On the eve of Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, President Trump released a farewell address. In his remarks, he wished the incoming Biden administration success, urged national unity, and summarised the ethos and keystone achievements of his four-year term.
Donald Trump will undoubtedly go down in history as one of America’s most loved and simultaneously most hated presidents. He was intemperate and often inflammatory in his rhetoric — a trait regularly highlighted in his erstwhile Twitter feed and an unrelentingly vexatious media.
To his supporters, however, Trump’s word game was a forgivable flaw and even a valuable tool in confronting the spirit of political correctness, Washington’s permanent bureaucracy, and the powerful corporate lobbyists that have long shaped American politics.
For all his defects — and there were many — Trump was the quintessential populist president. “We have reasserted the sacred idea that, in America, the government answers to the people,” Trump declared in his farewell speech. He went on:
Our guiding light, our North Star, our unwavering conviction has been that we are here to serve the noble everyday citizens of America. Our allegiance is not to the special interests, corporations, or global entities; it’s to our children, our citizens, and to our nation itself.
This approach made Donald Trump a curse to American and international power centres. But it gave back a voice to the many who had been forgotten. Most of all, perhaps, the unborn.
During the last four years, the Canberra Declaration has provided extensive commentary on the Trump presidency, primarily because of Donald Trump’s fearless pro-life stance. His abortion funding reforms and judicial appointments mark Trump as the most pro-life president in American history.
There were other achievements of Trump’s term that were neglected by journalists but that in a previous era would have marked his presidency as a phenomenal success. Trump forged historic peace deals in the Middle East even while remaining strongly pro-Israel; he started no new wars; and he made major economic and prison reforms that empowered many in minority communities.
American politics is full of landmines for practising Christians. The residual Christian influence in the United States leads every president, whatever their persuasion, to invoke God and wield Christian language. This proves uncomfortable for many Christians when that leader’s frailty and fallenness is on display. This was true for Donald Trump, and it will be equally true of his successor, Joe Biden, who is a Catholic.
What we are thankful for, and hope to see as a legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency, is a greater boldness on behalf of Christians to speak up and act for the unborn and the values that underpin Western civilisation.
It is clearer now than it has ever been that defending life, faith, family and freedom is a risky — even revolutionary — path to tread in the modern West. In the face of a rising radically authoritarian class, many warn that this may be our last great stand against a coming tyranny.
Donald Trump poked that bear and dared stand in its path. As a result, many eyes have been opened to the threats now facing the West. Moreover, we have much to learn from Trump’s defence of Christian values — including both his successes and his shortcomings.
Trump was not indispensable. The Scriptures tell us in Daniel 2:21 that “God controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings.” Whatever you think of Trump’s last few tumultuous months and the incoming administration in America, one thing is certain: standing for truth can’t be left to our leaders. Speaking up for the unborn, religious freedom, the natural family and human liberty is a task for every Christian, wherever we find ourselves.