Last modified on June 4, 2021, at 02:16

Donald Trump achievements: Foreign policy (2018)

Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements: Foreign policy

This article is a list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to his foreign policy in 2018.

By mid-2018, President Trump had made a large impact in the world through his foreign policy.[1] His decisions and approach to foreign policy conflicted with the establishment's favored policies,[2] and his policies on foreign aid reflected his skepticism of "nation-building."[3] The administration continued to defend American sovereignty.[4] Despite this, neither the Trump Administration nor Congress moved to reduce U.S. foreign military presence, although analysts believed the president used that issue as leverage with foreign nations.[5] The Trump Administration made protecting international religious freedom a priority.[6]

For foreign policy achievements related to trade policy, see Donald Trump achievements: Trade policy. For foreign policy achievements related to environmental policy, see Donald Trump achievements: Energy and environmental policy. For military operations targeting terrorist groups and individuals, see Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism.

Legislation signed, 2018

The 115th United States Congress took an increasingly tough stance toward China compared to previous congresses.[7]

  • March 16, 2018—President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which promoted formal meetings between high-level U.S. and Taiwan officials.[8]
  • March 23, 2018—President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act, attached to a large omnibus spending bill, ending U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continued to give payments to convicted terrorists and their families.[9]
  • October 25, 2018—President Trump signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, enacting additional sanctions on Hezbollah and expanding the list of people able to be sanctioned for cooperating with the terrorist organization.[10]
  • December 11, 2018—President Trump signed the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act into law, which ensured that U.S. aid to the Middle East would reach Christians and other religious minorities, and it authorized the government to directly fund faith-based groups and other NGOs working in the region.[11]

Executive actions, 2018

United Nations, other international organizations, and U.S. sovereignty

The Trump Administration took actions related to the United Nations and similar international organizations, and it also took some steps to restore American national sovereignty:

  • June 19, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would leave the United Nations Human Rights Council due to its hypocrisy and bias against Israel, making the U.S. the first nation ever to leave the organization.[12]
  • UN Ambassador Nikki Haley effectively pushed for American businesses to receive a larger share of UN contracts.[13]
  • August 23, 2018—President Trump signed a memorandum making it U.S. policy to end international mail discounts created by a UN agency which made it cheaper to send a product to the U.S. from a foreign country than from a location inside the United States.[14] On October 17, 2018, the Trump Administration formally announced it would begin the process of withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union.[15] On September 25, 2019, the Trump Administration reached a deal with the UPU that satisfied its complaints.[16]
  • September 10, 2018—The Trump Administration, through National Security Advisor John Bolton, announced it would take a tough stance toward the International Criminal Court, labeling it "illegitimate" and calling it a threat to "American sovereignty and U.S. national security interests."[4][17][18]
  • September 25, 2018—President Trump spoke at the UN General Assembly.[19] He gave a strongly conservative speech which emphasized national sovereignty, patriotism, and his America First philosophy, and which criticized globalism by name.[20] He also defended his administration's decisions to withdraw the U.S. from the UNHRC, the ICC, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Global Compact on Migration, along with defending his trade policies.[20] He pledged to review U.S. foreign aid and to put America's interests first when giving money to other countries.[20] Among other strong statements, President Trump stated that "we will never surrender American sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans," and that "we reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism."[20] He also stated that "responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty" and that "America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination."[20] President Trump criticized OPEC for raising the price of oil despite relying on the U.S. for defense,[21] and he condemned China for its trade practices.[22] He criticized socialism, using Venezuela to illustrate the system's harmful effects.[23] President Trump reserved some of his strongest criticism for Iran.[24] He called for refugees to remain in their home countries and criticized globalist migration policies.[25] The following day, President Trump chaired a UN Security Council meeting, in which he criticized Iran and accused China of interfering in the upcoming midterm elections.[26]
  • October 3, 2018—After the International Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. could not impose certain sanctions on Iran, the Trump Administration defied the organization, withdrawing from the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries, as well as from an optional protocol of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[27] The administration also announced it would review every international agreement that might compromise U.S. sovereignty to the ICJ.[27]
  • November 13, 2018—The U.S. voted against a UN General Assembly resolution praising the UNHCR and endorsing the Global Compact for Refugees – the latter of which the U.S. announced it would withdraw from – because it conflicted with American "sovereign interests."[28] That resolution had previously been approved by consensus in the 60 years of its existence before the Trump Administration requested a vote on the matter, and the U.S. was the only country to vote against the resolution.[28] On December 17, 2018, the United States voted against the Global Compact on Refugees, being joined only by Hungary.[29]
  • The Trump Administration continued its opposition to the globalist Global Compact on Migration in 2018, voting against it during UN votes on December 10[30] and 19.[31] Additionally, numerous other countries followed the Trump Administration's lead in opposing the migration compact.[32]
  • In late 2018, the Trump Administration downgraded the European Union's diplomatic status from that of a "nation-state" to an "international organization," reversing a September 2016 Obama Administration decision.[33] This change, however, turned out to be temporary, as the U.S. restored the EU ambassador's diplomatic status on March 4, 2019.[34]

