Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Raise a Giant


The native people of North American told dozens, if not hundreds, of stories about giants that once roamed the continent. 

One of the first such stories to be shared with European adventurers originated on the Carolina coast.  In 1521, the Spanish explorer Vasquez de Ayllon landed at Winyah Bay near the mouth of the Pee Dee River, a region that the native people called “Chicora.”



One extraordinary native was converted and baptized as “Francisco de Chicora” and he accompanied Ayllon on a voyage back to Spain, where Ayllon solicited support for the establishment of a Spanish colony in Chicora.  While on that visit to Spain, “Francisco” became a sensation, one of the first native Americans to attain celebrity status in the Old World.

From “A Spanish Settlement in Carolina, 1526,” J. G. Johnson wrote of Francisco:

As a spinner of extraordinary stories history does not record his superior. Considering the credulity of his audience one can understand how the quick-witted but homesick savage perceived a method of ending his forced exile by exciting the curiosity and cupidity of the Spaniards. He recounted that in his country the natives were white, that the kings and queens were giants — elongated in their youth by rubbing their bodies with ointments concocted from strange herbs   — then stretched like wax until they were of enormous height. He also told of a race of men in Chicora with marvellously long tails; that they bored holes through their seats through which the tails dangled when they were seated; that the people of Chicora made cheese from the milk of their women; that deer were kept in enclosures and sent out with shepherds.

In “De Orbe Novo” (1530), Peter Martyr wrote of his encounters with Francisco and Ayllon.  Following is his report on the giant king, Datha, who ruled the Duhare district near Chicorana:

They are governed by a king of gigantic size, called Datha, whose wife is as large as himself. They have five children. In place of horses the king is carried on the shoulders of strong young men, who run with him to the different places he wishes to visit. . . .I now come to a fact which will appear incredible to Your Excellency. You already know that the ruler of this region is a tyrant of gigantic size. How does it happen that only he and his wife have attained this extraordinary size? No one of their subjects has explained this to me, but I have questioned the above mentioned licenciate Ayllon, a serious and responsible man, who had his information from those who had shared with him the cost of the expedition. I likewise questioned the servant Francisco, to whom the neighbours had spoken. Neither nature nor birth has given these princes the advantage of size as an hereditary gift; they have acquired it by artifice.

While they are still in their cradles and in charge of their nurses, experts in the matter are called, who by the application of certain herbs, soften their young bones. During a period of several days they rub the limbs of the child with these herbs, until the bones become as soft as wax. They then rapidly bend them in such wise that the infant is almost killed. Afterwards they feed the nurse on foods of a special virtue. The child is wrapped in warm covers, the nurse gives it her breast and revives it with her milk, thus gifted with strengthening properties. After some days of rest the lamentable task of stretching the bones is begun anew. Such is the explanation given by the servant Francisco Chicorana.

Ayllon secured the royal go-ahead to establish the Chicora colony, the first Spanish colony in the Southeast, but the effort met with misfortune, failure, and, by 1526, Ayllon’s death.  Of Francisco, nothing more is known of his life after he returned to America.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Cleveland, Roosevelt and Reconciliation


THOSE REBEL FLAGS 

BY JOHN H. JEWETT 

"Discussed by 'One of the Yanks '" is the author's subtitle. The occasion of the poem was the agitation for the return to the States from whose troops they had been captured of the Confederate battle flags in the keeping of the War Department at Washington. A bill effecting this was passed without a word of debate on February 24, 1905.

SHALL we send back the Johnnies their bunting,
In token, from Blue to the Gray,
That " Brothers-in-blood " and " Good Hunting"
Shall be our new watchword to-day?
In older times knights held it knightly
To return to brave foemen the sword;
Will the Stars and the Stripes gleam less brightly
If the old Rebel flags are restored?



Call it sentiment, call it misguided
To fight to the death for "a rag ";
Yet, trailed in the dust, derided,
The true soldier still loves his flag!
Does love die, and must honor perish
When colors and causes are lost?
Lives the soldier who ceases to cherish
The blood-stains and valor they cost?

Our battlefields safe in the keeping
Of Nature's kind, fostering care,
Are blooming,— our heroes are sleeping —
And peace broods perennial there.
All over our land rings the story
Of loyalty, fervent and true;
“One flag," and that flag is " Old Glory,"
Alike for the Gray and the Blue.

