By Christos Marafatsos* (SOURCE: Neomagazine.com)
Greek Americans are one of the most hard-working, educated, successful, and influential ethnic groups in America. With over 3 million Greek American voters preparing to cast their ballots on November 3rd, it comes as no surprise that only one candidate has earned our vote – President Donald J. Trump.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, has continuously failed the Greek American community. It’s time that we acknowledge the fact that after 47 years in public service, serving at the highest levels of government, Joe Biden failed to champion and advance the political, geopolitical, economic, and religious interests that are most important to Greek American voters. While Joe Biden is just now giving our community the attention it deserves during this presidential election, his political record speaks for itself in that it demonstrates that he will continue to let us down if he is elected.
In stark contrast to Joe Biden, President Trump, after only 4 years in office, is the most Pro-Greek president of our time.
U.S.-Greece relations is at an all-time high as a result of the efforts of the Trump administration and its successful trade agreements and historic shifts in foreign policy. Additionally, President Trump has a proven track record of promoting continued economic opportunity, innovation, job creation, lower taxes, and a strong America that embraces secure borders, freedom of religion, and the American dream. Consequently, we’ve seen that Greek Americans overwhelmingly support the Trump Pence 2020 re-election campaign, continuing the Greek American tradition of endorsing conservative values and voting Republican. Put simply, Greek Americans support President Trump because of his ability to get the job done.
As a first-generation Greek American, I have had the privilege of serving as an advisor to the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns of President Trump. I have had the unique opportunity of observing firsthand the unwavering support and the long-term commitment that President Trump has shown to Greece and to the Greek American community.
For many Greek Americans, like myself, President Trump has won our vote. The following are the top 10 reasons why:
- S.-Greece Relations “the best it ever was” under Trump Administration
On his most recent visit to the United States on January 7, 2020, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with President Trump in the Oval Office of the White House. It was the second meeting for the two world leaders since the Prime Minister was elected in July 2019 and marked a milestone in U.S.-Greece relations. In the press conference that followed the meeting, both leaders praised the success of their diplomatic relations, with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis proclaiming Greece’s relationship with the U.S. as “the best it ever was.”
Furthermore, at the direction of President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Greece to meet with Greek Foreign Minister Nikolaos Dendias to reaffirm the two countries’ common values and strategic interests and to further strengthen cooperation with respect to defense and security in the Eastern Mediterranean. This historic meeting resulted in Secretary Pompeo noting that the relations between the U.S. and Greece are “at an all-time high and getting stronger.”
- Greece is in, Turkey is out
Historically, under almost every other president, the United States has prioritized its strategic cooperation with Turkey over Greece. For the first time in modern history, President Trump has shown the world that Greece is a more strategic and reliable ally than Turkey. On September 28, 2020, in an effort to grow the United States military and strategic cooperation with Greece, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the Unites States Navy ship, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, will be permanently based at the naval base in Souda Bay, Crete. In his remarks during the joint press conference with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Secretary Pompeo stated that the U.S. looks to Greece as a “true pillar for stability and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, and we are incredibly proud to support its leadership.”
In his first term in office, President Trump was successful in changing the fundamental relationship between the U.S. and Greece by growing the U.S. military cooperation with Greece while at the same time reducing collaboration with Turkey. This alone is a monumental victory for U.S.-Greece relations and a historic shift in the long-term implications of U.S. foreign policy.
- Trump Holds Erdogan Accountable
Contrary to what the American and Greek media portray, President Trump has been the only President to hold dangerous dictators like President Erdogan accountable. Unlike his predecessors, President Trump has placed both tariffs and sanctions on Turkey for its unjustifiable actions against U.S. allies, and incursion into northeast Syria. “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path,” Trump said in a statement.
Furthermore, in an open letter written to President Erdogan on October 9, 2019, President Trump warned President Erdogan: “You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy- and I will. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”
- Eastern Mediterranean Stability Critical to Trump
Under the leadership of President Trump, the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 was passed, allowing the U.S. to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defense initiatives. This Act further solidifies the U.S.’s national security interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, as it bolsters the relationships with Greece and Cyprus and provides progressive efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security in the region.