Foreign aid

The Trump Administration took several steps to reduce and improve aid to foreign countries, and it took a skeptical stance toward nation-building.[3]

  • January 2018—Not only did the U.S. withhold $255 million in military aid to Pakistan due to its lack of cooperation with U.S. counterterrorism efforts,[35] but it suspended all security assistance with the country which amounted to at least $900 million.[36] The U.S. also placed Pakistan on a watchlist for "severe violations of religious freedom" on January 4.[37] These moves came after President Trump tweeted about the country, accusing it of "lies & deceit."[38] The Pentagon announced on September 1, 2018, that the Trump Administration had permanently canceled $300 million in Coalition Support Funds to Pakistan.[39]
  • January 8, 2018—The USAID announced that it had renegotiated an agreement with the UN which would allow the U.S. to better help persecuted religious and ethnic minorities, including Christians, in Iraq.[40] Vice President Mike Pence ordered the agency to end its bureaucratic delays in June 2018 after it was reported that Iraqi Christians had not received the promised funding,[41] and USAID soon announced it would give over $100 million to Christians and Yazidis in Iraq by the end of Fiscal Year 2018.[42][43]
  • January 16, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it was withholding $65 million of a planned $125 million payment to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which provides services to Palestinians.[44] On January 18, the State Department announced that the U.S. would withhold an additional $45 million for Palestinian food aid.[45] On August 31, 2018, the Trump Administration announced it would permanently defund UNRWA, cutting nearly $300 million.[46]
  • On March 30, 2018, it was reported that President Trump had frozen $200 million designated for recovery efforts in Syria,[47] and in August of that year, the administration made its decision permanent.[48] Also, in May 2018, the Trump Administration withdrew additional aid for northeastern Syria.[49] Despite this, the Trump Administration announced on June 14, 2018, that it would resume funding for Syria's "White Helmets" rescue group and gave them $6.6 million.[50]
  • August 24, 2018–The Trump Administration announced it would cut over $200 million in Palestinian aid and spend it elsewhere.[51] On September 8, 2018, the State Department announced it would cut another $25 million in aid to Palestinians because of their unwillingness to engage in peace talks.[52]
  • November 15, 2018—USAID announced a new policy expanding its funding of private and religious schools in developing countries.[53]


Dedication ceremony for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018
Plaque in the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

The Trump Administration took several actions related to Israel. By 2018, relations between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were clearly and significantly better than Netanyahu's relationship with Obama.[54] Under President Trump, U.S. policy toward Israel had become noticeably more supportive,[55] as illustrated by voicing strong support for "Israel's right to defend itself" against threats such as Hamas[56] and a U.S. Navy ship docking at the Israeli port of Ashdod for the first time in nearly 20 years.[57] The Trump Administration also strongly supported Israel at the United Nations.[58]

  • April 2018—The United States submitted a position paper to a Geneva preparatory committee for a nuclear non-proliferation conference that aligned itself with Israel's position that it should not be required to discuss giving up nuclear weapons without recognition by all Middle Eastern nations of its right to exist.[59]
  • May 14, 2018—The U.S. officially moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, fulfilling an important campaign promise and something done after President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017.[60] While not attending in person, President Trump celebrated the move and recorded a video message for the ceremonies.[61]
  • The Trump Administration illustrated its pro-Israel stance by cutting its foreign aid to UNRWA[46] and to the Palestinian Authority.[51]
  • September 10, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would close the Palestine Liberation Organization's mission in Washington, D.C., because of the Palestinians' unwillingness to engage in peace talks and their efforts to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israel.[17][62]
  • October 18, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would close its Jerusalem consulate dealing with Palestinian issues and merge it into the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.[63] The U.S. implemented this decision and merged the consulate on March 4, 2019.[64]
  • November 16, 2018—For the first time, the U.S. voted against – rather than abstaining, as it previously did – an annual UN resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, marking a significant shift in U.S. policy.[65]


President Trump announcing U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, May 8, 2018

The Trump Administration continued taking a tough stance against Iran.[66] Here are some of the actions taken against the country:

