Most Influential People2019

Donald Trump

By Chris Christie
U.S. President Donald Trump
Joshua Roberts—Reuters

Every modern U.S. President tries to influence the world. President Donald Trump has done this through opposing the NATO countries not paying their fair share, pushing China and our North American neighbors for fairer trade agreements and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement. His boldest move in this direction is likely his personal efforts on the issue of North Korea. President Trump has, in fact, used the past year to place his imprint on a problem spanning more than six decades.

Despite denuclearization agreements in 1992, 2005 and 2008, North Korea has become a nuclear power. President Trump decided to ramp up sanctions early in his tenure (which other Presidents have done) but decided to take a very different tack thereafter.

In June 2018 President Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy and held a summit with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore. The President believes that only personal diplomacy can solve this crisis. The President’s supreme confidence in his own ability to persuade others to make a deal is now the basis for American denuclearization policy toward North Korea.

President Trump deserves great credit for daring to try to personally persuade Chairman Kim to join the family of nations. This approach holds the possibility for history–making changes on the Korean Peninsula to make us all safer.

Christie, a Republican, is a former governor of New Jersey