Category Archives: HISTORY

2019 American of the Year: Matthew Albence

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Matthew Albence speaks speaks during a press conference in the briefing room of the White House in September 2019

 

It is an increasingly high-profile job, one where it is difficult, maybe impossible to please anyone on either side of the American political aisle for very long.

I am talking about the person serving at the very top of the leadership pyramid at ICE, the agency responsible for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Into the midst of this tremendously partisan political environment and under the glare of an increasingly harsh media spotlight stepped this year’s American of the Year honoree, Matthew Albence.

On the day after Independence Day at the start of this past summer, Albence began his tenure as the Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was elevated to the post by President Trump in an announcement that came back in April.

At that announcement, the president stated that Albence would be replacing the former acting director, Ron Vitiello, stating according to CNN’s Priscilla AlvarezRon’s a good man but we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.”

Prior to taking on the Acting Director responsibilities, Albence had performed the job of ICE Deputy Director since August 2018, leading the nation’s immigration enforcement efforts. Prior to that, Albence served from February 2017 as the agency’s Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations.

In that position, Albence led the mission to identify, arrest, and remove aliens who presented a danger to national security or who were deemed a risk to public safety. He also led the operation to remove those who enter the United States illegally, as well as those who undermine the integrity of U.S. immigration laws and border control efforts.

A graduate of American University with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration, Albence also holds a Master’s Degree in same from Southern Illinois University.

Albence has a quarter-century of federal law enforcement experience. After beginning his career with the old INS (U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service) in San Antonio back in 1994 he moved on to supervisory positions in both Chicago and Detroit.

Serving a stint as Unit Chief with the ICE training academy in Glynco, Georgia he then took on positions as both TSA Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the South Central Regional Field Office and Deputy Assistant Director for the ERO Criminal Alien Division.

As you can see, Albence brings a great deal of experience to the job as ICE’s senior law enforcement official. With a budget of more than $7 billion, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency. This includes a workforce of more than 20,000 officers, special agents, attorneys, and support personnel who are assigned to more than 400 homeland and international offices.

Albence was promoted to this role during a particularly difficult time of change where United States homeland security is concerned. In fact, Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, had announced her resignation from that cabinet post in early April 2019.

The toughness cited by President Trump in elevating Albence was displayed numerous times during the year. For example, in July he slammed a member of the press for using the term “raids” in reference to legitimate ICE deportation efforts.

Calling these raids does a disservice to everybody that’s involved in this process,” Albence said per Ted Hesson at Politico. “A raid brings up all sorts of emotions that conjures images of indiscriminate enforcement actions. That is not what we do … I guarantee you that if we were out there doing raids and we had officers running all over the place picking up targets indiscriminately, you would have videos all over YouTube.

In October, Albence addressed the issues surrounding a ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that immigration officers cannot develop probable cause to believe that an individual may be removable based on certain database checks alone.

This conclusion is out of step with the realities of modern law enforcement, endangers the public, and construes probable cause in an unfairly restrictive way,” said Albence in a press briefing. “Moreover, this decision, issued by a single judge in Los Angeles, will impact at least 43 states, threatening communities far beyond the one in which this judge sits.

Earlier this month it was announced that the North Texas region led the nation for a third consecutive year in the number of civil arrests for immigration violations.

One of the things which is unique — although it shouldn’t be — is [that] the level of cooperation between state and local law enforcement and our officers here is unsurpassed anywhere in the country,” said Albence per Dianne Solis at The Dallas Morning News. “When you have that cooperation, you get these kinds of results.

It is that issue of cooperation between ICE officers and local law enforcement that has become problematic in some areas of the country. Mayors and other politicians have turned most major American cities into so-called ‘Sanctuary Cities‘, referring to them as safe harbors for illegal aliens.

Democratic U.S. congresswoman Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both Democratic Party candidates for president, have actually published notices to illegals on avoiding a lawful deportation.

We’re sworn law enforcement officers to conduct these exact sort of operations,” Albence said per Charlotte Cuthbertson at The Epoch Times. “There is no other law enforcement agency in this country that has been asked to ignore the lawful order of a judge.

While the Democrats continue to aggressively battle against the lawful efforts of ICE officers, those personnel continue to work diligently on a daily basis to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.

