The Caliphate has been crushed, but ISIS is by no means dead. Here’s the latest.

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(Jerusalem, Israel) — Tonight, I fly back to the U.S. to prepared to launch my new political thriller, The Kremlin Conspiracy. But before I pivot to Russia, I wanted to update you on the fight against the Islamic State. 

After all, my last three novels — The Third Target, The First Hostage and Without Warning — all dealt with the threat of ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and plotting genocidal attacks against the U.S., Israel, Jordan, the Palestinians and Egypt.

What’s more, a year ago I asked McLaughlin & Associates, a respected U.S. polling first whose clients included the Trump campaign, to conduct a survey to understand how Americans were viewing the war against ISIS. What we found was sobering:

  • Only one-in-three Americans believe “the U.S. and our allies are winning the war against the Islamic State and getting safer every day.”
  • A remarkable 41 percent believe “the U.S. and our allies are losing the war against the Islamic State and the threat to our safety is growing.”
  • Fully one-in-four say they had no idea if we’re winning or not.
  • We also found that almost seven-in-ten Americans (68%) said they “fear catastrophic terrorist attacks by ISIS are coming to the U.S. homeland, possibly involving chemical or biological weapons.”

How much has changed in just twelve months.

The new administration — working closely with its Arab and Kurdish allies — has:

The Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is, effectively, no more. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the war against ISIS is far from over.

  • Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, has been reported killed several times, but seems to actually be still at large. He needs to be stopped and brought to justice.
  • Many ISIS foreign fighters have redeployed from the Middle East to their home countries, where they are believed to be plotting new and deadlier attacks. The U.S. and Europe need to be especially wary.
  • Countries like Libya and Yemen are in chaos, and ISIS can use such no-man’s lands to rebuild and train for new strikes.

“Brett McGurk, the special envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, told reporters at the State Department just before Christmas that the U.S. had made significant progress against the extremist network in 2017, but there is still work to do,” reported U.S. News & World Report.

“Nobody who works on these problems would tell you we’re popping champagne corks or anything,” said McGurk, who began his position during the Obama administration and has continued under Trump. “This is not over, there is a long way to go.”

Bottom line: the West — and Washington — dare not become complacent. Much progress has been made in the battle to crush the Caliphate. But ISIS is not dead. We must stay on the offense, lest these jihadists blindside us, without warning.

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Who was Billy Graham? Many don’t really know. Here’s the foreword I wrote to a marvelous biography of the evangelist. I commend it to your attention as we remember the most influential Evangelical of our age.

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Almost a decade ago, I was asked to write the foreword to an absolutely marvelous biography titled, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence. Written by David Aikman, a former foreign correspondent for Time magazine, it is the best book about the evangelist of the many that I’ve read. In this week leading up to the March 2nd memorial service in Montreat, North Carolina, if you’re looking to learn more about this extraordinary servant of God — for yourself or for young people, many of who don’t really know who he was — let me commend this work to you, in print or audio. 

FOREWORD

Jesus Christ once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these will he do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)

Jesus also said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

When I think of Billy Graham, I think of these two verses. For no single human being in the history of the world ever personally preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to more people face to face than Billy Graham – some 215 million in 185 countries.

No single Protestant Christian leader in human history ever personally befriended, counseled and shared the love of Christ and the truths of the Bible with more presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens than did Graham.

Few evangelists have employed radio, television, satellite technology, motion pictures, magazines, books, and the Internet more effectively than Graham to reach hundreds of millions of more souls with the life changing message of the cross, and to train tens of thousands of international evangelists to carry the message to the ends of the earth.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, Graham may have actually reached more people with the gospel than were on the planet when Jesus walked the earth, and did more than any other single human in the 20th century to fulfill the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 and set the stage for the Second Coming.

Why did the Lord choose an ordinary farm boy from North Carolina to accomplish such an historic mission? How did the Lord train and prepare this young man to reach the nations with the message of salvation? What were the geopolitical, social, religious and cultural contexts in which Billy Graham operated? What mistakes did Graham make, what mistakes was he wisely able to avoid, and what lessons can the next generation of Christ-followers and Christ-proclaimers draw from his life and ministry?

These are the questions that have fascinated me ever since I had the opportunity to see Billy Graham in person for the first time in September 1988 in my hometown of Rochester, New York, when he was leading a Crusade at Silver Stadium and my parents were on the platform committee.