  • January 2018—President Trump, along with his administration, continued his strong public support of anti-government protests in Iran that started late in the previous year, and he even criticized Obama for his weak Iran policies.[67]
  • January 4, 2018—The Trump Administration sanctioned five Iranian entities with ties to the country's missile program.[68]
  • February 2, 2018—The Trump Administration enacted sanctions on six people and seven companies connected to Hezbollah.[69]
  • May 8, 2018—President Trump announced the U.S. would leave the Iran nuclear deal due to its serious flaws and signed a memorandum to that effect, keeping a major campaign promise.[70] Two days later, the U.S., acting with the United Arab Emirates, enacted sanctions on nine Iranian individuals and companies giving U.S. dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force.[71]
  • May 15, 2018—The Treasury Department enacted terror sanctions on several people and entities accused of funding Hezbollah, including the governor of Iran's central bank.[72] The following day, the U.S., in coordination with Gulf states, enacted sanctions on Hezbollah's senior leadership.[73] The U.S. enacted additional sanctions on individuals and entities linked to malign Iranian activities on several other days, including May 17,[74] May 22,[75] and May 30.[76] By May 2018, proposed U.S. sanctions against Iran were already having an effect on shipping to the country.[77]
  • August 6, 2018—President Trump signed an executive order reimposing many of the U.S. sanctions on Iran that existed before the nuclear deal.[78] The sanctions went into effect at midnight between August 6 and 7.[79] On November 2, 2018, the Trump Administration announced it would reimpose all remaining sanctions on Iran,[80] though it granted exemptions to eight countries.[81] The sanctions and waivers went into effect on November 5, 2018.[82]
  • October 3, 2018—After the International Court of Justice ruled that the United States could not impose certain sanctions on Iran because it violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries, the Trump Administration withdrew the U.S. from that treaty, as well as from an optional protocol of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.[27]
  • October 16, 2018—The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on an Iranian financial network worth billions of dollars for its support for child soldiers.[83]
  • November 13, 2018—The Trump Administration imposed additional sanctions on Hezbollah.[84]
  • November 20, 2018—The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Iranian and Russian entities working with the Iranian government to deliver oil to the Assad regime in Syria.[85]
  • November 22, 2018—The Trump Administration declared that Iran had been developing chemical weapons banned under the UN's Chemical Weapons Convention, an action the Obama Administration never took.[86]

North Korea

President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un meet at a summit in Singapore, June 12, 2018

The Trump Administration took several actions against North Korea. Though UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, the Trump Administration implemented a "maximum pressure campaign" against the country prior to a summit in June 2018.[87] Notably, President Trump and Kim Jong-un held a joint summit on June 12, 2018,[88] where both leaders pledged to improve relations and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.[89]

  • January 24, 2018—The Trump Administration sanctioned sixteen individuals, nine entities, and six North Korean ships for their roles in helping North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.[90]
  • February 23, 2018—The Trump Administration enacted another round of sanctions against North Korea, sanctioning 56 entities, including 27 companies.[91]
  • May 9, 2018—As part of negotiations for a planned meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, North Korea released three American prisoners.[92]
  • July 2018—North Korea began allowing the U.S. to retrieve the bodies of what were believed to be dead U.S. soldiers who had been killed during the Korean War.[93]
  • August 3, 2018—As an illustration of the Trump Administration continuing to take a tough stance on North Korea while still striving for peace, it enacted sanctions on a Russian bank, two North Korean companies, and one North Korean citizen for violating United Nations sanctions on the country.[94] The Trump Administration announced more sanctions on August 21, 2018, against Russian entities for violating sanctions on North Korea.[95] On September 13, 2018, the Trump Administration sanctioned one Russian and one Chinese tech company for moving money to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions.[96] The administration countered attempts by Russia and China to weaken international sanctions against North Korea.[97]


President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, July 16, 2018

Despite the mainstream media's characterization of him as soft on Russia, President Trump took several tough actions against the country, some being even tougher than Obama ever was.[98] At the same time, President Trump sought to improve U.S.–Russia relations.

  • March 26, 2018—The U.S. expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed a Russian consulate in Seattle.[99]
  • April 6, 2018—The Trump Administration instituted sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and entities, including oligarchs and high-ranking government officials.[100]
  • May 4, 2018—The U.S. Navy announced it would recreate the Second Fleet in response to increased Russian activity in the north Atlantic Ocean.[101] The fleet was formally re-established on August 24, 2018.[102]
  • July 16, 2018—President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to improve relations between the two countries,[103] something strongly condemned by the Left, establishment, and the media.[104]
  • August 8, 2018—The Trump Administration announced it would enact sanctions on Russia because of a nerve-agent attack on a former spy in the UK earlier that year.[105]
  • August 21, 2018—The Treasury Department announced two new rounds of sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, among others, one for violating UN sanctions on North Korea and the other for cyber activities against the U.S.[95]
  • November 8, 2018—The U.S. imposed sanctions on 12 individuals and entities connected to Russia's occupation of Crimea.[106]
  • December 19, 2018—The Trump Administration imposed sanctions on 15 Russian individuals and entities for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election and playing a role in a nerve-agent attack in the UK.[107]


