Editorial

100 Days of Trump and So Far, He’s a Dud

April 28, 2017

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

After more than three months in office, the new president doesn’t have many accomplishments to brag about, but you won’t know from asking his supporters.

The benchmark for judging new presidents on their first 100 days in office has been around since the days of FDR in the 1930s. Every candidate for President makes bold promises during his campaign about what he hopes to accomplish in the first 100 days in the White House, so it seems fair to judge their success on the job.

Recent presidents have done well in their first 100 days in office. Barack Obama passed 11 new bills into law in his first 100 days, including the Affordable Care Act. George H.W. Bush signed 18 bills into law. Bill Clinton signed 24. Even Jimmy Carter was able to pass 24 new laws. But the all-time leader in enacted new laws in 100 days was FDR himself with 74.

Getting Congress to pass legislation for a new president may be difficult, but it helps when the President’s party is also in control of Congress, like it was for Clinton, Obama, and George H.W. Bush. They had plenty of help on Capitol Hill to push through new laws to enact the agenda of the new President.

But, for Donald Trump, the first 100 days haven’t gone as smoothly as he promised they would go. Even with Republicans controlling both the House and the Senate, Trump has not passed and signed a single piece of legislation of the ten he touted in his campaign’s “Contract with the American Voters”. None. Not tax reform. Not cutting regulations on businesses. And especially, not his signature promise to repeal Obamacare, which was yanked before a vote on the House floor.

In the first 100 days in office, Donald Trump has, instead, run into the almost immovable machine that is Washington, D.C. Trump ran his campaign on draining the swamp, but it looks like he’s stuck in the mud and can’t find a way out.

Maybe it’s his outsider mentality forged during the campaign for the presidency that has kept him from appreciating the fact that mobilizing a majority of 535 votes in Congress takes cooperation. Maybe it’s been his stubborn belief that attacking the system with seemingly blind populist voter support would somehow shake Congress into action. Or maybe he just greatly underestimated how difficult it is to govern.

Presidents, however, haven’t just relied on Congress to pass legislation to enact their agenda. They have, of course, successfully used executive orders in their first 100 days to single handedly implement new policies and to repeal past orders.

By that measure, FDR again leads the pack by having issued 99 orders. Ronald Reagan signed 18 orders and also repealed 18 previous presidents’ orders. And Obama signed 19 orders and undid 9 previous orders.

Donald Trump has used executive orders, too, but even there his track-record is shoddy. So far in the first 100 days of his term, Trump has signed 25 orders ranging from minimal changes in regulations to requiring the government to favor buying American goods.

His most significant executive orders have been one to ban immigrants from certain countries with ties to terrorism, and another to cut funding to sanctuary cities that refuse to seek-out undocumented immigrants.
Although both executive orders delivered on promises Trump made during the campaign, both orders have now been blocked from going into effect by federal judges.

Overall, Trump’s political batting average is low among recent presidents, especially when it comes to delivering on popular campaign themes that propelled him to an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. But, even with little to show as far as legislative accomplishments, his voter base doesn’t seem to mind.

Even though 98 percent of his voter base says they would vote for him again, a new poll shows Trump at historically low approval rating overall. 54 percent of voters polled disapprove of Trump’s handling of his presidency, and only 41% approve of his handling of immigration issues, and, an even lower 35 percent approve of his handling of health care issues.

Trump should focus his energies on learning his way through the legislative process, not around it. It’s not easy working with several hundred egos on Capitol Hill, but that is the only way for Trump to eventually get anything done. And, given that the Republican caucus is fractured, Trump should reach across the aisle to find common ground with Democrats on issues like jobs, middle class tax reform, and trade deals.

Political posturing, blustering, and early morning tweets haven’t worked for Trump. It’s time to get down to the serious business of running the country, or, based on his lack of performance, voters in 2020 will likely tell Donald Trump he’s fired.

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