Both as a representative of the hard-working and dedicated officers and support personnel of ICE as a whole and for his own efforts over a long career in support of those vital law enforcement operations, Matthew Albence is selected as the 2019 American of the Year.

Below are the individuals who have been named as the American of the Year in prior years. Click on their name in order to read the piece published at the time of their receipt of the honor.

PREVIOUS AMERICANS OF THE YEAR

2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Billy Graham
2007 – Chuck Cassidy
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps
2013 – Ted Cruz
2014 – (none named)
2015 – (none named)
2016 – Kellyanne Conway
2017 – Donald Trump
2018 – Nikki Haley

 

Perspective of time and age on history

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Wreckage of the airship Hindenburg continues to burn on the ground at Lakehurst Air Base in New Jersey

 

I was typically scrolling through my Twitter feed this afternoon when a news blurb caught my eye. It was a picture of the Hindenburg with a headline reading that the last survivor of that disaster had passed away.

For those who may be too young to have ever heard of this historic disaster, or simply may have somehow missed or forgotten about it, here is a quick summary.

The Hindenburg was a dirigible, a blimp if you will, and the last airship commissioned by the world’s first-ever passenger airline, the German Airship Transportation Corporation Ltd, which was established in 1909. It was also known as “the pride of the Nazi airship fleet“, the largest ever built.

In the days prior to airplane travel, the Hindenburg provided the fastest method of travel across the Atlantic Ocean. Passengers could travel from Europe to the Americas in half the time of an ocean liner, and did so in luxurious and comfortable settings that would never be matched by commercial airliners in the coming decades.

On its final flight, the Hindenburg took off on May 3, 1937 from Hamburg, Germany with 36 passengers and 61 crew members on the ship’s 63rd flight. The destination was an air field at Lakehurst, New Jersey which is now part of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, about 15 miles inland from the Jersey shore community of Seaside Heights.

On its May 6 arrival, the landing lines were dropped, but flames suddenly became visible. The fire quickly engulfed the tail of the ship, and a massive inferno was set off. Some passengers and crew actually dove out of windows. Those near the front generally survived. At the interior, most were not so lucky.

Broadcasting the arrival over the relatively new technology of national radio, newscaster Herb Morrison shouted out what would become one of the most famous lines in radio history: “This is one of the worst catastrophes in the world!

In the end, of the 97 on board, 36 people died in the Hindenburg disaster: 13 passengers, 22 crew, and one worker on the ground.

I was just a kid, maybe around 10 years old, when I first heard about the incident. That would make it roughly 35 years later. Watching the grainy footage in a television news blurb on the anniversary and hearing the old, scratchy radio broadcast, it seemed like ancient history.

Reading the news today as I rapidly approach age 58, decades after first learning of the disaster, the story stated that the oldest survivor had passed away at age 90.

Werner Gustav Doehner died on November 8 at his home in New Hampshire. He was just eight years of age when the disaster took the life of his father and sister.

We were close to a window, and my mother took my brother and threw him out. She grabbed me and fell back and then threw me out,” Doehner said in a rare interview in 2017. “She tried to get my sister, but she was too heavy, and my mother decided to get out by the time the zeppelin was nearly on the ground.

According to a piece by Eileen AJ Connelly for the New York Post, Doehner suffered from burns to his face, both hands and on his right leg. He remained hospitalized for various treatments and surgery until January of the following year.

Reflecting on my feelings as a young boy that the Hindenburg disaster was ancient history got me thinking a bit about age, and how it alters our perception of history.

I saw events such as the Hindenburg and then World War II, which followed just a couple of years later, as happening in another world. It was simply the stuff of history books, nothing that I could personally relate to in any way.

It makes me wonder if that is how my now 17-year-old granddaughter and 18-year-old nephew, even my older 26-year-old goddaughter, see events from that childhood and youth of mine.

Events such as Watergate and the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the Apollo moon landings, and the Vietnam War. To them, these are nothing more than history book items. Events that happened decades before they were born.

To them, these are only things they might have learned about in a brief school class or on some documentary they might have watched on television. But to me, and to anyone roughly my age or older, these are signature news events and happenings in our lives.