Why cling to those moth-eaten banners?
What glory or honor to gain
While the nation is shouting hosannas,
Uniting her sons to fight Spain?
Time is ripe, and the harvest worth reaping,
Send the Johnnies their flags f. o. b.,
Address to the care and safe-keeping
Of that loyal " old Reb," Fitzhugh Lee!

Yes, send back the Johnnies their bunting,
With greetings from Blue to the Gray;
We are " Brothers-in-blood," and " Good Hunting"
Is America's watchword to-day.

#    #    #

An article by John M. Taylor in the 1987 Old Farmer’s Almanac provides more context for Jewett’s poem.  Although Theodore Roosevelt eventually brought about the return of the flags in 1905, during his Presidency, it was President Grover Cleveland (in 1887) who became embroiled in controversy over the return of the battle flags:

The president was a busy man; perhaps no other chief executive has paid more attention to the details of office than Grover Cleveland. So when Secretary of War William Endicott went over the business of the day, he spent little time on the matter of the old Confederate flags. The Adjutant General of the Army had suggested that it would be a "Graceful gesture" to return to the erstwhile Confederate states those battle flags that had been captured from the Southern forces during the Civil War. It was 1887, after all, and the war had been over some 22 years. 

Cleveland nodded his assent, and the Secretary moved on to the next item of business. In agreeing to the return of the "rebel banners," however, Cleveland precipitated a political tempest that revived the passions of wartime and even contributed to the President's defeat in his bid for reelection.

Notwithstanding the passage of time, the Civil War remained vivid in the national memory. Future Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was three times wounded as a Union officer, would later write that "our hearts were touched with fire." There was a tremendous pride in both armies, and much of it was focused on a soldier's own regiment. A unit's flag was to be defended to the death, and flags of the enemy - often seized in hand-to-hand combat - were the most prized contraband.

Not all of this was apparent to Grover Cleveland. Diligent and honest, he was nevertheless the first president since the war not to have served in the Union armies. It was a sore subject. As a young man, he and his two brothers had drawn straws to decide which of them would stay home and support their widowed mother. Cleveland had drawn the short straw, and as a result spent the war years as a lawyer in Buffalo, New York. He hired a substitute, George Brinski, a Polish immigrant. The practice was both legal and common; President Lincoln had himself hired a substitute, to remove any stigma from the practice. Nevertheless, Grover Cleveland's noncombatant status was not calculated to endear him to Union veterans.

Cleveland's war record was not the only issue that made him suspect to the Grand Army of the Republic. He had appointed two Southerners to his Cabinet, giving the South more than token representation for the first time since the war. Even more infuriating to the G.A.R. was Cleveland's preoccupation with economy in government, which led him to veto hundreds of private bills designed to place favored individuals on military pension rolls. Most of these bills were clearly without merit, but Cleveland's free use of the veto nevertheless brought forth a clamor from the veterans.

Still, agitation over Cleveland's vetoes would pale by comparison to that over his proposal to return the rebel flags. Following his meeting with the President, Secretary Endicott sent circular letters to Southern governors, indicating the government's willingness to return the flags. The first Northern politician to see political potential in Cleveland's proposal was Governor Joseph B. Foraker of Ohio, who faced a tough campaign for reelection. "No rebel flags will be surrendered while I am governor," telegraphed "Fire Engine Joe," ignoring the fact that Cleveland's order applied only to those flags gathering dust in Washington. "The patriotic people of this state are shocked and indignant beyond anything I can express."

Foraker was quickly joined by a formidable ally, the Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, General Lucius Fairchild. Speaking of Cleveland's order before a gathering of veterans, Fairchild thundered, "May God palsy the brain that conceived it, and may God palsy the tongue that dictated it!"

As letters and telegrams - most of them critical - poured into the normally somnolent White House, Cleveland realized that he had stirred up a hornet's nest. The New Yorker was a courageous man - many thought him stubborn - but he was not eager to take on the G.A.R. In a letter to Secretary Endicott on June 15, Cleveland advised that he had reconsidered the matter of the flags "with more care than when the subject was orally presented to me." As a result, he had decided to return of the flags by presidential edict "is not authorized by existing law nor justified as an Executive act." Disposition of the flags, he wrote, should be left to Congress.

If Cleveland thought that this strategic retreat would bring the matter to a close he was very much mistaken. The G.A.R. - numbering some 400,000 Union veterans - was at this time the most formidable lobby in the country. Democrats and Republicans alike wooed the old soldiers with promises of pension and other benefits, but in practice the G.A.R. was an offshoot of the Republican party. It was the Republicans - "the party of Lincoln" - for whom the G.A.R. turned out the vote. Now, with a Democratic president in the White House, the veterans' organization was not prepared to let the matter of the flags die away.

Cleveland had previously accepted an invitation to visit the Grand Army of the Republic at its annual
encampment at St. Louis. After some strong hints from the G.A.R. leadership. however, Cleveland withdrew his acceptance. At a G.A.R. reunion in Wheeling, West Virginia, there was a near riot when some parading units refused to march under a banner that included a portrait of Cleveland. It was clear, moreover, that the President had provided his opponents with an election issue. The Democratic "New York Sun" observed that there was obviously "a great deal left" in the sectional issue in terms of political exploitation. The "Atlanta Constitution" warned that Republican extremists "have put the South on notice that the next campaign is to be fought on sectional issues."

Not everyone in the North was impressed by the level of invective, nor by the G.A.R.'s zeal to join the fray. A respected monthly, the "Nation," ridiculed Fairchild for invoking God Almighty "to help him in this matter by killing the President with two strokes of paralysis." The editors suggested that enough killing had taken place in "the slaughter of 300,000 young men in the four years between 1861 and 1865."

It was "Fire Engine Joe" Foraker who made the most political hay out of Cleveland's blunder. He campaigned that fall on the issue of Cleveland's "insults" to the country's "brave, battle-scarred veterans," insults which, in the G.A.R.'s view, included the President's having gone fishing on Memorial Day. Foraker's easy reelection signaled that the White House had suffered damage over the flag episode.

When Cleveland ran for election the following year, he was defeated by Benjamin Harrison despite a margin of nearly 100,000 in the popular vote. Clearly, not everyone had succumbed to the waving of the "bloody shirt" by Foraker and his cohorts. Still, while there were no reliable polls a century ago, it was conceded that the veteran's vote had gone strongly against Cleveland, in part as a result of the battle of the flags.

The passions of any war die hard, and those aroused by a civil war take a particularly long time to heal. As time went on, however, there was less refighting of the Civil War. Time took its toll of the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Spanish-American War saw Northerners and Southerners once again under the same flag.

By 1905, 40 years after Appomattox, there was a Republican in the White House, one still savoring his landslide reelection. Theodore Roosevelt, acting in careful consultation with Congress, set about accomplishing the task that Cleveland had been unable to complete. It was remarkably easy. In February 1905 a bill to return Confederate battle flags passed both houses unanimously and was signed into law. It passed unanimously despite the fact that one Ohio senator at the time was "Fire Engine Joe" Foraker.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Terror on the Frontier - 4


South Carolina’s Edgefield District, as originally laid out in 1785, stretched from the Georgia border on  the Savannah River, east to the Saluda River.  Eventually, the district was divided into five separate counties, including today’s Edgefield County.  John A. Chapman's 1897 work, Edgefield County from the Earliest Settlements to 1897. As was the custom at that time, the subtitle of the book goes into some detail:  BIOGRAPHICAL AND ANECDOTICAL; WITH SKETCHES OF THE SEMINOLE WAR; NULLIFICATION; SECESSION; RECONSTRUCTION; CHURCHES AND LITERATURE; WITH ROLLS OF ALL THE COMPANIES FROM EDGEFIELD IN THE WAR OF SECESSION; WAR WITH MEXICO AND WITH THE SEMINOLE INDIANS.



After an overview of early settlement in Edgefield, Chapman relates the story of Isaac and Mary Gould, whose family was slaughtered by guests they had taken into their home for the night.  Mary was able to describe the incident in a deposition before dying of her injuries:

For many years before there was any permanent settlement the whole upper country was traversed by roving traders, who bought skins and furs from the natives and made large profits by the trade. Beavers, buffaloes, bears, and other animals, whose skins were very valuable, as well as wolves, catamounts, and wild cats, were quite as plentiful as squirrels and rabbits are now. There were also many wild deer, and at one time the exportation of skins from the State, or colony, ran up as high as to two hundred and fifty thousand a year. 

As far back as the year 1690, some time before the English settlers on the Ashley knew that there was such a people in existence as the Cherokees, a man named Daugherty, a trader from Virginia, lived amongst them for purposes of traffic. From his time many adventurers, in search of trade and fortune, frequented all the towns and war-paths of the nation. This trade, for some years, was very profitable, for the Indians knew little or nothing of the value of their goods, and for a few showy trinkets, and gems of small value, the trader on the Savannah, or the Catawba, could procure peltries which he could sell in Charleston for many times their cost.

One of the first settlers of the upper country, Anthony Park, who lived to a very advanced age in the adjoining County of Newberry, travelled in 1758, several hundred miles among the Indians to the west of the Alleghany Mountains. And even then he found several white men who said they had lived among the natives as traders twenty years; some forty or fifty, and one as many as sixty years. One of these traders had upwards of seventy decendants then living in the nation. These traders were mostly Scotch or Irish. These men, however, were not settlers, in the proper sense of the word, although they had lived for so many years in the nation. They were only transient persons; pioneers of the true settlers, living in the wilderness for the purpose of traffic—a love of adventure, and a desire to be rid of the restraints of civilized life. The territory of Edgefield was traversed, time and again, by these adventurers, as it lay in the direct line of route from Charleston and the Edistos to the rich, game-abounding country about Ninety-Six and the country above.

From the best information obtainable, we find that the earliest permanent settlements within the limits of Edgefield County were made about the year 1748. Ninety-Six was settled about that time. In May, 1750, a party of Monangahela Indians, led by a Cherokee guide, passed down the Savannah to attack the Euchees, who were friends of the English. These Euchees lived about two miles below Silver Bluff. The Monongahelas were defeated and fled, the Euchees pursuing. They passed through the pine woods about ten miles from where Hamburg now is, moving in a direct line for the then weak settlement of Ninety-Six. The pursuit was so close that the fleeing Indians were compelled to throw away their guns, blankets, and plunder. They avoided Ninety-Six and did not stop running until they reached the Cherokee towns. 

We find that one year later, May 7, 1751, Mrs. Mary Gould, called by Captain John Fairchild Mrs. Cloud, living on Little Saluda River, was severely wounded by two Savannah Indians, who killed her husband and children and a young man who was sleeping on the floor. These murders were committed treacherously, the savages having entered the house in a peaceable manner and having been kindly entertained by Gould and his wife. Several distressed families in that neighborhood then deserted their homes and retreated down the country to the Congarees to avoid the Indians. In August of the same year Capt. Fairchild informed the Governor, James Glen, that he had ranged with his company as high up as Ninety-Six, and had built near that place a fort of puncheon logs for the protection of the people of that settlement. That fort was built on the north banks of John's Creek, where a flourishing civilized settlement was founded contemporaneous with the first ever planted in any part of Ninety-Six District.



Saturday, August 3, 2019

Git 'r done



The List of President Trump's Accomplishments So Far
March 10, 2019
-Compiled by Mark Simone

IGNITING A HISTORIC ECONOMIC BOOM: President Trump’s pro-growth policies are unleashing economic growth and providing opportunities to workers across the country.

Due to President Trump’s pro-growth policies, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3 percent over the last four quarters.

Real GDP grew at annual rates of 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018 and 4.2 percent in the second quarter.

More than 5 million jobs have been created since President Trump’s election and the unemployment rate remains below 4 percent.

This is the eighth time this year that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent.

Prior to this year, the unemployment rate had fallen below 4 percent only five times since 1970.

The unemployment rate for African Americans in May fell to 5.9 percent, which is the lowest rate on record.

Asian and Hispanic-American unemployment rates have reached record lows this year.

Initial weekly jobless claims have hit a nearly 50-year low under President Trump.

Under President Trump, job openings outnumber the unemployed for the first time on record.

Recently, more than two-thirds of Americans rated “now” as a good time to find a quality job, tying a record high in a poll by Gallup.

Americans are seeing more money in their pockets thanks to the booming economy.

In recent months, workers have seen their largest nominal year over year wage growth in nearly a decade.

In 2017, real median household income rose to a post-recession high.

President Trump’s policies are helping to lift Americans out of poverty.

African-American and Hispanic-American poverty rates reached record lows of 21.2 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively, in 2017.

Since the election, 4.6 million Americans have been lifted off of food stamps.

Consumer confidence has soared under President Trump, recently reaching an 18-year high.

President Trump is delivering on his promise to bring back American manufacturing.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Index had the highest annual average in its history over the past year.

Manufacturing added 284,000 jobs in 2018, the most added in a year since 1997

Small Business optimism jumped to a record high under President Trump, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index broke a 35-year record in August.

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, ushering in the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.

These tax cuts are delivering real results for American families and workers.

More than 6 million workers received tax cut bonuses and benefits.

More than 100 utility companies have announced lower rates.

President Trump is ensuring American workers receive the training and education they need to compete in today’s economy.

President Trump signed an executive order establishing the National Council for the American worker.

More than 185 companies and associations have signed our “Pledge to America’s Workers,” promising more than 6.4 million new training and career opportunities.

The President signed legislation that reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, making more than $1 billion available for career education programs.

President Trump has prioritized the economic empowerment of women.

The women’s unemployment rate recently reached its lowest rate in 65 years.

The Small Business Administration lent approximately $500 million more in capital to women-owned businesses in 2017 compared to 2016.

The Administration helped launch the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which could leverage more than $1 billion to support women entrepreneurs.

ROLLING BACK RED TAPE: President Trump is rolling back costly regulations that have burdened hardworking Americans and stifled innovation.

President Trump has followed through on and exceeded his promise to roll back two regulations for every new one created.

President Trump’s Administration surpassed the 2:1 ratio in 2018, eliminating 12 regulations for every new one in 2018.

In 2017, the Trump Administration eliminated 22 regulations for every new one.

Since taking office, President Trump’s deregulation efforts have achieved $33 billion in regulatory savings.

In 2018, these efforts alone delivered $23 billion in benefits to American families and business owners.

President Trump has signed 16 Congressional Review Act resolutions into law, eliminating burdensome Obama-era rules and regulations.

President Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, which would have harmed America’s economy and cost American workers millions of jobs.

President Trump signed an executive order to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects with a goal of cutting approval time from up to 10 years to an average of 2 years.

President Trump signed legislation to roll back burdensome Dodd-Frank regulations that harmed community banks.

NEGOTIATING BETTER DEALS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: President Trump is negotiating fair and balanced trade deals that protect American industries and workers.

President Trump negotiated a new trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico to replace the disastrous and outdated North American Free Trade Agreement.

Once enacted by Congress, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.

USMCA will incentivize billions of dollars in auto and auto parts production in the United States and create a freer and fairer market for American agriculture.

USMCA also includes the strongest-ever provisions on labor, environmental, digital, and intellectual property protections to reflect the realities of the 21st century economy.

The President renegotiated the United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement to preserve and grow jobs in the American auto industry and increase American exports.

The United States and Japan are set to begin negotiations on a United States–Japan Trade Agreement.

President Trump is establishing a new trade relationship with the European Union (EU), working toward the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade.

President Trump has established a Trade and Investment Working Group to lay the groundwork for post-Brexit trade with the United Kingdom (UK) and has notified Congress of his intent to negotiate a free trade agreement with the UK.

This year, President Trump filed a withdrawal notification with the Universal Postal Union, launching a one-year negotiation to secure fair international postal rates for American mailers.

President Trump has expanded market access for American agricultural producers.

Argentina has opened to American pork and beef, Brazil to American beef, Japan to lamb and Idaho chipping potatoes, South Korea to American poultry, and more.

The Administration authorized $12 billion to aid farmers affected by unfair retaliatory tariffs.

The Trump Administration has begun the process to expand the sale of E15, or gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, to year round.

Under President Trump, the United States will no longer accept bad trade deals and unfair trade practices that harm American workers and industries.

One of the President’s first actions after taking office was withdrawing the United States from the terrible Trans-Pacific Partnership, which incentivized outsourcing.

In 2017, the Administration oversaw 82 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations.

President Trump is holding China accountable for its unfair trade practices, such as the theft of intellectual property, by imposing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods.

Following President Trump’s successful meeting with President Xi in Buenos Aires, both agreed to conduct negotiations over 90 days to address the United States concerns.

American steel and aluminum jobs are coming back following President Trump’s tariffs to protect domestic industries that are vital to national security.

President Trump imposed tariffs to protect American-made washing machines and solar products that were hurt by import surges.

UNLEASHING AMERICAN ENERGY: President Trump is rolling back costly and burdensome regulations to unleash America’s incredible energy resources.

After years of stifling regulation under the last Administration, President Trump is unleashing America’s energy potential.

America is the largest crude oil producer in the world and production has hit a record high.

President Trump’s policies are helping to boost American energy exports.

The Administration has streamlined Liquefied Natural Gas terminal permitting.

In 2017, the United States became a net natural gas exporter for the first time in 60 years.

American coal exports increased by more than 60 percent in 2017.

President Trump is expanding access to our country’s abundant natural resources.

The President signed legislation to open up energy exploration in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

In July 2018, the Department of the Interior announced it would hold the largest oil and gas lease sale in history.

In 2017, the Administration approved construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and the cross border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Administration issued permits for the New Burgos Pipeline that will export American petroleum products to Mexico.

