President Donald Trump has scoffed at the measurement even as the White House heralded the successes of his first 100 days in office.
In the final week before this key presidential marker, Trump made progress on several promises such as unveiling a tax reform proposal and talking with leaders of Canada and Mexico about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trump’s budget proposal addressed a slew of the promises from his first 100-day plan.
Trump is also the first president since 1881 to gain a Supreme Court confirmation in the first 100 days, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus boasted during an NBC News interview.
A new president’s first 100 days became a barometer for success beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who aggressively signed numerous bills and executive actions after taking office.
Trump issued more than 30 executive orders, the most in five decades during a president’s first 100 days, according to the White House. Among these orders: authorizing construction of a border wall, requiring that for every new regulation that two others be undone, and imposing a federal hiring freeze.
He also signed executive orders approving the Keystone XL and Dakota oil pipelines and lifting restrictions on energy production, including reversing Obama administration regulations on coal.
“Increasing American energy independence is important to national security and it is something the president has done, with deregulation,” White House spokesman Michael Short told The Daily Signal. “Approving the Keystone and Dakota pipelines will help us toward the goal of getting off Middle East oil.”
Courts have stalled some of Trump’s agenda on immigration reform, regarding “extreme vetting” of certain would-be travelers to America and the administration’s effort to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.
Though his legislative achievements seem thin on the surface, Trump has signed 28 pieces of legislation into law, technically more than any president since Harry Truman, the White House says.
The bulk of that legislation has come from the use of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back regulations promulgated by the Obama administration. Under that law, Congress has 60 legislative days to disapprove a rule and get the president’s signature on that joint resolution.
Notably, the administration had a significant legislative setback when conservatives and centrists of Trump’s own party in the House didn’t support the Trump-backed health care bill pushed by the chamber’s Republican leadership to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Trump’s two predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, both managed major legislative accomplishments in their first 100 days.
Bush signed a tax cut bill, while Obama signed a massive economic stimulus bill, said Martha Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, an organization that provides information to new White House staffers to help streamline the change from one administration to the next.
“In both cases, there were a substantial number of bills these presidents pushed in Congress,” Kumar told The Daily Signal. “In Trump’s case, the 28 bills he signed were mostly reversing what Obama had done.”
Jenny Beth Martin, president of Tea Party Patriots, said she would give Trump an A grade for his first 100 days for keeping most of his promises.
“He has worked to secure the border and has done as much as he can through executive action,” Martin told The Daily Signal. “One of the reasons he hasn’t been able to get as many major legislative items has been Senate Democrats. The Obamacare replacement from House Republican leadership was also disappointing.”
Perhaps the biggest Trump initiatives of the first 100 days weren’t expected.
These came on the national security front: The U.S. struck a Syrian air base used to carry out dictator Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own civilians. A week later, the U.S. dropped the so-called “mother of all bombs” on an Islamic State hideout in Afghanistan.
As a candidate, Trump made a series of promises during a campaign speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he laid out his plan for the first 100 days. Here’s a look at promises kept and not kept:
‘Clean Up the Corruption and Special Interest Collusion’
Part of Trump’s plan to “drain the swamp” was taking on both lobbyists and Capitol Hill, and he had a six-point plan.
The first item was to “propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.” As president, Trump hasn’t advocated this yet, nor has he thrown the weight of his office behind an existing term limits proposal in Congress.
He did immediately keep the second promise, however, with a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition. He exempted military, public safety, and public health employees.
Trump promptly kept his promise to sign an executive order requiring two regulations to be eliminated for every new one created.
He imposed a five-year ban on White House officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service. He put in place a lifetime ban on White House officials’ lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
However, the president didn’t impose a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections, or on congressional staff from becoming lobbyists—both measures requiring an act of Congress.
‘Protect American Workers’
The first action listed under this category was Trump’s plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the trade deal among the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
After reports the Trump White House drafted an order to pull out of NAFTA, Trump talked to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by phone on Wednesday.
“I decided rather than terminating NAFTA, which would be a pretty big, you know, shock to the system, we will renegotiate,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “If I’m unable to make a fair deal for the United States, meaning a fair deal for our workers and our companies, I will terminate NAFTA. But we’re going to give renegotiation a good, strong shot.”
