Trump’s first 100 Days

One of the very few things I agree with Donald Trump on is the notion that the “first 100 days” standard is essentially a meaningless standard. As National Public Radio pointed out in a recent story, the first 100 day standard goes back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and although he accomplished a remarkable number of things in his first 100 days – abated by historical circumstances related to the Great Depression – even his accomplishments have been somewhat exaggerated.

The idea of measuring an American president by the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office goes back to 1933 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s dash to staunch a banking crisis and pull America out of the Great Depression.

In a July 24, 1933, fireside chat, he assessed the early months of his administration.

“I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal,” Roosevelt said.

He had signed a record 15 major pieces of legislation in those first 100 days. But it’s not as simple as the legend would make it seem.

So what has Trump achieved in his first 100 days? The short answer is nothing on the legislative front, and a bunch of stuff (of uncertain efficacy and questionable legality) on the executive front.

On the Legislative front

In brief, on the legislative front, Trump promised on the campaign trail to enact all of the legislation set forth below in his first 100 days. He has accomplished none of these, with the repeal and replacement of Obamacare heading that list. To be fair, the Trump administration does require some cooperation from the Congress, and they haven’t gotten much. That’s because the Republicans in Congress have no idea how to govern and are themselves hopelessly divided between the Tea Party, traditional pro-business and (barely alive) moderate factions. On the legislative side the Trump administration has not:

  • Repealed and replaced the Affordable care (That attempt was a clusterfuck of gigantic proportions)
  • Enacted middle class tax relief or provided for tax simplification. (The did propose a 1 page outline of a tax plan which would have been a gigantic give-away to corporations and the rich.)
  • Enacted the End Illegal Immigration Act. (This act would fund the Mexican border wall, and establish a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, among other things.)
  • Enacted the End the Offshoring (This act would have established tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers while relocating in other countries and shipping their products back to the U.S. tax-free.)
  • Enacted the American Energy & Infrastructure Act. (This act would have leveraged public-private partnerships to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years.)
  • Enacted the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act. (This act would have given parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice.)
  • Enacted the Affordable Childcare and Eldercare (This act would allow Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes and incentivizes employers to provide on-site childcare services, among other things.)
  • Enacted the Restoring Community Safety Act. (This act would increase funding for programs that train and assist local police, increase resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors, and create a Task Force On Violent Crime).
  • Enacted the Restoring National Security Act. (This act would expand the military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment.)

Now I’m not personally disappointed that so much of this legislation seems to be nowhere in sight, as I disagree with almost all of it. But for Trump supporters, this should be a major disappointment. Of course, their cognitive dissonance will not allow them to see that.

On the Executive font

Trump has fared better on the executive front, although (as we know) a number of his executive orders have been found to be unconstitutional. Some of what Trump has accomplished include:

  • He did impose a short hiring freeze on all federal employees (to reduce federal workforce through attrition) but lifted it in April. Military positions had been excluded all along.
  • He did issue an executive order requiring that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
  • He did sign an executive order which, among other things, required new executive branch employees to pledge that they would not lobby the particular agency they worked at within five years of the end of their employment there.[1] That order also imposed a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
  • He did withdraw the United States from the proposed Pacific trade agreement, fulfilling one of his longtime campaign pledges.
  • He did fulfill part of his campaign promise to lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal. Trump got things started with an executive order last month that eliminated smaller restrictions on coal and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • He did sign memorandums that cleared the way for construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
  • He did issue two executive orders banning visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States. Both of those orders were overturned as being unconstitutional.
  • He did issue an order withholding funding from sanctuary cities. That order has also been held unconstitutional.
  • He also got Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, although in order to do so the Senate had to blow up their own rules around the Filibuster, a decision that may well yet come to haunt them (and especially the Republican party).

Some of what he has not accomplished on the executive front include:

  • He has not proposed a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress, as he had promised to do.
  • He promised a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections, a promise on which he has not kept.
  • He promised to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205, a promise which he has not kept.
  • He promised to begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back, a promise which has not kept.
  • He is far behind in staffing his administration, as he has made a mere 50 nominations to fill the top 553 positions of the executive branch.

It’s not that Trump has not been active as President, his every-weekend excursions to Mar-a-Lago notwithstanding. It’s just that he has been very ineffective.

To which I say, Thank God!

But his partisans may not be so kind. His delusional core will stay with him, of course, but many of the swing voters who were willing to “give him a chance” are going to want to see some real progress on issues pretty soon. And Trump is not going to be able to talk his way out of that lack of delivery forever.

[1] However, this order does not apply to Congress, and on the campaign trail he had also promised that Congressional employees would be subject to a similar ban.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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