- Trump Protects Cyprus
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has recognized the Republic of Cyprus as a reliable partner in the Eastern Mediterranean. On September 1, 2020, the Trump administration announced the momentous decision to end the 33-year-old arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. Moreover, the U.S. announced the intention to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to the Republic of Cyprus. The IMET program is a key component of U.S. security assistance by strengthening the bilateral relationship and promoting regional stability and defense capabilities through professional military education and training.
- The U.S.-Greece Science & Technology Agreement
Signed on September 29, 2020 by President Trump, the groundbreaking U.S.-Greece Science and Technology Agreement expands the cooperation between the U.S. and Greek public and private sectors and paves the way for a number of new investments, from modernizing government infrastructure to advancing next generation technologies.
Michael Kratsios, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, explains: “For us, this agreement underscores the commitment of both our nations to the advancement of science and technology for the benefit of our citizens, the economy of the future and security. Some of the priorities we have in the White House for technology, artificial intelligence and 5G are shared by our counterparts here in Greece and we are happy and committed to working with them to promote their development (in these areas)”.
According to the historic agreement, the city of Thessaloniki, the international gateway to the western Balkans, is emerging as a regional science and technology hub. It notes that American companies like Pfizer, Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon, and Tesla are expanding their footprint into Greece. Just one week after this agreement was signed, Microsoft announced its plan to invest $1 Billion to build 3 data centers in greater Athens and by 2025 would train 100,000 people in Greece in digital technologies.
- Trump Exempted Greek Olive Oil, Cheese, Wine, and other Products from US Tariffs Imposed on EU
President Trump has proven that his America First policies, which have been designed to protect American jobs, consumers, and products, will also prioritize protecting its allies, particularly Greece. The Trump administration issued a special exemption regarding Greek olive oil, olive products, cheese, wines and other related products to remain exempted from the US tariffs on European Union products. As Greece heavily depends on the export of its agricultural and food products, the exemption is considered crucial by the Greek government, as it increases the competitiveness and viability of Greek products and companies.
- Trump Cut Taxes and Regulations
Greek Americans play a vital role in our nation’s economy and workforce across all sectors, and President Trump has been recognized as one of the most pro-business presidents in history. President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which enabled the largest overhaul of the tax code in three decades. Additionally, between FY 2017 and FY 2019, the Trump administration has cut nearly eight regulations for every new regulation- more than fulfilling President Trump’s promise to cut two regulations for every new regulation imposed. The $1.5 trillion tax overhaul, coupled with the elimination of regulations and red tape have undoubtedly positively impacted Greek American business owners, families, and individuals in the workforce, with the average American saving thousands each year.
- Trump puts Religious Freedom and God First
As Greek Orthodox Christians, there’s nothing we hold higher than our faith and values. As liberals continue to promote and embrace a society where religion is banned from schools, work, and the norms of everyday life, President Trump has implemented historic policies that will ensure the greatest religious freedoms and liberties.
President Trump has: (1) Signed an executive order on Advancing International Religious Freedom, declaring the effort to protect religious freedom both a domestic and foreign policy priority. President Trump and senior administration officials have confirmed that this executive order will have direct and positive implications for the continued freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarch and will protect against the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East. (2) Signed an executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty that instructs the Treasury Department not to target the tax-exempt status of churches and other institutions. (3) Ordered the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the civil rights of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers who refuse to take part in procedures such as abortion, reversing an Obama-era policy that required them to do so. (4) Directed the Justice Department to issue a 25-page guidance to federal agencies instructing them to protect the religious liberty in the execution of federal law. (5) Deemed that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” as he called on governors to allow them to open “right now” after being closed during the coronavirus lockdowns.
- Trump Embraces the American Dream while Joe Biden Embraces Socialism
In a desperate ploy to win over the Democrat Party’s socialist base, Joe Biden has collaborated with socialists Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and Kamala Harris to create the most radical series of policy proposals in American History. The threat of socialism has never been greater and only President Trump will stand up to the far-left to protect American workers, maintain law and order, religious freedom, defend our Orthodox Christian values, and our pursuit of the American dream.
* Christos Marafatsos is Chairman, Greek Voices for Trump