The President has ended the war on coal, cutting Obama-era regulations such as the “Stream Protection Rule” which was estimated to cost industries $81 million a year.

President Trump is replacing the Clean Power Plan, a flawed Obama-era regulation that the Supreme Court ordered halted.

President Trump rescinded the hydraulic fracturing rule, which was expected to cost the oil and gas industry $32 million per year.

The Trump Administration curbed the burdensome Obama-era rule on methane, saving American energy developers hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory costs.

EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE: President Trump is expanding access to affordable healthcare choices and taking action to lower drug prices.

President Trump’s Administration is working to provide Americans with affordable alternatives to Obamacare.

The Administration expanded short-term, limited duration health insurance plans that are expected to be nearly 50 percent cheaper than unsubsidized Obamacare plans.

President Trump has expanded association health plans, allowing more employers to join together across State lines and affordably offer coverage to their employees.

The Administration proposed a reform to Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) regulations that will give consumers more freedom to purchase benefits that fit their needs.

Roughly 800,000 employers are expected to provide HRAs for more than 10 million employees once the rule finalized.

Americans have more healthcare freedom thanks to the President signing legislation that ended Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty.

While healthcare premiums had been steadily increasing as a result of Obamacare, the average benchmark exchange premium will decline for the first time in 2019 thanks to President Trump’s policies.

Next year, Americans will benefit from more insurer participation on the exchanges.

Medicare Advantage plans offer more benefit options than ever before, and average premiums in 2019 will be 6 percent lower than in 2018.

President Trump launched an unprecedented campaign to drive down drug prices, leading more than a dozen drug manufactures to enact price freezes, reductions, or rollbacks.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a record number of generic drugs, breaking the previous record set by the Administration in 2017.

The FDA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 generic drug approvals are expected to bring nearly $9 billion in savings in 2017 alone.

President Trump signed legislation eliminating contractual gag clauses that stopped pharmacists from informing patients about lower drug prices.

The President put forth an initiative to stop global freeloading that drives up prices for American patients.

The Administration provided Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans with new negotiating tools to drive down drug costs for American patients.

The Administration implemented reforms to the amount Medicare pays hospitals for drugs that are purchased under the 340B program, saving seniors $320 million in 2018.

President Trump signed “Right to Try” legislation to expand access to experimental treatments for terminally ill patients.

FIGHTING BACK AGAINST THE CRISIS NEXT DOOR: President Trump mobilized his entire Administration to combat the opioid crisis that has devastated communities across the country.

President Trump launched an Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand, introducing new measures to confront the driving forces behind this crisis.

The President signed the landmark SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the largest and most comprehensive legislative package addressing a single drug crisis in history.

The President helped secure a record $6 billion in funding to fight the opioid epidemic.

The Administration provided more than $2 billion in grants in 2018 to help States, territories, tribes, and local communities prevent and treat opioid abuse.

The Administration pursued scientific solutions to prevent and treat addiction through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative.

The President launched a national public awareness campaign about the dangers of opioid addiction and youth opioid usage.

Last year, President Trump created a Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which recommends ways to tackle the opioid crisis.

The Administration declared the opioid crisis a nationwide Public Health Emergency in 2017.

President Trump is working to cut off the flow of deadly opioids into our country and to disrupt the networks that distribute them to our communities.

The Administration secured first-ever indictments against Chinese nationals for fentanyl trafficking.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a surge to target fentanyl and heroin dealers in the districts with the most severe overdose death rates.

The DOJ formed a Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement team and shut down the biggest Darknet distributor of drugs.

Last year, the DOJ announced the largest healthcare fraud takedown in history, arresting more than 120 defendants with opioid-related crimes.

The President launched a Safer Prescribing Plan that seeks to cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years.

The Administration has led four National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days, collecting a record-breaking 1,837 tons of expired and unneeded prescription drugs.

STANDING UP FOR THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND PROTECTING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: The President is committed to defending the right to life and religious liberty.

Shortly after taking office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy.
President Trump defunded a United Nations (UN) agency for colluding with China’s brutal program of forced abortion and sterilization.

The Administration withdrew guidance that constrained State’s ability to exclude family-planning providers that provide abortion services from the Medicaid program.

The Trump Administration proposed new regulations to ensure Title X family planning funding does not go to projects that perform, support, or refer patients for abortion.

The Trump Administration issued regulations establishing new or expanded exemptions from the 
Obamacare contraceptive mandate based on religious beliefs or moral convictions.

