to forget. These two are nuclear powers and are fighting a war of words on the same platform that I use to get my fantasy football updates. It’s ridiculous and it needs to stop.

Another positive takeaway from this trip was the speech that Trump gave in Seoul, South Korea. In this speech, the president talked about how conversations with Kim Jong-un need to begin, so that the United States does not have to enter war. Trump also said: “The more successful South Korea becomes, the more decisively you discredit the dark fantasy at the heart of the Kim regime.” I like that Trump took this speech and used it as a strategy to try to win over the South Korean people, while at the same time, trying to garner support for American interests. South Korea is an ally of the United States, and can undoubtedly help in our current situation with their neighbors to the north.

Critics say that Trump did not actually do enough on his trip to Asia for this to count as a win for the administration. I think this claim would be too premature to make. You cannot expect a country to drop everything and side with the United States on every issue as soon as it is brought up. His business deals and his tough speech on the North Korean problem were some of the more important things that Trump has done so far in his time in office. Trump needs to keep this up, for his own sake at the very least.

One of the major blemishes I see from this trip is his meeting with Filipino President Rodrigo Duarte. Trump should have taken some of the time he had with the leader to discuss human rights violations in response to Duarte’s strange law of killing suspected drug dealers. Instead, the pair briefly mentioned human rights and moved on. It would have been a massive win for Trump if he had gotten the semi-rogue leader to agree to some sort of decrease of these human rights violations.

At the end of the day, I think the president handled himself as well as he possibly could. I am not too embarrassed to be an American after this trip, something that I have often found myself to be when the president leaves the White House. I expect this trip will prove to be a positive step to improving upon his record low approval rating. If Trump keeps up this public persona that we saw over the last few weeks, he may start to be taken seriously in the international community. Until then, we can look forward to the next batch of Twitter rants, I guess.

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