If you bother to take a minute and actually think about it, history is really something. We see many people as nothing more than historic figures, even if we acknowledge them as the most influential or famous of all-time. But each of them actually walked this very same Earth at one point.

Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, William Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Cleopatra, Plato, Aristotle, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Leonardo da Vinci, and so many more.

These were real people who, for a moment, walked the roads and streets of the world. They watched the sun rise and set. They enjoyed meals and made love. They traveled, worked, and played.

Events which happened to change the course of history are, to most of us living today, simply the stuff of history books and classes or those TV documentaries.

I’m talking events such as the American revolution, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War, and even the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II.

To me, and to you, these are the stuff of history books. Just as was the Hindenburg to me. Just as is the Vietnam War to my young relatives. Just as will the 9/11 attack be to my now 11-year-old grandson and nephews. This is the perspective of time and age on history.

2018 American of the Year: Nikki Haley

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Nikki Haley has served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for the last two years

 

For the second consecutive year a woman is being honored as the American of the Year. The winner of the honors this time around is the former United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

In 2018, Haley concluded a nearly two-year stint in this important diplomatic post, with today actually serving as her final official day on the job.

Haley, whose birth name is actually Nimrata Randhawa, is the daughter of immigrants. Her father was a professor and her mother a lawyer when they moved first to Canada from Punjab, India and then later in 1969 down to South Carolina.

The girl who would always be known in the family as “Nikki” was born in 1972 and is one of four siblings. She would be raised there in South Carolina, where she attended the exclusive Orangeburg Prep School and Clemson University.

She began working for the family clothing business, Exotica International, eventually becoming their controller and CFO. In 1996 she married Michael Haley, and over the next couple of years began to involve herself in civic affairs, serving in a number of board positions.

Then in 2004, Nikki Haley first tossed her hat into the political ring. She chose to challenge a longtime Republican incumbent in the South Carolina House of Representatives, Larry Koon, in a primary. Forcing a runoff, she ultimately defeated state rep, then won the general election, thus becoming South Carolina’s first-ever Indian-American to hold public office.

In 2005, she was elected chair of the freshman caucus. Haley would then win re-election to the South Carolina state house in each of the next two elections.

It was in May of 2009 that Haley made the decision to step up and run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the 2010 South Carolina elections. After again forcing a runoff which she would win handily, Haley defeated her Democratic opponent by 51-47 to become the Governor of South Carolina.

After a successful first term, Haley then stormed to an even bigger margin of victory and was re-elected to the Governor job in 2014. Seen as a rising star in the party, Haley was given the honor of delivering the Republican Party response to President Barack Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address.

Haley was never considered a big fan of Donald Trump, who would win the U.S. Presidential election in November 2016. She first supported Marco Rubio during the GOP primaries, and after he resigned she threw her support to Ted Cruz.

After winning election, Trump announced his intent to nominate her for the U.N. ambassador position. On his first day in office, Trump sent the appointment on to the U.S. Senate for approval where she was confirmed in a 96-4 vote. She resigned the governorship to accept the U.N. post, and thus became the first Indian-American to hold a presidential cabinet-level position.

During her two years as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Haley proved to be a strong advocate for American interests around the world, standing up to nations like Russia, Iran, and North Korea. She was a vocal supporter of President Trump’s moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

As one last hurrah before leaving her post, Haley stood up to China in October 2018 in regards to their re-education camps and human rights abuses against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority population in far northwest China with Turkish roots.

For her unwavering strength in standing up for America’s fundamental principles among the world’s diplomatic leadership, and for her independence of thought and expression on a wide range of both national and international issues during a polarizing geo-political era, Nikki Haley is named as the 13th American of the Year.

PREVIOUS AMERICANS OF THE YEAR

2004 – Pat Tillman
2005 – Bill O’Reilly
2006 – Billy Graham
2007 – Chuck Cassidy
2008 – George W. Bush
2009 – Glenn Beck
2010 – Ron Paul
2011 – Seal Team 6
2012 – Michael Phelps
2013 – Ted Cruz
2014 – (none named)
2015 – (none named)
2016 – Donald Trump
2017 – Kellyanne Conway

Two players with Phillies ties died in the ‘War to End All Wars’

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Star pitcher Christy Mathewson delivers a war fund donation to members of the Red Cross. Nearly 117,000 Americans died fighting in World War I.

