Trump: Evaluating his first 100 days
It’s something of an “arbitrary deadline, yes,” said Amber Phillips in WashingtonPost.com, but every new president since FDR has been judged by his first 100 days in office. For Donald Trump, who reaches that milestone this week, the comparisons are not flattering. Trump is the first president since Jimmy Carter not to sign major legislation in his first 100 days, despite Republicans enjoying full control of Congress. His approval rating hovers around a dismal 40 percent— by far the lowest of any modern president at the 100-day mark. In a tweet last week, Trump dismissed the “ridiculous standard of the first 100 days,” but during the campaign he released a “Contract With the American Voter” setting out what he explicitly called “my 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” The contract listed 10 pieces of legislation Trump would try to pass in his first three months, including funding a border wall and launching a $1 trillion infrastructure program. “None of that has come to fruition.” Only one major piece of legislation—Trump’s disastrous attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—has even been introduced in Congress. Are we surprised to find Donald Trump in breach of contract? asked Ron Insana in CNBC.com. He’s a businessman who has “overpromised and underdelivered” his whole life, declaring bankruptcy six times, creating a faux university that defrauded students, and repeatedly refusing to pay contractors and laborers. His presidency is beginning to look like another “failed effort,” providing “theatrics” instead of substance.
The president’s “first 100 days have been just fine,” said Marc Thiessen in WashingtonPost.com. Trump’s greatest achievement is probably the nomination and confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, 49, to the Supreme Court. Every conservative 5-4 decision for the next 30 years should count as one of Trump’s first 100 days’ accomplishments. Trump has also withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, restarted work on the Keystone XL pipeline, and, crucially, “restored our credibility on the world stage” with his swift military response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. On border security, said Byron York in WashingtonExaminer.com, Trump’s executive actions have dramatically reduced illegal immigration, with apprehensions at the Mexican border down a whopping 64 percent from last year. “That is a solid success by any measure.”
Trump may not yet have done very much, said Ben Casselman in FiveThirtyEight.com, “but he’s done a lot of undoing.” Trump, his Cabinet appointees, and congressional Republicans have been hard at work dismantling President Obama’s legacy wherever they can, and have “delayed, suspended, or reversed dozens of Obama-era rules” on banking, the environment, firearms purchases, and dozens of other issues. Trump’s supporters are more than happy with his performance so far, said Salena Zito in NYPost.com, with only 2 percent of those who voted for him saying they regret their vote. “To them, the president remains disruptive, unconventional, defiant, and willing to change his mind.” They’ll give him time to deliver on his promises.
Why are critics focusing on Trump’s lack of positive achievements? asked Jeet Heer in NewRepublic.com. In just 100 chaotic days, he has clumsily taken major steps toward his goal of “radically transforming America” into an ultranationalist country that “scorns immigrants,” threatens and alienates allies, and embraces racism and xenophobia. Given the “lasting damage” he’s already done to America at home and abroad, Trump’s “first 100 days have been as consequential as those of any president in history.” ■