President Trump took actions related to NATO:

  • The Trump Administration continued pushing for the other NATO members to increase their defense spending,[108] sending strongly-written letters to several countries about the issue.[109]
  • July 2018—President Trump took a tough stance at the annual NATO summit.[110] Before and during the summit, he continued pressuring other NATO member states to increase their defense spending.[111] He also pointed out Germany's hypocrisy in relying on the U.S. for defense but being dependent on Russia – a supposed enemy – for its energy needs,[112] and he said he warned the European countries about their immigration problems.[113] At the end of the summit, President Trump stated that NATO's member states had increased their contribution pledges due to his tough stance.[114]


Meeting between the U.S. and Chinese delegations at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, December 1, 2018

Based on several U.S. strategic documents and other government reports, the Trump Administration was taking a stronger stance against China compared to its predecessors.[115] The U.S. also took a tougher stance specifically in relation to Taiwan.[116] On September 7, 2018, the U.S. recalled three of its ambassadors because the countries they were stationed in had cut ties with Taiwan in favor of China,[117] though one day earlier, the State Department used terminology favored by China to refer to Taiwan.[118]

For Trump Administration actions regarding China on trade-related issues, see Donald Trump achievements: Trade policy#2018. For actions related to national security and military issues, see Donald Trump achievements: Military, national security, and anti-terrorism (2018).

  • September 20, 2018—The Trump Administration sanctioned China for buying fighter jets and anti-aircraft missiles from Russia.[119]
  • Among the actions the Trump Administration took related to Taiwan, gave U.S. manufacturers permission to share submarine technology with the country so it could build its own submarines,[120] and it opened a new de facto embassy in June 2018 which symbolized its strengthening of relations with the country.[121] On August 19, 2018, Taiwan's president became the first Taiwanese leader to visit a U.S. federal building when she toured NASA's Johnson Space Center.[122] In September 2018, the U.S. approved a $300 million arms sale to Taiwan.[123]
  • The U.S. military challenged China by sailing warships in waters claimed by China, including on September 30, 2018,[124] and October 22, 2018.[125] The United States took a strong stance on maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.[126]