My admiration for and curiosity about Graham only intensified the following year, in April 1989, when I had the opportunity to meet and interact with him. I was a senior at Syracuse University. Graham was bringing his Crusade to the Carrier Dome on our campus. But a few months before he arrived, Radical Islamic terrorists from Libya blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing thirty-five fellow S.U. students. Knowing the local General Secretary of the Syracuse Crusade, I asked him if he would invite Graham to speak at a special student forum we would entitle, “Peace In A Troubled World.”

Graham’s staff informed us that due to his age and health, he had largely stopped doing such forums. But given the unique situation, the evangelist graciously agreed. We organized a private reception for him at the Chancellor’s home to meet the student leaders on campus and answer their questions. Then Graham spoke to the larger student body we helped organize and answered their many spiritual and personal questions. I watched the Lord use Billy Graham powerfully that night, touching the lives of young people devastated by an act of Middle Eastern terrorism with the message of a Savior from the Middle East, and I was forever moved.

The interaction of those days whetted my appetite to understand this man, his message, and his methods more deeply. In the last two decades, I have read many Billy Graham biographies, but this one is by far my favorite.

David Aikman’s masterful and incredibly insightful work, Billy Graham: His Life and Influence, is a must read for everyone trying to understand how God can raise up a teenager no one has ever heard of and transform him into the greatest evangelist in the history of the world. David poignantly captures the drama of Graham’s meteoric rise, his proximity to power, the challenges he faced, but most of all his enduring passion to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone who would listen.

I first came across the book on audio tape and listened to it numerous times, intrigued by the insider details that David reports and the geopolitical and social context that he provides. As David vividly portrays, for half a century Billy Graham made such a gigantic mark on the religious life of both the U.S. and the world that in important ways he transformed the age in which he lived.

He turned evangelical Protestantism into the normative form of the Christian faith as practiced by Protestants.  He reached out in an extraordinary way to Roman Catholics, and in many ways was embraced by them as a “brother.” 

Christians of more liberal theological persuasion might gripe under their breath about “those Fundamentalists,” but they have never been able to challenge the dominance of evangelicals. Globally, Billy Graham accomplished something similar. 

He injected a self-confidence into multiple national Christian movements that helped propel them, in some cases, into positions of national power. Finally, internationally, Graham was at least a partial catalyst for some of the most important events of our era:  the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the peaceful transition from apartheid to black African majority-rule in South Africa.

As you are about to see, David Aikman describes in gripping detail Graham’s painful parting of the ways with America’s leading Fundamentalists in the 1950’s, his complex, and sometimes tormented coping with the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and his intriguing, but not always smooth, relationships with eleven of America’s presidents.  In recounting the different stages – and sometimes lurches – of Graham’s life, I found that David fascinatingly, but always succinctly, sketched in just enough of the historical and political background to bring the entire story vividly to life.

The same is true of those parts of the book that deal with Billy Graham’s travels overseas. David Aikman was for 23 years a correspondent for TIME Magazine, and for much of that time was a foreign correspondent and assigned to TIME bureaus all over the world.  He became very familiar with the international settings of many of Graham’s most important foreign journeys and knew personally some of the personalities with whom Graham met.  His insights into the collapse of Communism, the rise of Christianity in China, and the peculiar nature of North Korean Communism are worth reading for their own sake. 

Billy Graham, of course, was first and foremost an American original. But in many ways he also belonged to the entire world, a world which to this day has been profoundly affected by his life. His deeply-held conviction that Jesus Christ is coming back soon – and his determination to give every man, woman and child on the planet an opportunity to hear the gospel and respond to it before that Day – is one of the most important stories of the past century.  May the Lord use this wonderful book to inspire and encourage you to receive Christ into your own heart, and then make His beautiful and powerful Name known to the nations while there is still time.

Joel Rosenberg, Washington, D.C., February 2010 

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UPDATED: Billy Graham has gone home to be with the Lord. He preached the Gospel to 200 million+ face-to-face, more than any man in history. How his life and message impacted me forever.

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UPDATED: (Jerusalem, Israel) — It feels like an apostle has left the earth.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Rev. Billy Graham — a humble giant of the Evangelical Christian faith — has been called home to be with the Lord. He was 99.

