Rocket (Man) science

President Donald Trump is counting down toward an opportunity to achieve one of the most significant diplomatic triumphs in American history. His June 12 face-to-face summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore is comparable in momentousness to Ronald Reagan’s summit with then-Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s.

One of the leading experts on the Reagan Presidency, John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, recommends that Trump devote part of his prep time for the meeting to examining how Reagan prepared to confront Gorbachev. Writing in USA Today, Heubusch observes:

(Reagan) positioned the United States strategically before he sat at the negotiating table and made his goals clear. His preparation and focus lent finesse to his negotiations, resulting in the eventual elimination of all intermediate and short-range missiles in Europe.

Heubusch, the author of the best-selling The Shroud Conspiracy novel and forthcoming sequel, The Second Coming, is scheduled to be keynote speaker for the 2019 Moore County Republican Party Ronald Reagan dinner this February.

Trump will always be Trump, Heubusch acknowledges, but it would be wise for his inner circle to coach him on the Reagan formula that would change the world more than three decades ago.

In the month leading up to his meeting with Kim, Trump should make his own strategy just as clear and consistent. He should also be clear on his specific aims. He must combine his negotiating tactics with rigorous preparation at the level Reagan mastered.

 

Doer-in-Chief

While corrupt media outlets such as CNN promote their “White House in crisis” narratives 24/7, basking in the Mueller “investigation”, cheering Jared Kushner’s reduced security clearance status and Hope Hicks’ resignation, and staging town halls to exploit grieving and angry high school students from Parkland, Fla., Heritage Foundation staffers have been following an undeniable trend.

Working with Congress when possible (on tax cuts, principally), or through regulatory guidance, the Trump administration “had an extraordinarily successful first year.” That is the assessment of the Foundation’s Thomas Binion, director of congressional and executive branch relations.

The Heritage Foundation, a public policy think tank with a well-deserved reputation for holding politicians accountable, sets a high bar for incoming Presidents. It is known as the “Mandate for Leadership”, and it debuted in 1981 when Ronald Reagan launched his two-term presidency.

The Trump mandate is comprised of 334 unique policy recommendations, nearly two-thirds of which (64%) already have been adopted by Trump and his administration. Reports The Washington Examiner:

At this stage of his presidency, Reagan had completed 49 percent of the Heritage policy recommendations. “We’re blown away,” Binion said in an interview. Trump, he said, “is very active, very conservative, and very effective.”

While not all of the adopted policies received the fanfare of across-the-board tax cuts, or the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States, they are squarely on Heritage Foundation’s radar. These are the major achievements, according to the Foundation:

  • Leaving the Paris Climate Accord: In August 2017, Trump announced the U.S. was ending its funding and membership in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • Repealing Net Neutrality: In December 2017, Trump’s Federal Communications Commission chairman proposed ending the 2015 network neutrality rules.
  • Reshaping National Monuments: Heritage’s recommendation to prohibit Land Acquisition (Cap and Reduce the Size of the Federal Estate) was adopted by Trump when he issued two executive orders effectively shrinking the size of national monuments in Utah.
  • Reinstating the Mexico City Policy: This executive order prevents taxpayer money from funding international groups involved in abortion and ending funding to the United Nations Population fund. On Jan. 23, 2017, in his first pro-life action, Trump signed an executive order today reinstating the Mexico City Policy.
  • Increasing Military Spending: Trump’s budget calls for a $54 billion increase in military spending to improve capacity, capability, and readiness of America’s armed forces.
  • Reforming Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF):The Trump administration adopted and is in favor of strengthening existing work requirements in order to receive benefits.
  • Allowing Development of Natural Resources: The Trump administration opened off-shore drilling and on federal lands. Executive Order 13783 directed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to commence federal land coal leasing activities.
  • Reforming Government Agencies: Trump tasked each of his Cabinet secretaries to prepare detailed plans on how they propose to reduce the scope and size of their respective departments while streamlining services and ensuring each department runs more efficiently and handles tax dollars appropriately.
  • Withdrawing from UNESCO: In October 2017, Trump announced he was putting an end to U.S. membership in the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

These are but a few examples of what former Trump deputy assistant and strategist Sebastian Gorka characterizes as the Trump “revolution” playing out before our eyes. If Republicans will continue to embrace Trump’s ambitions to steamroll reform through Congress and deliver for his supporters, Gorka forecasts a dismal November 2018 for Democrats in the mid-term elections. Writing for The Hill, Gorka opines:

If Republicans understand just how revolutionary and system-smashing an event like the election of Trump was, and they hitch their future to his brand of anti-establishment leadership, there will be no hope for the Democrats come November.

Donald Trump has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to learn at the wheel. Now the question is, have the professional politicians learned and internalized just how revolutionary the times we are living in actually are?

 

A joyful place

Peggy Grande is keynoting the annual Ronald Reagan dinner, hosted by the Moore County Republican Party, on Tuesday, February 6, President Reagan’s 107th birthday.

Who is Peggy Grande? She arguably experienced the best first-job-after-college in American history. After earning her undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University, the Los Angeles-area native applied for and was granted an internship in the Office of Ronald Reagan, whose second term as U.S. President ended in January 1989. By 1990, Peggy was employed as a member of the President’s post-White House era staff and became his Executive Assistant from 1993 to 1999.

Just last year she published the incredible stories and memories of those years working for and traveling with President Reagan. The President Will See You Now is must-reading for Americans who remember the Reagan era as one of the greatest chapters in our nation’s evolution. Peggy remembers the Reagan post-White House office as “a joyful place”, where the President’s optimism and curiosity uplifted all with whom he crossed paths. She marveled at his inclination to read and understand ideological positions that differed from his own. She remembers how meticulously he prepared for engagements with world leaders, but how he also was well equipped to make a brief interaction with an ordinary citizen personal and memorable.

Today, Peggy tours the U.S., sharing her behind-the-scenes memories of an American icon, all the while looking forward to heading home to her husband and their four children.

Recently, we recorded an interview with Peggy and recommend these audio clips as a preview of her speech next month in Pinehurst: