Assessing a president’s performance after 100 days in office is an arbitrary tradition, dictated more by a round number of days on the calendar than the expectation that much will happen in a new chief executive’s early days.
President Donald Trump is different, however, in large part because he set out a very specific list of things he would accomplish in his first three months in the White House. Despite his assertions to the contrary, he has delivered very few of them.
Here are some pledges Trump has fulfilled. He did replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. His pick, Neil Gorsuch, had some concerning qualities but was a surprisingly rational choice.
Just three days into his presidency, Trump signed a memorandum formally ending U.S. negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a highly unpopular trade agreement. The deal, however, was unlikely to gain congressional support anyway.
He has also put some restrictions on lobbying by White House and congressional officials, but they are not as sweeping or strong as the administration claims.
His big promises — to repeal Obamacare, to crack down on immigration to keep out terrorists and criminals, to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border — have been turned back by courts or stalled in Congress.
Trump confuses signing an executive order — he’s signed 30 of them, the most of any president during his first 100 days — for actual action. For example, Trump bragged that he “canceled restrictions on the production of oil, natural gas and clean coal.” He signed executive orders that call for the elimination of restrictions, but those rules are still very much in effect.
To undo regulations, agencies must justify why they seek such changes and solicit public comment. Many rule changes will be challenged in court, where some will be rejected. The much maligned Clean Power Plan, a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate change agenda, is to be reviewed, not canceled.
Trump’s overplaying the impact of his executive orders is hardly surprising since he has a tenuous grasp on reality. He’s made nearly 500 false claims since assuming the presidency on Jan. 20, according to a detailed list compiled by The Washington Post.
Although he has mostly failed at policy changes and has historically low approval ratings, Trump and his family members are already profiting — literally — from his presidency. Take the president’s weekly visits to Mar-a-Lago, the club he owns in Palm Beach, Florida. When he plays golf, the Secret Service must follow along in golf carts, which are rented from Mar-a-Lago. As of mid-April, the Secret Service had spent $35,000 on golf cart rentals there, CBS News reported. That money goes directly to Trump.
The Secret Service also spent $64,000 on “elevator services” at Trump Tower in December, according to CBS. The New York City high rise is owned by Trump.
As Vox recently noted: “There is nothing normal about the president personally profiting from the security procedure.”
Worse, the presidency has allowed Trump and his children access to lucrative international deals. For example, his daughter Ivanka Trump, who has a clothing business, was granted five trademarks in China on the same day her father met with that country’s president and reversed his designation of China as a currency manipulator. The reversal also broke a campaign pledge.
So, it is no wonder that Trump thinks his tenure as president has been successful. Financially, for him and his family, it has been.
For the American people, however, it has been a disaster of false promises to help the working class accompanied by real threats to our environment, health and security.