Please keep his family and staff in prayer as they process his loss, and simultaneously set into motion long-prepared plans for his memorial service, which will be held on Friday, March 2.

Let’s also thank our Father in heaven for using this farmer’s son from rural North Carolina to boldly proclaim the Gospel to more people than any other person in human history. He preached in stadiums and arenas to more than 200 million people, as well as to hundreds of millions of more souls via radio, TV, film, books, media interviews, a newspaper column, the Internet, and other forms of media.

Rev. Graham had a profound impact on my own life and faith, as I know he had on many of you.

  • URBANA STUDENT CONFERENCE: In December 1984, I first heard Graham preach live and in person. I was one of 17,000 students attending Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s “Urbana Missions Conference” in Urbana, Illinois. I was only a senior in high school, but the little church I attended gave me a scholarship to join a group of college students who had rented a bus to drive all night to get there. The entire conference was wonderful, but Graham’s message was the most powerful, moving and funny sermon I had ever heard. To this day, I can still remember his core theme — “What will you be like as a Christian ten years from tonight?” — and his jokes. Years later, I found the audio of the message on the BGEA archives and have loved listening to it several times over, as well as confirming how much of that message I really did remember because it was etched into my soul.
  • BUFFALO: In the summer of 1987, my family and I drove to Buffalo, New York, to experience a Billy Graham Crusade for the first time. Wow. I’d seen them on TV. But it was something to see in person, a simple man speaking simple words but holding an audience of 50,000 or so in rapt attention as he explained the Gospel message and asked them to make a decision to follow Jesus as Messiah and Lord forever.
  • ROCHESTER: In September 1987, my parents served on the platform committee of the Billy Graham Crusade in Rochester, New York, the closest major city to the little village of Fairport where I was raised. Three friends of mine — including my future wife, Lynn Meyers — drove from Syracuse University where we were students to Rochester to attend that Crusade on a chilly Fall Wednesday night. It was a profoundly moving experience for me.
  • SYRACUSE: I first had the honor of meeting him in April of 1989 when I was a senior at Syracuse University. My pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy — who was also the Evangelical chaplain at S.U. — was asked to be the General Secretary of the Billy Graham Crusade in Syracuse that spring. It was to be held on our campus, in the Carrier Dome football stadium. Dr. Koshy asked me and several other students to assist him in various aspects of preparing the evangelistic campaign. This included co-writing a memo on the Christian history of the university and the major issues students were talking about in those days and personally briefing the evangelist on the memo and answering his questions. I had the opportunity to help organize a private reception for Rev. Graham and student leaders at the Chancellor’s home, and help organize a special Q&A forum Graham conducted for S.U. students after the tragic terrorist attack that downed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The flight had 35 Syracuse students on board. It was blown up in December 1987, just a few months before Graham was scheduled to arrive on campus. It shook the student body terribly, and Graham graciously agreed to an evening event just for students that we called, “Peace In A Troubled World.” He was so gentle, and gracious, so compassionate and willing to listen to the students’ pain. He was also so clear and direct that the only hope for peace in this world or the world to come was through faith in Jesus the living Messiah and God of the universe.
  • BOOKS: I have devoured Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am, in print and multiple times on audio and highly recommend it, as well as many of his other books, from Peace With God to Angels. Indeed, I have also read and loved many books written about Graham — my favorite by far being Billy Graham: His Life and Influence by former Time magazine correspondent David Aikman (for which I wrote the foreword to the paperback edition). Another excellent one is The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham In The White House by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.
  • MONTREAT, NORTH CAROLINA: Just a few years ago, Anne Graham Lotz invited me to come to North Carolina to teach the Scriptures at The Cove retreat center, and to come up to her childhood home to meet with and pray for this aging servant of the Lord. It was a special and moving time. He was a lion in winter — a man who had once raced the planet, powerfully preaching the Gospel to millions in 185 nations, befriending and counseling kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers in the Word of the Lord; now sitting quietly in a rocking chair, a blanket over him, on oxygen, his hands frail, his hair white. He was warm and kind, hospitable and quiet. No longer was he running or preaching. Now he was reclining and praying. I had the opportunity to thank him for the impact he had had on me, from Urbana to the present. I reminded him of the forum he did at Syracuse University after the Pan Am disaster and how transformative that was for all of us. Anne and one of her daughters read the Bible to him. While his voice was raspy, he literally groaned with affirmation for every word of the Lord they spoke as his spirit resounded to the words of his Savior. I remember thinking later that night after we’d come down from the mountain that it was like meeting the Apostle Paul. I confess that I wept with thanksgiving that I, the grandson of Orthodox Jews who escaped persecution in Russia, could have a precious hour with a man no better than any of us, but a man chosen and used so powerfully by the King of glory.

My prayer now is that even in his passing, his memorial service will be used by the Lord to proclaim the good news of God’s amazing grace and love to hundreds of millions — maybe billions — more people in the U.S. and around the world. What’s more, I pray that millions whose lives and souls have been touched by “America’s Pastor” will share those stories with family and friends and strangers, so they too can know the good news.

So many still need to hear the simple truth of the Jewish Messiah who came to teach and love and suffer and die on the cross, then rise again on the third day in fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets. So many still need to know that the Messiah has come to give forgiveness and eternal and abundant life to anyone who will repent and call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be saved. And that He is coming again, maybe soon. 

May Billy Graham’s simple message be remembered, and may his humble example be followed. 

(photo: Rev. Graham with my pastor, Dr. T.E. Koshy, and myself at a reception for student leaders at Syracuse University in April 1989)


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Announcing 10-city U.S. book tour for “The Kremlin Conspiracy.” First event will be a keynote address at the NRB Convention in Nashville next week.

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Two weeks from today, The Kremlin Conspiracy will release in hardcover, e-book and audio formats. Today, I’m excited to announce a 10-city speaking and media tour.

You can learn all the details of each public event on the tour by clicking here. Please make plans to attend one of the events. I’d love the opportunity to meet you, sign your book and answer your questions.

I’m deeply honored to have been invited to deliver a keynote address to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville next week. In addition, I’ve been asked to speak at several other events during the convention. The NRB speech will mark the book tour’s kick-off, though most of the book interviews I do will actually begin the week of March 6th. Please follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates on media interviews, but we’ll also be posting some of the interviews on my website, on our “Epicenter Team” Facebook page, and on my Twitter account, if you miss them.

If you haven’t pre-ordered The Kremlin Conspiracy, please do so today!

Here are excerpts from the NRB press release:

Best-selling author and Middle East expert Joel C. Rosenberg is scheduled to speak during the Super Session on March 1, 2018, at Proclaim 18, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rosenberg has appeared on top national and religious radio and TV shows; met with religious and government leaders all across North America and around the world; and spoken to many audiences, including audiences at the White House, Pentagon, Congress, Canadian Parliament, and the European Union Parliament.

“Joel Rosenberg has unique insights about critical issues today, and we are thrilled to have him join us for Proclaim 18, NRB’s 75th annual Convention,” said NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson. “Convention attendees will be blessed to hear what God has placed on Joel’s heart, and he is sure to challenge and inspire during the Super Session….

Proclaim 18 will take place February 27-March 2, 2018, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, while NRB’s award-winning Exposition – featuring around 200 exhibitors – will be open February 28-March 2.

Other NRB speakers include Vice President Mike Pence, Pastor Rick Warren, Pastor Greg Laurie, and actors Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel. Music will be provided by Mercy Me and Michael W. Smith, among others.

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Former CIA Director and New York Times best-selling writers praise THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY, forthcoming political thriller about a Russian Czar plotting to attack the US & NATO alliance. (Novel set for March 6 release.)

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As the countdown to the March 6th launch approaches, some early endorsements of The Kremlin Conspiracy are in, and they’re encouraging.

“Joel Rosenberg has an uncanny talent for focusing his story-telling on real world hot spots just as they are heating up. He has done it again in The Kremlin Conspiracy. Russia is back in the headlines above the fold as a macro-mischief maker and Joel’s new thriller presents a worst case scenario that must never come to pass. All Americans – especially the President, Members of Congress and our national security team – should be mindful of the threat an out-of-control Moscow poses to peace and freedom.” – Porter Goss, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

“Marcus Ryker rocks! Breakneck action, political brinksmanship, authentic scenarios, and sharply defined characters make Joel C. Rosenberg’s Kremlin Conspiracy a full throttle and frightening ride through tomorrow’s headlines.” – U.S. Army Brigadier General (retired) A. J. Tata, national bestselling author of Direct Fire

“Joel C. Rosenberg writes taut, intelligent thrillers that are as timely as they are well-written. Pairing a fast-paced plot with an impressive understanding of the inner workings in the corridors of power of the Russian government, The Kremlin Conspiracy is a stellar novel of riveting action and political intrigue.” – Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Agent in Place

The Kremlin Conspiracy is my first Joel C. Rosenberg novel, and I am absolutely blown away by how good this guy is. The story moves at a blistering pace, it’s crackling with tension, and you won’t put it down until you reach the end. Guaranteed. Simply masterful.” – Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon

What is THE KREMLIN CONSPIRACY all about?

SEPTEMBER 1999: A series of apartment bombings in Moscow shock the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorists, and Oleg Kraskin―a sharp young lawyer in love with the president’s daughter―has no reason to doubt it. Yet when he joins the First Family of Russia, and the president’s personal staff, he has no idea how radically the bombings will one day alter the course of world events. Or what role he himself will play.

SEPTEMBER 2001­: Just after the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are attacked, Marcus Ryker enlists in the Marines and is sent to Afghanistan to defend his country. In time, he joins the United States Secret Service and works his way up to the elite Presidential Protection Detail. It’s his dream job, until a tragic accident causes him to rethink his priorities.

Neither Marcus nor Oleg is aware of just how much they themselves will change history when their paths cross.

Russia’s president is a rising czar determined to restore his country to her former greatness―and he will stop at nothing to do so. Even risk nuclear war.

Now Marcus has to make the most important decision of his life. Would it ever be right to assassinate a single leader if it could prevent a genocide? If it is, then everything he’s learned to protect our president, he’ll need to take out theirs.

Please pre-order your copy today in hardcover, e-book or audio formats today from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Lifeway, or your favorite bookstore retailer!

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Three weeks to launch: The Washington Examiner mentions “The Kremlin Conspiracy” today. Tyndale posts new video book trailer. Book tour schedule coming this week. (Pre-order now.)

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With the clock ticking down until publication day, The Washington Examiner mentions The Kremlin Conspiracy in today’s “Washington Secrets” column.

“An author popular with Washingtonians, Joel C. Rosenberg, is coming out with a new thriller tied to current politics,” writes columnist Paul Bedard. “The Kremlin Conspiracy, out March 6, features an American president so focused on Iran and North Korea that he is blindsided by a Russian czar plotting an attack on the Baltic states. Rosenberg said his fans include Vice President Mike Pence, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former CIA Director Porter Goss, Sen. Marco Rubio, human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.”

Far and away, I’m most grateful for all of my readers who live outside the Washington Beltway, across the U.S. and Canada and around the world. But it’s certainly been fun (and surprising) over the years to discover who’s reading my novels in the mysterious corridors of power, from Capitol Hill to the CIA.

In other news, my publisher — Tyndale House — just released a new book trailer on video — click here to watch.

Later this week, we’ll release the book tour schedule. Stand by for that and I hope you’ll make plans to come see me and get your book signed.

For now, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy in hardcover, e-book, or audio from your favorite book retailer — and please let your family and friends know about the new book, as well. Thanks!

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Are Evangelical Christians anti-Palestinian? (my new column for The Jerusalem Post)

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Here’s my new column in The Jerusalem Post.

ARE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS ANTI-PALESTINIAN? To the contrary, Scripture teaches us to love both Arabs and Jews

Palestinian leaders are not simply infuriated by President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

They are also incensed by what they perceive as an anti-Palestinian theology held by Evangelical Christians generally, and specifically by Evangelicals close to Mr. Trump, including Vice President Mike Pence.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with Mr. Pence during his recent visit, and gave a blistering speech denying Jews have any biblical or historical claim to the land.

“Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism, but rather used by the Jews as a tool under the slogan of the ‘Promised Land,’” said Mr. Abbas.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, blasted Mr. Pence’s “messianic discourse” in the Knesset as a “gift to the extremists.”

Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian legislator, also excoriated Mr. Pence, saying that in his Knesset speech he “brought to bear his ideological, fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of the Bible in order to punish the Palestinians and reward the aggressors, the Israeli occupiers.”

