100 days of Trump: promises kept and broken

To do list: “100 days of horror” according to The New York Times.

Donald Trump and his team claim one of the most successful opening salvos in American history. Critics, and many polls, suggest his first 100 days has been beleaguered. So which is it?

American presidents have been judged on their first 100 days since, at least, the days of FDR. Now, it is time for President Trump to face this crucial test. He will cross the threshold on Saturday, leading pundits, ordinary Americans and world citizens to cast opinions on the braggadocio businessman’s first three months in office.

One of his signature campaign promises, the border wall separating the US and Mexico, appears to be stalled. In fact, Trump narrowly avoided a government shutdown this week, when he pushed back budgetary discussions on the controversial construction project until this autumn.

“The wall is going to get built. Just in case anybody has any questions, the wall is going to get built,” Trump told reporters, signifying that the project had hit a mere snag.

Other campaign promises also remain unfulfilled, frustrating his supporters.

Trump promised to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare. But his efforts to do so failed when he joined with House Speaker Paul Ryan to craft a replacement bill. This bill could not find enough support, even among Republicans, to get to a vote.

Additionally, his version of a Muslim ban — an executive order that barred citizens of seven nations from entering the USA — has been struck down by several judges.

Trump has also failed to make progress on a number of other campaign promises, including: the removal of Common Core test standards for American students; finding money to repair and rebuild the country’s failing infrastructure; and imposing a number of new trade tariffs.

The president’s tenure has not been without its successes, however.

Trump successfully nominated and appointed Judge Neil Gorsuch as a Justice of the Supreme Court. This was a bitter sting to Democrats, as Republicans stalled the nomination process for the final nine months of the Obama presidency, despite Merrick Garland being picked for the position.

He has also signed many laws, 28 in total, many of which have passed under the radar. The last time any president signed more in their first 100 days was seven decades ago. Several have dismantled small parts of the Obama era’s legacy, including withdrawal from the TPP.

The report card

Critics of Trump have been harsh. The New York Times called his first 100 days “the worst on record” and NPR said he was an “entry level” president. Polls have also been unkind, with a majority of Americans disapproving of his job so far.

But many are more positive. The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote this week: “The bottom line is that Trump has been a 100 day success when it comes to exercising the executive powers of the presidency. He has done a great deal of what he said he would do, and promises to do more.”

You Decide

  1. Do you think President Trump has done a good job so far?
  2. Does it place unrealistic expectations on presidents to put such an emphasis on their first 100 days?

Activities

  1. Write out five things that you would focus on in your first 100 days in office. In groups of four compare your lists.
  2. Choose one issue from this article and write an explanation of why it needs changing, and another of why it does not.

Some People Say...

“If you voted for Trump and still think he’s doing a good job, you haven’t been paying attention.”

Stephen King

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Donald Trump has signed more executive orders in his first 100 days than any other modern president. He has put his pen to 25 of them, as of this writing. Barack Obama, by contrast, signed 19 in his first 100 days. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had signed 11 and 13, respectively.
What do we not know?
Whether recent legislative failures will force President Trump to “reach across the aisle” to gather support from centrist Democrats. Many have suggested they would work with him on infrastructure, tax reform and, even, health care. Some pundits have suggested such alliances could bypass far-right Republican opposition.
What do people believe?
That the real tests are yet to come for President Trump. For instance, he just unveiled his tax plan yesterday.

Word Watch

FDR
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd US president, best remembered for his New Deal legislation, social programmes to counter the economic depression; measures mostly passed in his first 100 days.
Braggadocio
Late 16th century “boaster”: the name of a braggart in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. See the English word brag.
Government shutdown
Happened in some form just four times in the last thirty years; caused by stalemate between president and Congress.
ObamaCare
Otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, this was President Obama’s signature health care law. Republicans have long wished to repeal it, voting on it 50 times during Obama’s tenure.
House Speaker Paul Ryan
Running mate of Mitt Romney in 2012, in his failed presidential bid.
Executive order
This is a rule or order issued by a president which does not require the backing of the other branches of government.
Common Core
National educational standards of attainment in English language arts (ELA) / literacy and mathematics.
TPP
Trans Pacific Partnership — trade agree between 11 countries including Australia and Canada.

Subjects

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