If you were to ask me, I would have to say that I think President Donald Trump has had a pretty successful first year. The stock markets are booming because of investor confidence in the policies pushed and advocated for by his administration and unemployment is at a 17-year low.

With the passage of the new tax bill, the corporate tax rates are being lowered, allowing corporations to bring more money home and reinvest in cities across America. We have already seen major companies such as Southwest, AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Howard Stirk Holdings and others giving one-time bonuses of $1,000 to employees, and in some cases increasing their lowest wages to $15 an hour, which will benefit many hardworking Americans on the lower end of the economic spectrum.

When you sum it up, the president has been considerably successful. However, his success hasn’t been without its troubles, many of which have been caused by the president himself.

While I agree that Twitter is a powerful tool that allows the president to circumvent traditional media and speak directly to his followers, supporters and the rest of the world, it has also harmed the president’s agenda. He has attacked his own attorney general, undermining his authority at the DOJ, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, unnecessarily complicating the Senate’s ability to get things done.

Why would anyone feel motivated to continue working with someone who attacks and undermines them? Without McConnell, tax reform wouldn’t have passed and the continuance of such attacks in the future will further complicate the president’s relationship with Hill leaders when he needs them most.

It’s also a dangerous game to get into spats with unpredictable dictators such as Kim Jong Un, the professed dear leader of North Korea. The president recently got into a pissing match with Un over a nuclear button, with the president tweeting: “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Such irresponsible language could cause further instability from the already unpredictable young leader. While I understand the president’s desire to be strong and tough, this is not a situation where such behavior should be fully displayed on a social media platform. Discernment is a critical characteristic that the president sometimes misses.

As the president goes into his second year in office, he should be more tactful in how he uses social media. While it’s a powerful tool that has many positive and effective attributes, it is also a tool that complicates and undermines the president’s ability to effectively achieve certain legislative goals and properly address certain international crises.

The president is a proven communicator and his years of television experience have refined his ability to promote himself and his agenda to the American people. Despite his effectiveness, he has also managed to further divide the country. While the division that we see existed before the 45th president, I think it is safe to say it has increased as a result of some of his comments.

Divisiveness may not be his intent, but the result speaks for itself and despite how well the economy is doing, many are so opposed to Trump because of his words. They negate how effective he has been. The result of this could mean that Republicans lose the House, effectively ending the president’s ability to pass legislation.

Democrats don’t have the impetus to work with the president on much of anything – similar to Republicans during the Obama years. The net result for the American people in 2017 was negative because not much was accomplished beyond executive orders.

I would like to see the president host rallies and town halls in front of unfamiliar audiences and disparate groups. Sure, they will be tough crowds and may not agree with the president, but I strongly believe iron sharpens iron and leaders only grow when their ideas are challenged. The White House may also find that they’re able to change a few minds on economic issues that impact certain demographics more than others.

The presidency will be whatever Donald Trump makes it and at the end of the day, he is responsible for his success. I strongly believe he can turn things around. He needs to change his tune and talk directly to all people about how his policies will benefit them relative to the status quo. He has proven that he is his best salesperson, and he has to have discernment and discipline to see his ideas through with a methodical and objective message.

2018 should be the year of refinement for the president. With midterms quickly approaching, Trump could significantly expand his base by changing his behavior. He could do what President Barack Obama wasn’t able to do: bring the country together.

Armstrong Williams is owner of Howard Stirk Holdings, which owns TV stations in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and other cities. He was the SGA president from 1979 to 1981 at South Carolina State University.

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