Today is Veteran’s Day, when we honor those who have served in the American military, past and present. This year, Veteran’s Day just happens to fall on the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I.

The “War to End All Wars” famously came to a close when an armistice was signed among the combatants at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918 after more than four bloody years of battle.

Nearly 10 million died and more than 20 million more were injured among the combined armed forces of the Allied powers, which included the United States, and the Central powers led by the German Empire. Over 7.5 million civilians were also killed on the combined sides.

 

Major League Baseball teams were not immune from the casualties. Large numbers of players fought in the war, and a number of them never returned home.
Among those killed were two men with ties to the Philadelphia Phillies organization, Eddie Grant and Bun Troy. The two players are pictured in the featured image accompanying this piece, Grant on the left, Troy on the right.
Grant was born on May 21, 1883 in Franklin, Maine. He was nicknamed “Harvard Eddie” for the simple reason that he was a graduate of that prestigious Ivy League institution.
After signing with the Cleveland Naps (now Indians) in 1905, Grant made his big-league debut with them, appearing in two games that year. He was ultimately released, signed on with Jersey City of the Eastern League, and then had his contract purchased by the Phillies in August 1906.
Gant would play for the next four seasons as a regular with the Phillies, appearing in 527 games as the team’s starting third baseman. The team produced a winning record in three of his four seasons from 1907-10. He led all of baseball in at-bats in both 1908 and 1909, and in plate appearances in 1909.
On November 12, 1910 the Phillies packaged Grant along with starting center fielder Johnny Bates and solid pitchers Lew Moren and George McQuillan to the Cincinnati Reds.
In exchange the Phillies received Hans Lobert and Dode Paskert, who proved to be upgrades at the hot corner and in center field, as well as a pair of pitchers who never really panned out in Fred Beebe and Jack Rowan.
Then in June 1913, Grant had his contract purchased by the New York Giants. This led to his lone World Series appearance. That fall he got to pinch-run in the top of the 10th inning of Game 2 at Shibe Park against Connie Mack‘s Philadelphia Athletics.
After Larry McLean singled to lead off the frame against Eddie Plank, Grant was sent in to run by Giants skipper John McGraw. He would then score the game’s first run on a one-out single by Christy Mathewson. The Giants scored three times to take a 3-0 victory. It would prove to be New York’s only win of that Fall Classic.
In Game 4 again at Shibe Park, he made the final out, popping out to the catcher in the top of the 9th inning. The A’s would capture that series the next day.
Grant stayed with the Giants in the 1914 and 1915 seasons, and then retired from baseball to begin practicing law in Boston. According to a piece earlier this year by Lindsay Berra at MLB.com, Grant then entered the military when the U.S. entered World War I:

“When the U.S. entered WWI in April 1917, Grant enlisted and served as a captain in the 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division. He entered France in April 1918, and he was killed by an exploding shell during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive on Oct. 5, 1918, becoming the first former Major League player to be killed in action in WWI.”

 

Tom Simon at SABR wrote in his bio of Grant that he “…was buried in the Argonne Forest, only a few yards from where he fell. Later his remains were moved to the Romagne Cemetery. A monument in Grant’s honor was unveiled at the Polo Grounds on Memorial Day 1921, and a highway in the Bronx, a baseball field at Dean Academy (now Dean Junior College), and two American Legion posts still bear his name.”
Grant now lays in his final resting place at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.
Robert Gustave “Bun” Troy was a rare foreign-born player. Born in Bad Wurzach, Germany on August 27, 1888 his family moved to the states and he grew up in western Pennsylvania. His connection with the Phillies was only slight.
According to Berra, he had a tryout with the Phillies in 1909. Not making the cut, he played minor league baseball in both the 1910 and 1911 seasons.
Finally, in 1912, Troy got his one shot at making the Baseball Encyclopedia. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers and made one start for them on the mound.
On September 15, 1912 at Navin Field in Detroit, Troy put up goose eggs against the legendary Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators into the 7th inning.
With the Tigers leading 3-0, the Senators finally broke through on Troy, scoring four times in the top of that 7th inning. They would pull away to a 6-3 victory, and Troy would never make another big-league appearance. He returned to the minor leagues, pitching in both the 1913 and 1914 seasons.
Berra describes his military service as follows: “In 1917, Troy joined the Army as a sergeant with the 80th Division. He was fatally shot in the chest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and died on Oct. 7, 1918, at Evacuation Hospital Eight near Verdun, France.