President Trump meets with Queen Elizabeth II in London, July 13, 2018
  • January 19, 2017—The Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy, which shifted its strategic focus away from the main focus on counterterrorism adopted by previous administrations and toward effectively countering the threats posed by nation states – such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.[127] The strategy took a significantly harder line on China compared to the Obama Administration,[128] and it emphasized the need for U.S. allies to pay a greater share for their defense to reduce the U.S.'s burden.[129]
  • February 2, 2018—The Trump Administration released its Nuclear Posture Review, which took a tougher stance against Russia than the Obama Administration and called for actions to expand U.S. nuclear capabilities in order to counter Russia and, to a lesser extent, China, Iran, and North Korea.[130]
  • April 13, 2018—After the Syrian government reportedly used chemical weapons on its people, President Trump ordered precision missile strikes on certain military installations in the country, in coordination with the French and UK governments.[131] According to the Pentagon the following day, the U.S. and its allies launched 105 missiles that successfully hit all three targets and crippled the Syrian chemical weapons program.[132] The following day, the UN Security Council rejected a Russian proposal to condemn the attacks.[133] While many strong conservatives criticized the airstrikes as a betrayal of the America First agenda that Trump ran on in 2016,[134] the airstrikes were reportedly limited in scope and purpose,[135] intended to stop Syria from using chemical weapons and to send a message to the government's allies,[136] and designed not to inflame tensions in the area or drag the U.S. further into the conflict.[135] The U.S. government also stated it would not launch any more attacks unless the Syrian government used chemical weapons again.[137]
  • April 20, 2018—In the State Department's annual human rights report, in addition to criticizing countries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea for human rights abuses,[138] it removed the phrases "occupied" and "occupation" when referring to Israel's authority over the West Bank,[139][140] and it removed the Obama-era policy of listing abortion as a "human right."[140][141] Despite this, the report was still biased in favor of the homosexual agenda.[142]
  • As in 2017, the Trump Administration remained successful in freeing Americans detained in other countries.[143] For example, three Americans were released from North Korea through the Trump Administration in May 2018,[92] and one American was released from Venezuela later that month.[144]
    • August 1, 2018—The Trump Administration sanctioned high-ranking Turkish officials for refusing to release detained American pastor Andrew Brunson because of charges the administration considered unjust.[145] On August 10, 2018, President Trump announced the U.S. would double its aluminum and steel tariffs against Turkey, an action related to the dispute over Brunson.[146] The Turkish government released Brunson on October 12, 2018.[147]
  • The Trump Administration continued enacting sanctions on Venezuela's socialist government in 2018, including on January 5,[148] March 19,[149] May 7,[150] May 21,[151] and November 1.[152]
  • June 8–9, 2018—At the annual G7 summit, President Trump took strong "America First" stances on trade and other issues,[153] and in addition to going against the global establishment by calling for Russia's reinstatement in the group,[154] he retracted his country's support of the summit's joint statement due to false statements made by Canada's prime minister – the summit's host – against him.[155]
  • July 24–26, 2018—The State Department hosted the first-ever U.S. government summit on religious freedom.[156] At the end of the summit, the State Department released the Potomac Declaration and the Potomac Plan of Action, which emphasized the importance of religious liberty to the U.S. government, called on other countries to protect religious freedom, and outlined specific steps for these countries to follow to protect religious freedom. The Trump Administration also announced the establishment of an International Religious Freedom Fund, as well as the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program to quickly provide aid to persecuted religious minorities.[43][157]
  • August 2018—The State Department's 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, combating human trafficking around the world, was described as being stronger than in previous years.[158]
  • August 22, 2018—After the State Department released a statement defending South Africa's racist and left-wing land seizures, President Trump announced he ordered the department instead to study the issue as well as the violence against the country's white-skinned farmers.[159]
  • September 6, 2018—The U.S. signed a major agreement with India to increase intelligence and military cooperation.[160]
  • In October 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to import more natural gas from the U.S.,[161] and in November 2018, Poland announced it had signed a long-term deal to buy American natural gas.[162] The latter country formally signed a 20-year deal with the U.S. in December 2018.[163]
  • November 1, 2018—In a speech on the Trump Administration's Latin America policy, National Security Advisor Bolton spoke highly of the region's conservative leaders, Colombian president Iván Duque and Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro; strongly criticized the socialist countries of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua; and announced President Trump had signed sanctions on Venezuelan gold exports.[152]
  • November 14, 2018—The U.S. added 26 Cuban entities to its "Cuba Restricted List," which restricted Americans from doing business with them because they were owned by the country's military.[164]
  • December 1, 2018—The G-20's annual statement affirmed the United States' intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and it promoted fossil fuels, something supported by the U.S.[165] Additionally, it affirmed the United States' intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and it promoted fossil fuels, something supported by the U.S.[165]
  • December 13, 2018—National Security Advisor Bolton gave a speech outlining the Trump Administration's Africa strategy. In it, he strongly emphasized the administration's America First philosophy, stating that the U.S. would no longer fund "unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable U.N. peacekeeping missions," no longer give "indiscriminate aid," and only give aid that "will further U.S. priorities in the region."[166] He also stated the administration would challenge and counter Russia's and China's influence in the continent.[167]
  • December 19, 2018—President Trump announced the U.S. would pull its troops out of Syria since ISIS had been defeated.[168] On December 23, 2018, Defense Secretary Mattis signed an order making this decision official.[169] However, in February 2019, the administration announced it would leave 400 troops in Syria after the withdrawal.[170]
  • In 2018, the Trump Administration's relations with Viktor Orbán's conservative Hungarian government significantly improved compared to the Obama Administration, with President Trump speaking to Orbán among other actions.[171]

Other achievements, 2018

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • February 2018—While not outright opposed to the EU's common military agreement, the Trump Administration voiced skepticism toward it for potentially undermining NATO and creating trade barriers to American-made military technology.[172] Later, in April 2018, President Trump voiced skepticism of the EU, arguing that it was "formed to take advantage of the United States."[173] He criticized the EU on other occasions, usually due to the organization's trade policies.[174] In an interview on July 1, 2018, President Trump stated that the EU "is possibly as bad as China" on trade.[175] On July 15, 2018, President Trump described the EU as a "foe" of the U.S., along with Russia and China.[176]
  • Among numerous other statements promoting an "America First" foreign policy, President Trump stated at a diplomatic press conference in April 2018 that the United States should prioritize its own needs rather than act as the "policeman of the world."[177] On December 4, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech promoting national sovereignty and criticizing multilateralism.[178]
  • While not an official policy action, the Trump Administration took a strong stance against China after its government told airline companies to change how they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, criticizing the Chinese government for engaging in "Orwellian nonsense."[179] In June 2018, the Trump Administration released a report strongly criticizing China economic policies as a threat to U.S. national security.[180] President Trump himself indicated that China was a greater threat than Russia.[181] On October 4, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence gave a strong speech on China, speaking out against the country,[182] and he made subsequent statements against China.[183]
  • May 30, 2018—While a symbolic move, the Department of Defense changed the name of the U.S. Pacific Command to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in recognition of India's increasing importance in the region.[184]
  • President Trump publicly advocated for Brexit and criticized UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her failed efforts at achieving it.[185] Other administration officials expressed support for Brexit and criticized a "soft Brexit" deal.[186] Additionally, President Trump continued to maintain close relations with Nigel Farage, a strong conservative and pro-Brexit advocate.[187]

Appointments, 2018

  • On January 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed – with Vice President Mike Pence casting a tie-breaking vote – social conservative Sam Brownback to be the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.[188]

Setbacks, 2018

The following setbacks to the MAGA agenda were often caused by Congress or officials in the Trump Administration, rather than President Trump himself. Some of them can also be considered partial achievements.