As an Evangelical, a dual US-Israeli citizen and an author who has spent the past several decades building friendships with Muslim and Christian Arabs from Morocco to Iraq, I would like to respectfully correct some misconceptions.

First, Evangelicals who take the Bible literally….

[To read the full column, please click here]

Note: I wrote this column as one of the founders of a new organization, Alliance For the Peace of Jerusalem.

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What are President Trump’s biggest successes? What are his failures & disappointments? Here’s my analysis of his tumultuous first year in office.

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After a full-year in office, it is time to take stock of the Trump presidency. 
  • He certainly stunned the world by winning the 2016 elections despite having no government experience and a very controversial campaign.
  • He remains absolutely reviled by the Left, and much of the media.
  • He has made plenty of rookie mistakes in his first year and his approval numbers reflect that — hitting a record-low 32% in December, while since rebounding somewhat, hitting 42% this week in the wake of the passage of the tax cut bill and clear evidence of a surging economy and stock market.

Now that he has delivered his first State of the Union address (watch or read), let’s set aside the media firestorm and the deep cynicism of most reporters and pundits and ask, What is the truth? In what ways is this unconventional President succeeding? And how is he struggling?

I’ve been watching the President and his team very closely this year, and I’ve been praying for them every day, sometimes several times a day. My readers know that I was originally a “Never Trumper” during the campaign, but changed my position just days before the election, for reasons I laid out in detail on this blog. As I told CNN’s Anderson Cooper back in February, “There’s a difference between being a cynic and a skeptic. In an Evangelical way of looking at it [the Trump election], this was a marriage I wasn’t sure should happen, but now that it has happened I want the President to succeed. But I think cynics are unable at times to be able to hear anything good that the new President says,” or does.
 
In that spirit, then, here is my assessment of the President’s successes in economic, domestic and foreign policy/national security, the President’s failures and/or disappointments, and some observations on his capacity to change — to course-correct — when he’s making mistakes. It is by no means exhaustive, but I hope you find it helpful.
ECONOMIC & DOMESTIC POLICY SUCCESSES:
FOREIGN & NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY SUCCESSES:
CAPACITY TO CHANGE

DISAPPOINTMENTS & ON-GOING CHALLENGES:

