By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner;

Last week was the best of Donald Trump’s presidency so far.

Amidst all the eruptions by and about James Comey, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels, the president (or his administration) did four important things last week that old-style fusionist conservatives should applaud. The man is morally and temperamentally unfit for his office, but at least the default options of his administration tend wisely rightward rather than hard-left like President Barack Obama’s did.

The most important of Trump’s actions last week was the attack, coordinated with France and Great Britain and verbally supported by Germany, against chemical weapons facilities in Syria. Some say the bombings were not forceful enough, while others (partisan Democrats and right-wing isolationists) scream that it was a warmongering betrayal of principle or of the Constitution.

But Trump needed to act, and the allied powers threaded the needle nicely. If a regime is using chemical weapons, and we can safely degrade the regime’s ability to do so, we should. Period. We should do so because it saves lives; we should do so because international edicts against chemical warfare must be shown to have some teeth; we should do so because, except in extreme circumstances, we should enforce our own “red lines” once we have announced them.

In this case, Trump gave important evidence that he can indeed act against Russia’s will; that he can work in coordination with allies and with enough subtlety to achieve key aims without instigating a broader conflict; and that even realpolitik involves elements of morality — namely (in part) that America’s international standing depends in important ways on our moral stand against atrocities.

The administration’s second important action was an executive order emphasizing work and marriage in a host of welfare-related programs. Drawing on the lessons of the hugely successful 1996 law that added work requirements and other reforms to the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, Trump’s order directs eight federal departments to find ways, within existing law, to apply successful, conservative, anti-poverty principles within some 80 other federal programs….

[Later in the column]…Finally, and most emotionally satisfying, Trump’s pardon of former vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby was a long-overdue act of justice, removing a stain from the record of an innocent man…..

[Here’s the full column.]


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