  • April 2018—The Trump Administration endorsed a plan to raise its funding of the World Bank, reversing its previous skeptical position.[189]
  • August 2018—The Trump Administration decided not to unilaterally cut about $3.5 billion in foreign aid funding after considering the action.[190]
  • September 5, 2018—Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signed a joint declaration at a G-20 meeting of education ministers that promoted left-wing and globalist policies.[191]
  • November 20, 2018- President Trump refused to punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an incident that was designed intimidate Turkey, a member of NATO, over its geopolitical competition with the Saudi regime. Instead, Trump stated that Saudi Arabia was a necessary ally, despite Saudi Arabia's past behavior, including its role in the September 11 attacks.[192]
  • The State Department continued to promote the homosexual agenda as part of U.S. foreign policy,[193] and it tried to purge itself of conservative political appointees.[194]
  • Secretary of State Pompeo appointed several Never Trumpers to important State Department positions.[195]
  • Although he would ultimately fire John Bolton in 2019, Trump did not do so in 2018 despite there being several instances which warranted a firing. These include among other things Bolton's infamous "Libya option" comments regarding North Korea[1], his public support for the YPG[2][3], his public support for the MEK[4], and his hawkish statements towards Russia.[5]
  • Trump failed to take action against Nikki Haley after her infamous "slap Russia around" remarks.[6]


