SO that’s it. Donald Trump’s time as American president is over, and everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, painting him as black as possible.

He left with a Gallup poll approval rating of 34 per cent – the lowest on record – but I’m convinced history will show him to have been a success.

Why? Because he was exactly what was needed – someone willing to shake up an establishment that has taken the world nowhere for decades. When the china shop is selling the same old tat, you need a bull to smash it up a bit.

Yes, he’s made mistakes, but he deserves credit for being bold.

For a start, he had the courage to take on China. It’s fine for China to be getting economically better-off – but not when it’s at the expense of others. By escalating the tariffs on goods imported from China, Trump finally started to exercise some much-needed control.

During his presidential campaign, he pledged to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that had been abused by Mexico and Canada. He delivered on that and the US economy is stronger as a result. In fact, his international politics have been good overall – withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal also sent a clear message to a rogue country.

Domestically, Trump realised the importance of supporting America’s own manufacturing base, and that’s an important lesson the UK has to learn. We have to bring manufacturing jobs back here, even if it costs a little bit more. We mustn’t subsidise failing businesses, but let’s keep the money here in the UK because, ultimately, we’re all better off.

I accept Trump handled the election loss badly, but if it hadn’t been for postal voting, he’d have won because it favours the Democrats and is more open to fraud. The golden rules should be one person, one vote; cast in person, and in private.

Another signature of Trump’s time in power was his border wall between the US and Mexico. Whether it’s a wall or not, you have to have borders and a frictionless border is not a real border. Immigration has to be controlled, with more emphasis on helping people in their own countries.

He was also widely ridiculed for his comments about injecting disinfectant to treat Covid-19, but I saw that as very positive because sometimes you have to think the unthinkable to get to a new place. He didn’t say do it – he said it was something worth exploring. The mistake was to say it publicly, but I will always respect people who think outside of the box because that’s how some of the best ideas take root.

Finally, Trump’s administration ended with impeachment over the Capitol riots. Did he incite that mob? I’m not sure, but I don’t think the words he used were unreasonable, and I certainly don’t believe it was an attempt at an organised coup.

My fear now is that we’ll now go back to the same old routine with Joe Biden, when what we really need is someone to maintain what Trump started: someone bold, different, and brave enough to shake up the status quo.

l John Elliott is the founder of dehumidifier and washing machine manufacturer Ebac, of Newton Aycliffe