  • Has not laid out a comprehensive strategy to protect all innocent life and end the cruelty of abortion once and for all, despite 60 million abortions having been performed since 1973. “A new analysis published by the National Right to Life Committee indicated there have been an estimated 60,069,971 abortions since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions,” reports Life News. The President rightly notes the Declaration of Independence says government’s mission is to protect life. He must do more.
  • Unnecessary and at times unkind, divisive and off-message Tweets and comments by the President. Such activity is taxing — and arguably, exhausting — the goodwill of the American people, undermining the many positive policy and personnel decisions the President has made. Indeed, a remarkable “70% of voters say the President should stop Tweeting from his personal account,” according to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, indicating this view is held by a wide range of Americans of differing ideological beliefs — left, right and center.
  • Allegations of unkind, inappropriate and immoral relations with women. The “Access Hollywood” video that surfaced during the presidential campaign revealed at best a cavalier attitude — and at worst an abusive approach — towards women that I found deeply distasteful. Indeed, abhorrent. Since then, other allegations have surfaced of other disturbing behavior towards women. At this writing, I can’t say I know for certain what is true and what are false allegations. I refuse to jump to any conclusions, and I hope none of the allegations are true. But will not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to any of these allegations. If they are proven true, I will speak out then, as I hope others will. In the meantime, I will keep two principles in view. First, I will pray for the President and his family. Two, I will seek to “be kind and slow to judge” (Psalm 143:2). 
  • Disconcerting and repeated statements of admiration of Vladimir Putin, combined with other odd and at times contradictory quotes about Putin, by the President. Such statements suggest the President may not adequately appreciate the threat Putin and the Russian military and intelligence community pose to U.S. national security and that of America’s allies. Indeed, the President only mentioned Russia one time during his State of the Union address, and only in passing, at that.
  • Michael Flynn, the President’s former U.S. national security advisor, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. “Court documents show Flynn has acknowledged to investigators that at least two Trump transition members were involved in his outreach to Russian officials — though he initially gave false statements about those discussions,” reported Fox News. This certainly does not prove the President himself “colluded” with the Putin government during the 2016 campaign. It is troubling, nonetheless. 
  • Paul Manafort, the President’s former campaign manager, being indicted by a federal grand jury (with his business associate, Rick Gates) on 12 counts of illegal activities, as part of the on-going Russia investigation. Again, to be clear, I do not yet know what to make of the much-disputed charge that the Trump campaign illegally “colluded” with the Putin government to win the 2016 elections. The President calls the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.” And that may well be. We will know all the facts in due time and can more fairly assess them then. There is no reason to rush to judgment. That said, it is worth acknowledging that large numbers of Americans are deeply concerned about the matter and worry the President is not being straight-forward with the public about his relationship with Moscow. “A Washington Post-ABC poll found nearly half — 49 percent — of Americans believe Trump himself tried to interfere with the Russia investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice,” reported the Washington Post. “And about a quarter — 26 percent — of Americans believe there is “strong evidence” supporting their belief. And half of Americans believe the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, according to the poll.” 
  • Repeated public attacks against the U.S. intelligence community, the FBI and even his own Attorney General, risking undermining public confidence in the hardworking and patriotic Americans who work in federal law enforcement and the intelligence community. Almost unprecedented in U.S. history, the President has publicly blasted the conduct of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “very weak”, said he was “very disappointed” with Sessions, and allowed rumors to run rampant for months that he might fire the Attorney General because Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.   
  • Penchant for self-aggrandizing exaggeration and hyperbole that erodes public trust in the President’s words (such as famously insisting the crowd size at the inauguration was far larger than it was, or insisting he won the 2016 election by a “massive landslide”). A new poll in January 2018 found that the President face a “credibility gap” — “only 35 percent say he’s ‘honest,’ and 34 percent say he’s ‘trustworthy.'”
  • Chose Rex Tillerson, who has no experience in government or global diplomacy, to be the Secretary of State, and has not replaced Tillerson despite continuing controversy and strains in the relationship. The President has publicly contradicted his Secretary of State numerous times (see also here), and privately weighed replacing him. I’m sure that Mr. Tillerson is a fine and honorable man and he has an impressive record in the private sector. However, the American people need world-class diplomat and one that the President has full confidence in, and one that world leaders know has the President’s full confidence and ear. In such a tumultuous global environment, it was a mistake for the President to appoint him, and a mistake not to make a change immediately.
  • Incredibly slow to appoint qualified, trusted ambassadors around the world. There are currently 20 open ambassadorial posts in Europe, numerous open ambassadorial posts in key Middle East countries like Egypt and Jordan, and the U.S. still does not have an ambassador in South Korea, despite the rising risk of war on the Korean peninsula.
  • Wasn’t able to persuade Members of his own party to repeal and replace Obama Care, as he promised. The President has made some progress at reducing the harm of Obama Care, such as ending the individual mandate (via the tax bill). But in his State of the Union address, he did not ask Congress to try again to repeal and replace the entire system.
  • Has not yet passed solid legislation to secure America’s southern border, and still hasn’t secured $25 billion for the border wall, despite making this one of his top policy priorities.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

  • Overall, on policy and personnel (especially Vice President Mike Pence, who has been excellent), the President has had an impressive year. He’s certainly made mistakes, but he has also shown the capacity to make changes and course-correct.
  • On his own personal statements and Tweets, the President has had a terrible year. This lack of discipline has undermined his credibility with the American people and America’s friends and allies around the world. He needs to quickly change course and take a significantly different approach towards personal communications.
  • Defending the sanctity of human life from the womb to natural death must become the President’s top priority. He’s doing better on this than I would have predicted, but needs to do much more. America faces judgment for murdering 60 million babies. We must legally end this evil scourge with all haste.
  • As the President and his team begin their second year in office, I commit to praying for them every day. I also commit to praying for the country, for revival and a Great Awakening (which have nothing to do with Washington or the presidency.) I hope you will commit yourself to on-going prayer for the country and her leaders, too.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” — the Apostle Paul (I Timothy 2:1-3)

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> To pre-order a copy of The Kremlin Conspiracy (which releases March 6th), please click here.

> To order copies of the new mass market paperbacks of the J.B. Collins novels — my trilogy about ISIS plotting attacks on the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Egypt — please click here.