  1. Stanage, Niall (May 15, 2018). The Memo: Trump puts his stamp on the globe. The Hill. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
    See also:
  2. Multiple references: Trump Administration appointees at the International Organization bureau at the State Department were effective in advancing the administration's agenda despite opposition from the deep state: See also:
  3. 3.0 3.1 Muñoz, Carlo (September 5, 2018). Trump rejects Marshall Plan nation-building, opts for 'tough love' foreign policy. The Washington Times. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Boylan, Dan (September 10, 2018). Bolton bolsters Trump's 'America first' foreign policy with robust defense of U.S. sovereignty. The Washington Times. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  5. Wolfgang, Ben (August 20, 2018). Trump unleashes troop-level diplomacy. The Washington Times. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
    The Trump Administration also pressured other countries to pay more for having a U.S. military presence in their countries:
  6. Multiple references:
  7. Bishop, Bill (August 31, 2018). New normal: Congress lets Trump unleash on China. Axios. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
    See also:
  8. Multiple references: See also:
  9. Multiple references: See also:
  10. Multiple references:
  11. Multiple references: See also:
  12. Multiple references: UN Ambassador Haley criticized for "human rights groups" for contributing to the U.S. decision to withdraw: Further reading: See also:
  13. Shaw, Adam (August 24, 2018). Haley fights to get US companies a bigger piece of the action on lucrative UN contracts. Fox News. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Multiple references: See also:
  16. Multiple references: See also:
  17. 17.0 17.1 Holland, Steve (September 9, 2018). Trump administration takes aim at International Criminal Court, PLO. Reuters. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  18. Multiple references: Other statements Bolton made in his speech: See also:
  19. Multiple references:
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Multiple references: The UNGA meeting represented a debate between sovereignty and multilateralism: See also:
  21. Multiple references:
  22. Spiering, Charlie (September 25, 2018). Donald Trump: United States ‘Will No Longer Tolerate’ Cheating from China. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  23. Multiple references:
  24. Multiple references: See also:
  25. Spiering, Charlie (September 25, 2018). Donald Trump to U.N.: Refugees Should Return to Their Countries and ‘Make Them Great Again’. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  26. Multiple references: More on China's election meddling:
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Multiple references: See also:
  28. 28.0 28.1 Multiple references: See also: Articles about the Global Compact on Refguees before the Trump Administration announced it would withdraw:
  29. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Multiple references:
  31. Multiple references:
  32. Multiple references: Earlier in the year: UN member states – but not the U.S. and the countries that joined it – voted to adopt the agreement on December 10, 2018: See also:
  33. Multiple references: The EU's reaction: See also:
  34. Multiple references:
  35. Gómez, Serafin; Pappas, Alex (January 1, 2018). Trump withholding $255M in aid to Pakistan, as he accuses country of giving 'safe haven' to terrorists. Fox News. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  36. Multiple references: See also: On December 19, 2019, the U.S. announced it would resume its military training program for Pakistan:
  37. Multiple references:
  38. Multiple references:
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references: See also: Pence's original announcement:
  41. Multiple references: See also:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. 43.0 43.1 Morello, Carol (July 26, 2018). Help is on the way, at last, for religious minorities in Iraq. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Multiple references:
  46. 46.0 46.1 Multiple references: See also:
  47. Multiple references:
  48. Multiple references:
  49. Multiple references:
  50. Multiple references:
  51. 51.0 51.1 Multiple references: See also:
  52. Multiple references:
  53. Multiple references: See also:
  54. Multiple references:
  55. Multiple references: See also:
  56. Multiple references: See also:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references: See also:
  59. Multiple references:
  60. Multiple references: Pictures of the events: See also: Positive reactions to the move: Reactions from American Christians:
  61. Multiple references: President Trump had stated that the cost to move the embassy was significantly less than originally planned: See also:
  62. Multiple references: The U.S. reportedly revoked the PLO envoy's visas and froze PLO bank accounts: See also:
  63. Multiple references:
  64. Multiple references:
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Stewart, Phil (July 31, 2018). Where is Trump headed with his tougher policy toward Iran? Reuters. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
    Regarding Iran's harassment of U.S. Navy ships: The Trump Administration's tough stance on Iran was criticized by left-wing UN officials: See also:
  67. Multiple references: President Trump's administration also voiced support for the Iranian protesters: See also:
  68. Multiple references:
  69. Multiple references:
  70. Multiple references: The Israeli government reacted positively while European countries opposed the move: President Trump's domestic supporters reacted positively: A more critical conservative reaction: See also: Numerous companies announced they would stop doing business with Iran because of the reimposed U.S. sanctions:
  71. Multiple references:
  72. Multiple references:
  73. Multiple references:
  74. Multiple references:
  75. Multiple references:
  76. Multiple references:
  77. Paris, Costas; Chiu, Joanne (May 29, 2018). U.S. Sanctions Start to Pinch Shipping in Iran. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  78. Multiple references: See also:
  79. Multiple references:
  80. Multiple references: See also:
  81. Multiple references: See also:
  82. Multiple references: See also:
  83. Multiple references:
  84. Multiple references: Other sanctions against Hezbollah:
  85. Multiple references:
  86. Multiple references: See also:
  87. Evansky, Ben (June 11, 2018). How Nikki Haley brought Trump's maximum pressure campaign down on North Korea at UN Security Council. Fox News. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  88. Multiple references: See also:
  89. Multiple references: See also:
  90. Multiple references:
  91. Multiple references: President Trump announced the sanctions that same day during his speech at CPAC: On March 30, 2018, the UN Security Council, acting at the request of the U.S., blacklisted many of the entities that the Trump Administration sanctioned:
  92. 92.0 92.1 Multiple references: President Trump greeted the three Americans as they returned: The reaction of the detainees and their families: See also:
  93. Multiple references: The remains arrived on U.S. soil on August 1, 2018: See also Identifying the remains:
  94. Multiple references: See also:
  95. 95.0 95.1 Multiple references:
  96. Multiple references:
  97. Hayward, John (September 28, 2018). Russia and China Try to Weaken North Korea Sanctions, Pompeo Fights Back. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  98. Multiple references: See also:
  99. Multiple references: Russia announced it would retaliate by expelling 60 American diplomats and closing the U.S. consulate in Saint Petersburg: See also:
  100. Multiple references: Shortly after the sanctions were instituted, the Russian officials and entities targeted had already lost up to $16 billion: See also:
  101. Multiple references:
  102. Multiple references: See also:
  103. Multiple references: See also: President Trump's statements and the topics discussed at the summit: Regarding a reported U.S.–Russia agreement on Syria: However, President Trump later backtracked on some of his statements:
  104. Multiple references: Republicans, however, supported the meeting: Polling found President Trump's approval rating was not hurt by the meeting: See also:
  105. Multiple references: See also:
  106. Multiple references:
  107. Multiple references: The Trump Administration also announced it would lift sanctions on companies owned by oligarch Oleg Deripaska after he reduced his investment in them:
  108. Multiple references: See also:
  109. Multiple references:
  110. Multiple references: However, some conservatives argued that President Trump did not go far enough with his criticisms of NATO:
  111. Before the summit: President Trump also criticized the EU's trade policies: During the summit: President Trump suggested that the NATO member states double their defense spending targets to 4% of their GDPs:
  112. Multiple references: See also:
  113. Friedman, Victoria (July 12, 2018). Trump at NATO: ‘Immigration Is Taking Over Europe’. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  114. Multiple references: Some European countries, such as France, disputed President Trump's statements on higher contribution pledges: President Trump's commitment to NATO: See also:
  115. Bishop, Bill (January 26, 2018). Trump's new China strategy appears more contentious. Axios. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
    See also: The Pentagon continued to have relatively cooperative relations with China: The political establishment adopted a similar stance on China as President Trump:
  116. Wong, Kristina (August 6, 2018). EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Pentagon Taking More Assertive Stance Against China on Taiwan. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
    See also:
  117. Multiple references:
  118. Wong, Kristina (September 7, 2018). State Department Tweet Calls Taiwan ‘Chinese Taipei,’ Using China-Approved Term. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  119. Multiple references: See also:
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  126. Multiple references:
  127. Multiple references: See also:
  128. Wong, Kristina (January 19, 2018). National Defense Strategy: China a ‘Strategic Competitor Using Predatory Economics’. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  129. Multiple references:
  130. Multiple references: The Trump Administration's nuclear policy was tougher toward Russia than the Obama Administration's:
  131. Multiple references: President Trump's statement announcing the airstrikes: See also:
  132. Multiple references: Satellite images showed the same conclusion: President Trump's reaction: According to a report a few days later, the Syrian government still had the ability to conduct chemical weapons attacks: See also:
  133. Multiple references:
  134. Multiple references: Some conservatives also defended the airstrikes: See also:
  135. 135.0 135.1 Multiple references:
  136. Bender, Michael C.; Radnofsky, Louise (April 14, 2018). Trump Says Strikes Aimed at Ending Syria’s Use of Chemical Weapons, Sending Message to Russia and Iran. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  137. Multiple references: See also:
  138. Multiple references: See also:
  139. Multiple references:
  140. 140.0 140.1 Morello, Carol (April 20, 2018). State Department strikes reproductive rights, ‘Occupied Territories’ from human rights report. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  141. Multiple references: See also:
  142. Ruse, Austin (April 30, 2018). Killing unborn children not a human right, says State Department. LifeSiteNews (from C-Fam). Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  143. Multiple references:
  144. Multiple references:
  145. Multiple references: The U.S. lifted the sanctions on November 2, 2018, after Brunson was released: See also:
  146. Multiple references: See also:
  147. Multiple references: President Trump met Brunson in the Oval Office after the latter's release: See also:
  148. Multiple references:
  149. Multiple references:
  150. Multiple references:
  151. Multiple references: See also:
  152. 152.0 152.1 Multiple references: See also: More on President Trump's relationship with Bolsonaro upon the latter's election:
  153. Multiple references: President Trump also made strong statements on trade shortly before leaving for the summit: Specifically regarding abortion: See also:
  154. Multiple references:
  155. Multiple references: See also:
  156. Multiple references: See also:
  157. Multiple references: On the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Response Program: See also:
  158. Nazarian, Adelle (August 10, 2018). Exclusive: State Department Takes Strongest Steps Yet to Combat Human Trafficking Abroad. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  159. Multiple references: The State Department took a different stance in a new statement shortly afterward: See also:
  160. Multiple references: See also:
  161. Multiple references:
  162. Multiple references: The natural gas deal came at a time when U.S.–Poland relations were very strong: See also:
  163. Multiple references: See also:
  164. Multiple references:
  165. 165.0 165.1 Multiple references: See also:
  166. Multiple references:
  167. Multiple references: See also:
  168. Multiple references: President Trump strongly defended his decision the following day: Subsquent statements: See also:
  169. Multiple references: The military's "conditions-based" plan for withdrawing: The Defense Department moved to implement the directive by withdrawing equipment: Later withdrawal developments: See also:
  170. Multiple references: Shortly before this announcement, the White House had already announced it would leave 200 troops in Syria: See also:
  171. Multiple references: See also:
  172. Multiple references: Related comments by President Trump, partially in response to French President Emmanuel Macron's support for an EU army:
  173. Multiple references:
  174. Multiple references:
  175. Multiple references:
  176. Multiple references:
  177. Samuels, Brett (April 30, 2018). Trump: We don't want to be the policemen of the world. The Hill. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
    See also:
  178. Multiple references: A critical conservative response to the speech: See also:
  179. Multiple references: See also:
  180. Multiple references: See also:
  181. Thomsen, Jacqueline (August 18, 2018). Trump says Russia investigators should be looking at China. The Hill. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  182. Multiple references: Specifically on Pence's comments about Google and its relationship with China: See also:
  183. Multiple references:
  184. Multiple references: See also:
  185. Multiple references: See also:
  186. Multiple references: Statements in 2017:
  187. Multiple references:
  188. Multiple references: Brownback was sworn in on February 1, 2018: See also:
  189. Multiple references:
  190. Multiple references:
  191. Multiple references: See also:
  193. Multiple references:
  194. Multiple references:
  195. Wadhams, Nick; Jacobs, Jennifer (January 31, 2019). ‘Never Trumpers’ Can Get State Department Jobs With Pompeo There. Bloomberg. Retrieved October 23, 2019.