In 2017, the President issued an executive order to promote free speech and religious liberty.

KEEPING AMERICAN COMMUNITIES SAFE: President Trump has made clear that his first responsibility is to protect the safety and security of Americans.

Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows violent crime decreased under President Trump’s watch in 2017, following two consecutive years of increases.

United States Attorneys indicted the most violent criminals on record last year.

Last year, the DOJ announced nearly $100 million in grant funding to hire hundreds of additional law enforcement officers.

President Trump is cracking down on the vile MS-13 gang that has brought violence to communities across the country.

In 2017, the DOJ worked with international partners to arrest and charge approximately 4,000 MS-13 members.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations arrested nearly 800 MS-13 members and associates in FY 2017, an 83 percent increase from the prior year.

President Trump signed an executive order to restore State and local law enforcement’s access to surplus equipment that can be used to help keep our communities safe.

President Trump enhanced and updated the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

The DOJ announced the creation of the National Public Safety Partnership in 2017, launching a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crime.

President Trump signed legislation to improve the Federal firearm background check system and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

President Trump signed the First Step Act, which includes bipartisan reforms to make our Federal justice system fairer and our communities safer.

The First Step Act will help prepare inmates to successfully rejoin society, reducing recidivism and improving community safety.

This legislation includes commonsense sentencing reforms that will make our Federal justice system fairer while keeping violent criminals and sex offenders off our streets.

ENFORCING OUR LAWS AND SECURING OUR BORDERS: From the first day of his Administration, President Trump has worked to uphold the rule of law and secure our borders.

President Trump released an immigration framework that would fix our broken immigration system through merit-based reform and provide the resources needed to secure our border.

This includes closing the legal loopholes that enable illegal immigration, ending chain migration, and eliminating the visa lottery.

President Trump secured funding to begin building the wall and construction has already begun in areas along the southern border.

President Trump deployed the military to assist in securing the southern border.

President Trump and his Administration took action to require aliens seeking asylum to go to a port of entry to make their claim.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended 17,256 criminals and 1,019 gang members in FY 2018.

ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested 158,581 aliens in FY 2018, an 11 percent increase from FY 2017.

90 percent of those arrested had criminal convictions, pending charges, or had been issued final orders of removal.

ICE ERO increased removals by 13 percent in FY 2018 to 256,086, the majority of whom were convicted criminals.

Removals of convicted criminal aliens increased by 14 percent from FY 2017.

Nearly 6,000 known or suspected gang members were removed in FY 2018, a 9 percent increase from FY 2017.

The Department of Justice prosecuted a record number of criminal immigration offenses in FY 2018, and increased the number of prosecutions for illegal entry by 84 percent over FY 2017.

Immigration courts are now completing more cases than at any point since 2011

President Trump kept his promise by launching the office of Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Administration has more than doubled the number of jurisdictions participating in the 287(g) program, which enables State and local law enforcement to aid immigration enforcement.

President Trump has made our country safer by ordering the enhanced vetting of individuals entering from countries that do not meet our security standards.

These procedures were upheld in a June 2018 Supreme Court ruling.

REBUILDING AMERICA’S MILITARY FORCE: President Trump is rebuilding our military and defending America’s interests across the world.

President Trump ended the devastating defense cuts of the past Administration and has secured historic investments to rebuild our military.

President Trump signed legislation providing $700 billion for defense in FY 2018 and $716 billion in FY 2019.

President Trump is supporting America’s men and women in uniform, securing the largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.

The President issued a new National Security Strategy to keep America safe from all threats.

The Administration has also released new strategies specific to cybersecurity, biodefense, counterterrorism, and weapons of mass destruction terrorism.

President Trump directed the first whole-of-government assessment of United States manufacturing and defense supply chains since the Eisenhower Administration.

President Trump initiated the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, improving United States deterrence policy and existing capabilities to counter nuclear threats.

President Trump empowered our military commanders with broad authority in order to take the fight to ISIS, and the results are clear.

ISIS has lost nearly all of its territory, more than half of which has been liberated since President Trump took office.

All of ISIS’ territory in Iraq was successfully liberated.

ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital city Raqqah has been recaptured.

ISIS’ territorial caliphate has been defeated and President Trump has announced that he is bringing America’s troops in Syria home.

President Trump announced a new Iran strategy to confront all of Iran’s malign activities and withdrew from the horrible, one-sided Iran nuclear deal.

All sanctions that had been lifted or waived under the Iran deal have been reimposed.