Trump already acted on his second promise in this category, withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with 11 countries that the Obama administration signed but Congress never ratified.
Trump the candidate also vowed that he would direct his Treasury secretary to label China a currency manipulator. However, after meeting recently with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump put a hold on this idea because, he said, he believes China will help pressure North Korea to scale back its nuclear ambitions.
Trump also vowed that he would direct the Commerce Department and the U.S. trade representative “to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.”
In March, he followed through with an executive order directing a country-by-country and product-by-product review. Just last week, Trump announced the administration was launching an investigationinto steel dumping.
Dumping is a form of price manipulation in which a manufacturer of a product—in this case, steel—floods a country with the product, pricing it below market value and sometimes below the cost of production to increase market share and harm competition in a foreign market.
Trump rolled out an energy plan almost identical to his campaign proposal to “lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas, and clean coal.”
Trump also signed an executive order to remove barriers to the Keystone and Dakota pipelines. The Keystone pipeline was specifically part of the 100-day plan.
The final vow in this category was to “cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
The White House’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal would “cease payments to the United Nations’ climate change programs.”
‘Restore Security and the Constitutional Rule of Law’
Trump said he would “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama.” He has reversed some, but others are still in place, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which shields children of illegal immigrants from deportation.
The second pledge in this category was to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last February. The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last month in perhaps the biggest victory for Trump so far.
Trump also followed through on his pledge to cancel unspecified federal funding to sanctuary cities. This matter was recently blocked by a court, but the administration will appeal.
With increased enforcement for the border and the interior, the administration has already begun to deport criminal illegal immigrants. Trump pledged to remove 2 million illegal immigrants in his 100-day pledge, which is in progress.
He signed an executive order that prioritized removal of criminal illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration is down 61 percent since Trump came into office, according to the White House, and at a 17-year low.
In perhaps the most controversial move, the Trump administration followed through on a promise to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur.”
Trump also called this “extreme vetting.” However, this matter is also stuck in litigation and under a judge’s temporary restraining order. Critics of the policy call it a “Muslim ban.”
Trump announced a tax reform proposal Wednesday, the first legislative item listed on his 100-day plan. Trump’s plan would cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, and reduce the number of individual tax brackets from seven to three: 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent.
Trump’s legislative list also included the “Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act.” This turned out to be the House Republican leadership’s American Health Care Act.
While the initial bill failed, Republicans in Congress are putting forward a new proposal that has the support of most members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as well as centrist Republicans who balked at the earlier version. A slim chance exists of a vote before the end of the week.
Trump the candidate promoted a “School Choice and Education Opportunity Act.” His budget addressed the issue by advocating a $1.4 billion boost to cover charter schools, permitting public dollars to follow children to other public schools, and a federal voucher system for parents to pay for private schools.
However, the administration hasn’t directly addressed other legislative proposals that were part of the 100-day plan, such as a major infrastructure initiative, tariffs, new ethics laws, and a child and elder care tax credit.
Candidate Trump promoted an “End Illegal Immigration Act,” which included funding construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. An initial payment for the wall of $1.5 billion was part of the Trump budget proposal.
However, the administration reportedly isn’t willing to risk a government shutdown over the issue, which Senate Democrats have threatened to do, to achieve the funding in a short-term spending bill to keep the government operating through Sept. 30.
Trump did establish a law enforcement task force to help local police combat violent crime and determine how federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors can dismantle criminal gangs. However, he did this through an executive order rather than through the proposed “Restoring Community Safety Act.”
The 100-day plan also included proposing a “Restoring National Security Act.” The provisions have been spread across several proposals and presidential actions.
Trump’s budget proposal would increase the military budget by $54 billion to $603 billion, offset by cuts to foreign aid.
This same campaign proposal would provide veterans more choices of private health care providers paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Last week, Trump signed a bill extending the health care voucher system for veterans.
The measure improves on a 2014 system that was about to expire, which was put in place as a response to the veterans’ waiting list scandal exposed in 2013.