President Donald Trump had a successful first year, but there were moments when his supporters felt particularly vindicated about their decision to vote for him. Those moments are “MAGA moments,” when it was clear that Trump was keeping his promise to Make America Great Again.
Here are some of the biggest MAGA moments of the year:
12) The inauguration speech
Prior to the inauguration on January 20, 2017, establishment politicians and media figures urged Trump to unite the country and reach out to both sides of the aisle. But Trump delivered a swamp-draining populist speech in front of the Washington, DC, elite:
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
11) Getting tough with Cuba
In June, Donald Trump rolled back many of the agreements that former President Barack Obama made with the Castro regime in Cuba, vowing to stand for freedom in the region.
“The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade does not help the Cuban people; they only enrich the Cuban regime,” Trump said in a speech at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami, Florida.
Now that I am your president, America will expose the crimes of the Castro regime and stand with the Cuban people in their struggle for freedom because we know it is best for America to have freedom in our hemisphere, whether in Cuba or Venezuela, and to have a future where the people of each country can live out their own dreams.
10) American hostages freed
In October, Trump announced the release of Caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle, and their three children, who were held captive in Afghanistan. After their release was secured, Trump thanked Pakistan for working with his administration to secure their release:
“I believe they’re starting to respect the United States again. It’s very important,” Trump said. “I think right now, a lot of countries are starting to respect the United States of America once again.”
Trump also secured the release of American charity worker Aya Hijazi from Egypt in April, Sandy Phan-Gillis in May, and the release of Otto Warmbier in June.
9) Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city
In December, Donald Trump again defied the common thinking of the foreign policy establishment elite, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” he said at the White House. “Today, I am delivering”:
8: The joint address to Congress and tribute to Special Forces soldier Ryan Owens
In February, Trump delivered an address to Congress, urging members of both parties to come together to restore America’s greatness.
During his speech, the president recognized the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed in a recent military operation:
Trump said, “For as the Bible teaches us, ‘There is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom. And we will never forget Ryan.”
It was a powerful moment in the House chamber, kicking off Trump’s presidency.
7) Drive them out!
On his first international trip as president, Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia to outline his tough vision for combating radical Islamic terrorism:
At one point, Trump was emphatic:
A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out. DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship. DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities. DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
6) Trump defends Western values in Europe
During a trip to Poland, President Trump delivered a strong speech about the importance of defending Western civilization:
As the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means, but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak, and we will not survive.
5) Ending the Paris climate change deal
In June, Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, fulfilling another campaign promise.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said during his announcement:
As president, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people. The Paris Accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world. It is time to exit the Paris Accord — (applause) — and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country.
4) Rescinding DACA
In September, Trump rescinded former President Barack Obama’s overreach of executive power to give amnesty to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. Although Trump expressed interest in providing amnesty for the so-called DREAMers, he insisted that it would have to go through Congress.
“There can be no path to principled immigration reform if the executive branch is able to rewrite or nullify federal laws at will,” he said in a statement.
3) Withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
In January, Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, fulfilling one of his promises on trade.
“We just officially terminated TPP,” Trump said during a meeting with workers and union leaders, who applauded at the news:
2) Nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
In April, Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to nominate a strict constitutionalist Supreme Court justice to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump said, “[Scalia’s] image and genius was in my mind throughout the decision-making process,” and he selected Justice Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court:
Millions of voters said this was the single-most important issue to them when they voted for me for president.
I am a man of my word. I will do as I say, something that the American people have been asking for from Washington for a very, very long time.
1) Signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Trump closed out the year by signing his biggest legislation to date. The bill signed by the president dramatically reformed the tax code, eliminated the individual mandate for Obamacare, and opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to drilling. It was the first big win for Trump’s presidency, as he worked together with Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Paul Ryan and Mitch — it was a little team,” Trump said. “We just got together, and we would work very hard. … It was a lot of fun. It’s always a lot of fun when you win. If you work hard and lose, that’s not acceptable.”