On this 100th anniversary of the ending of World War I, we honor these men with ties to the Phillies organization by remembering them. And on this Veteran’s Day we here at Phillies Nation thank them and all those who have served and are currently serving in the American military ranks.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Remembering two players with ties to the Phillies who died fighting in World War I

2017 American of the Year: Donald Trump

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It’s hard to imagine any first-year American President having to cope with partisan trials such as Donald Trump was forced to endure in office during 2017.

Trump was sworn-in back in January as the first-ever President of the United States to not previously have been an elected politician or serve in the American military ranks.

The new President was under attack from the opposition Democratic Party and liberal-slanted media outlets from day one.

On the television airwaves, networks such as CNN and MSNBC, programs like “The View”, and talk hosts led by Jimmy Kimmel continually bashed the President and his ideas and programs. While these same outlets and individuals had treated the last Republican President, George W. Bush, in much the same way, they chose to take it to a new level with Trump.

Meanwhile the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren attacked Trump through their media friends as often as possible, and on every issue. Their hatred, and that is what it is, pure hatred, came largely due to their shock that Trump was in office at all.

They had collectively believed that their idol, the socialist-leaning Barack Obama, would be followed to the highest office in the land by Hillary Clinton. The first black POTUS to be followed by the first female President. Even more importantly to them, the liberal progressive agenda would continue on.

When it didn’t happen, the Dems and the media were legitimately shocked. They responded by lashing out in an open, obvious, childish tantrum never seen previously. It is a whining, crying, stomping feet tantrum that continues today.

Trump had established during his campaign in 2016 that he was never just going to sit back and take it from the media. He continued taking to Twitter to get out his message unfiltered. Often those messages were direct counter-attacks at the media.

The media had never experienced anything like it. They were used to controlling the message heard by the vast majority of Americans. Here was a President not only going around them to deliver his program and policy ideas, but also his personal thoughts on a wide range of issues.

Donald Trump is the first POTUS to make such aggressive use of social media to reach the masses. It has backfired on him occasionally. He has at times come across as petty and vindictive.

However, there is not doubt that he has also kept his base fired up. And there is no doubt that his Twitter account has been a major public relations and messaging tool.

Thanks to the President’s past as a businessman rather than a politician, he is beholden to far fewer special interests than normally chip away at the energy of other administrations.

His personal wealth allows him an independence of thought, speech, and action rarely seen in occupants of the Oval office. And his life experiences as a public figure for decades have left him unafraid of how he is perceived.

Because of the uniqueness of the man, he has won the year by successfully labeling as “fake news” that old school media. That the moniker has stuck is largely their own fault.

The media has often gotten away from its reporting responsibilities to actually become a second form of opposition. So instead of simply battling Democrats, the President has to battle an ego-shattered media.

However, defeating a biased media that has largely abandoned any expectations of impartiality in reporting is not the reason that he has been selected as the 2017 American of the Year. That’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s really a minor factor.

There have been a series of big victories during this first year for President Trump that have led to his selection for the honor. In many ways, his has been one of the most effective freshman season’s in POTUS history. Let’s examine this substantive list of accomplishments.

We’ll begin from the end: the President was a pivotal voice in getting tax reform done for the first time in more than three decades. As Sarah Westwood and Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner stated: 

“In addition to slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, the landmark legislation cut individual rates for all income tax levels, doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, and dramatically increased the standard deduction.”

President Trump also began to change the face of the American judiciary, consistently and insistently pushing the courts toward the right with his nominations and appointments. This was led by the appointment of Neil Gorsuch, an originalist in the mold of his friend and idol, the late Antonin Scalia, to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The appointment of Justice Gorsuch, a dozen judges to the federal appeals courts, as well as a host of lower court appointments made and to come, will be a legacy that will positively effect the nation for decades after he leaves office. And again, that’s only year one.