The Administration has sanctioned more than 160 individuals tied to the regime’s support of terrorism, ballistic missile program, human rights abuses, and more.

President Trump took decisive military action to respond to the barbaric use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.

President Trump directed strikes in response to the regime’s chemical weapons attacks in April 2017 and April 2018.

The Trump Administration has also rolled out sanctions targeting those tied to Syria’s chemical weapons program.

President Trump is strengthening America’s cyber defense and directed the elevation of the United States Cyber Command into a major warfighting command.

The President announced that the Department of Defense will work to create a Space Force to serve as an independent branch of the United States military.

RESTORING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ABROAD: President Trump is restoring American leadership on the world stage and advancing an America first agenda.

President Trump held an historic summit with Chairman Kim Jong-Un, bringing beginnings of peace and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.

Since the summit, the leaders have exchanged letters and high-level officials from both countries have met.

Because of the President’s actions, North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests.

The remains of POW/MIA service members from the Korean War are being returned to the United States.

Prior to the summit, President Trump’s leadership helped secure the passage of historic UN sanctions on North Korea.

President Trump followed through on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there.

President Trump withdrew the United States from the UN Human Rights Council due to its bias against Israel.

The Administration made clear that it does not accept the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over Americans and will continue to protect America’s sovereignty.

President Trump has successfully advocated for cutting waste at the UN.

Changes made to the organization’s structure allowed the UN to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from their budget, while making the organization more efficient.

The President’s leadership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has encouraged members to increase their defense spending and realign the Alliance’s priorities.

In 2017 alone, there was an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending among NATO allies.

President Trump convinced the Alliance to strengthen counterterrorism activities, and NATO formally joined the coalition to defeat ISIS.

President Trump’s Administration is working to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific through investments and partnerships.

President Trump has imposed tough sanctions on the corrupt regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

President Trump has taken tough action to combat Russia’s malign activities, including Russia’s efforts to undermine United States elections.

The Administration has imposed sanctions on more than 200 individuals and entities related to Russia’s destabilizing activities.

The Trump Administration has enhanced support for Ukraine’s defense by stepping up sales of weapons to its military.

The Trump Administration has secured the release of numerous American citizens held abroad, including Pastor Andrew Brunson from Turkey, Josh Holt from Venezuela, and more.

President Trump attended G20 summits in Argentina and Germany, where he promoted American First policies and encouraged closer cooperation.

In 2017, President Trump conducted tours through Asia to promote America’s interests.

HONORING AMERICA’S COMMITMENT TO OUR VETERANS: President Trump is honoring America’s commitment to our veterans by ensuring they receive the quality care they have earned.

President Trump secured a record $73.1 billion in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide quality medical care for our veterans.

This funding included $8.6 billion for mental health services, $400 million for opioid abuse prevention, $206 million for suicide prevention, and more.

The President signed the VA MISSION Act, revolutionizing that VA healthcare system and reforming numerous services for our veterans.

This legislation will consolidate and reform existing programs to give eligible veterans better access to healthcare providers in their communities.

Thanks to this legislation, eligible veterans will have access to walk-in community clinics that offer immediate, local care.

President Trump and his Administration have expanded access to telehealth services for veterans, including through the “Anywhere to Anywhere” VA health care initiative.

President Trump issued an executive order requiring the Administration to improve access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for veterans.

President Trump signed the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, making it easier to fire failing employees and protect whistleblowers.

Under President Trump, the VA has removed, demoted, or suspended more than 4,300 employees for poor performance.

President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, streamlining the process used by veterans when appealing benefits claims.

President Trump fulfilled his promise to create a new White House VA Hotline to provide veterans with 24/7 support.

The VA is providing veterans with online access to wait time and quality of care data.

The President signed the Forever GI Bill, providing veterans, service members, and their families with enhanced education benefits.

Last year, programs at the VA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development helped more than 51,000 veterans find permanent housing and access supportive services.

TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT: President Trump has followed through on his pledge to transform the Federal Government and increase accountability and transparency.

President Trump’s Administration submitted a plan to reorganize the executive branch in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

In a historic show of transparency and accountability, the Trump Administration completed the Department of Defense’s first ever audit.

The President implemented a five-year ban on lobbying for White House employees and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign countries.

Each quarter since taking office, President Trump has donated his salary, fulfilling a promise he made to the American people.

President Trump is reshaping our Federal judiciary, appointing judges who will follow the Constitution as written.

The President has appointed Circuit Court judges at a record pace.

President Trump has appointed two Supreme Court justices, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.