Five greatest achievements of President Donald Trump (so far)

When Donald Trump swept to a shock victory in the US presidential election 365 days ago, the world braced for what was to come next.

His campaign performance suggested his administration would take a very different approach to predecessor Barack Obama - and that struck a chord with Americans, who had been polarised by the first black US president.

Many loved him, but many also hated him.

In the 12 months since, Mr Trump has largely lived up to those expectations. He has been ridiculed for taking the world closer to nuclear war, making up countries that don't exist, claiming credit for dubious achievements and occasionally forgetting his wife is standing right beside him.

American University professor Allan Lichtman, who has successfully predicted presidential outcomes over the past 30 years - including Mr Trump's win - is now forecasting his impeachment.

"Certainly the lack of any significant accomplishment at home and abroad - and scandals that seem to be piling up - would bode not well at all," he told the BBC. 

But, depending on your politics, Mr Trump's tenure hasn't been a complete flop.

Here are some gold nuggets for his supporters to savour.

The Wall

One of Mr Trump's most spectacular election platforms was his determination to build a "big, beautiful wall" along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigrants.

He was also adamant Mexico should pay for the construction and threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods to achieve that.

The 3201km-long border sees 350 million legal crossings each year, making it the most frequently crossed in the world.

No work has begun on the wall yet, but regardless, Trump's repeated warnings have been heard and heeded south of the border.

US-Mexico wall
Prototypes of the US-Mexico wall are being tested. Photo credit: Getty

In August, the US Border Patrol reported 20 percent less illegal immigrants captured over the past 12 months than the previous period. The 17,000 arrests in March were the least in 17 years and marked the fifth successive month they had fallen.

"We've seen an absolutely amazing drop in the number of migrants coming out of Central America that are taking that terribly dangerous route to the United States," insisted Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Of course, the cynical might claim that many of those intruders simply pushed their crossings forward to late last year, before Trump took office. Arrests through October/November/December were up by a third over the same period in 2015.

Judicial Appointments

As Barack Obama left office, he nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy as Associate Justice in the US Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.  

But with the election looming, the Senate refused to confirm the appointment and Mr Garland's nomination expired as Mr Trump took office.

Instead, he promoted Neil Gorsuch to the seat, perhaps the first and highest-profile appointment of a radical shift in the judiciary. Mr Trump will have the opportunity to make several High Court appointments and has already begun filling lower courts with lifetime appointees.

At 49, Mr Gorsuch will likely be there for a long time.

Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as Supreme Court Justice.
Neil Gorsuch is sworn in as Supreme Court Justice. Photo credit: Getty

"A massive transformation is underway in how our fundamental rights are defined by the federal judiciary," said former Democrat aide Ron Klain, who served under Bill Clinton and Mr Obama.

"While President Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect - naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers." 

Environment vs Industry

Mr Trump has taken considerable flack for undoing many of the environmental reforms introduced by Mr Obama, most notably US membership of the Paris Agreement on climate control.

Essentially, the Trump administration has questioned whether climate change is real and how much can be blamed on humans.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt intends setting up two teams - red and blue - to robustly debate the issue from both sides, which seems extremely pragmatic, but utterly pointless to those who consider the answer is obvious.

The EPA has already begun dismantling Mr Obama's Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas, and overturning a drilling ban in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

"Just the number of environment rollbacks in this time frame is astounding," Harvard University environmental law professor Richard Lazarus told the New York Times.

Of course, these changes are great news for the industrial lobby, which has heavily influenced the EPA under Messrs Trump and Pruitt.

Trump/Pruitt protestors
Protestors against Trump/Pruitt environment cutbacks. Photo credit: Getty

"It amounts to a corporate takeover of the agency in its decision and policy-making functions," said Robert Weissman, president of government watchdog group Public Citizen. 

The Paris withdrawal in June was largely symbolic, since the US cannot formally pull out until November 2019 and that will not take effect for another year after that - the day after the next presidential election.

Also, treaty decisions are non-binding, which means the 140 ratifying countries - including the United States - aren't obliged to follow through on any of them.

Mr Trump has promised to "begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its business, its workers, its people, its taxpayers".

Many Americans would applaud that defence of their interests.

Stocks Rising

Mr Trump claims the US economy is "surging" and while there are certainly signs it is healthy, much of that optimism can be traced back to the slow-burning policies of previous administrations.

Under his watch, though, the stock market has hit an all-time high, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average exceeding 23,000 for the first time ever. A year ago, it stood at about 18,200.

That confidence is attributed to the corporate world's greater trust in Trump, compared to the alternatives of Mr Obama or Hillary Clinton.

This upturn even seems to have confounded the Wall Street curse, that claims markets tend to peak in September or October of years ending in '7', before plummeting. "Black Monday" - the most disastrous single day in stock market history - occurred on October 19, 1987.

Wall St traders
Wall St traders celebrate Dow Jones Index hitting 20,000. Photo credit: Getty

But dealing in a system that is even more complex than it was 30 years ago, traders are still understandably nervous about the effects of the inevitable downturn.

"We don't know when that day is going to be," Themis Trading co-founder Joseph Saluzzi told

"It could be tomorrow or next year, or two or three years from now… but when it happens, it's going to be really, really ugly."

Homeland Security

Perhaps the greatest thing Mr Trump has given Americans is a sense that he won't back down from anyone in the world.

He's talked tough on stamping out terrorism using any means available and when your constitution includes the right to bear arms, that comes with a certain expectation that they should not remain holstered when your home is under threat.

Most world leaders prefer diplomacy and maybe Mr Trump's aggressive rhetoric is really a cover for more peaceful measures taking place behind the scenes.

Or maybe his bluster is simply making the US a bigger, juicier target for its many enemies.

But even as the president plays nuclear chess with North Korea, he has claimed significant victories over some of his other rivals.

MS-13 gang
MS-13 gang members arrested in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Getty

In August, the State Department reported that nearly a third of the territory reclaimed from ISIS since 2014 has been won back since Mr Trump took office.

The Islamic State's occupation of Iraq and Syria peaked in early 2015, but has more than halved since. Of the 70,000 square kilometres seized back, mainly by local forces, 20,000 square kilometres have come under Mr Trump.

On the homefront, the Justice Department has enjoyed success against the vicious El Salvador-influenced MS-13 gang, with 17 members arrested for 12 murders in Long Island, New York.

Ironically, some claim Mr Trump's tough immigration policies are actually scaring away informants, who fear deportation if they come forward.