All year long, Trump signed executive orders rolling back Obama-era regulations which had handcuffed the American economy. He had promised during the campaign to cut two regulations for any new regulation put in place. Here at year’s end, the administration has announced that it has saved billions by actually slicing 22 regulations for each new one.

Trump pushed for the FCC to end so-called “net neutrality”, withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and set aside policies aimed at normalizing relations with the dictatorial Cuban regime.

These were all in keeping with another of Trump’s campaign pledges: “America first.” Those Obama-era programs, policies, and deals were not good for America. We were always being asked to carry the burden for the rest of a world that often seems disinterested in changing to help themselves.

President Trump showed the leadership spine necessary to call out the international community, as well as to once again set free the vital communications and information services of the Internet.

In perhaps his boldest statement to that international community, the President finally did what numerous predecessors had promised but fell short in having the courage to actually deliver. I’m talking here about his public recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In his statement announcing the move, the President also let it be known that he planned to have the United States embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that city — and so importantly — is Israel’s capital.  This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago. Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.”

Key themes during his campaign were tougher immigration policy, increased border security, and more aggressive action against criminal illegal immigrants. Check, check, and check.

President Trump immediately removed the handcuffs which had been placed on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by Obama. As reported by Avery Anapol at The Hill, this was made plain in a statement made by ICE director Thomas Homan in early December:

“This president has done more for border security and public safety than any of the six presidents I’ve worked for. Just since his leadership in January, border crossings are at a 45-year low. Now that’s not a coincidence. That’s because this president has let the men and women of Border Patrol and ICE do their job.”

The goal of radical Islam is nothing less than the establishment of a worldwide caliphate under Sharia law spread through jihad in its various forms. The U.S. military virtually dismantled ISIL (also known as ISIS) this year, largely thanks to greater freedom provided through President Trump’s leadership.

All year long, the President battled liberal judges on the federal bench over the issue of a travel ban aimed at restricting traffic into the U.S. from a number of Muslim-majority nations. Despite the best efforts of these jurists, a version of Trump’s ban is now in place. Per Mark Sherman of the AP through Fox News, the ban “applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

The President formed a lasting, positive relationship with a number of foreign leaders during the year. However, he also battled it out with a number as well, none more publicly and menacingly than North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

In the administration’s list of foreign policy achievements for 2017, the actions against the North Koreans are front and center. They include designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, banning more than 90% of that country’s exports, and encouraging other nations to join with tougher actions, especially China. 

During his first year in office, the President visited the Middle East and Europe, met with the Pope in Vatican City, and undertook the longest trip to Asia by any POTUS in the last quarter century.

Through his own statements and those of his appointed U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the President made it known that America would always act in its own self interests first.

The President is still fighting to get a full, secure wall built along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. But not waiting, his unleashing of the Border Patrol has resulted in the fewest attempted illegal crossings in decades. His newly appointed Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, let it be known that going after the violent MS-13 gang was a top priority.

President Trump has delivered on many of his promises already, and it was only the first of at least four years. Shackles have been removed from both the economy and homeland security that will benefit all Americans. The courts are gradually returning to the Constitution. The world is learning that “America first” is real, not just a campaign slogan.

The President has accomplished all of these things with absolutely no help from that opposition Democratic Party. He has accomplished them despite mischaracterization and at times outright character assassination from leftist media. 

For his accomplishments on behalf of the United States of America this year, President Donald J. Trump is selected as our 2017 American of the Year.

The following are the previous 11 honorees (there was no selection in 2014 or 2015 due to a temporary change in direction by the website):

2004 – Pat Tillman, 2005 – Bill O’Reilly, 2006 – Rev. Billy Graham, 2007 – P/O Chuck Cassidy, 2008 – President George W. Bush, 2009 – Glenn Beck, 2010 – Senator Ron Paul, 2011 – U.S. Navy Seal Team 6, 2012 – Michael Phelps, 2013 – Senator Ted Cruz, 2016 – Kellyanne Conway

Articles written on these prior honorees can be viewed simply by clicking on the “American of the Year” tag following this article.