In an Associated Press interview, President Donald Trump claimed more progress than he’s achieved on his 100-day plan and showed he was not completely familiar with what he had promised in that “contract” with voters.
A look at some of his assertions in the interview conducted Friday and other statements he made over the past week:
TRUMP, on his 100-day plan: “I’m mostly there on most items.” — AP interview
THE FACTS: He’s not. Many have yet to be taken up.
Of 38 specific promises Trump made in his 100-day “contract” with voters, he’s accomplished 10, mostly through executive orders that don’t require legislation. For example, he’s withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, created a violent crime task force and lifted restrictions on fossil fuel development. Of the 10 pieces of legislation he promised, none has been achieved and most have not been introduced, with the notable exception of the health care overhaul that was put in play but withdrawn from Congress because of insufficient support. That proposal is being reworked.
He hasn’t started on 15 of his 100-day promises, which include several immigration laws, college affordability, infrastructure incentives and punishment for companies that move jobs overseas. Saturday will be his 100th day.
TRUMP: “I think the 100 days is, you know, it’s an artificial barrier. It’s not very meaningful.” — AP interview
THE FACTS: He’s right that a 100-day measurement of a new president is artificial. As for whether it’s meaningful, that depends on how much meaning a presidential candidate invests in that benchmark. Trump invested it with a series of promises by which he was to be measured in 100 days, released in an appearance at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 22.
“What follows is my 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again,” says the manifesto. “It is a contract between myself and the American voter.”
It continued: “On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities, and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you.”
Trump has grown dismissive of the 100-day mark, calling it “ridiculous,” and now plays down his manifesto even as he boasts of his achievements. In the AP interview, he appeared to attribute the plan to his campaign staff, saying “Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of a 100-day plan.”
TRUMP: “I didn’t put Supreme Court judge on the 100 (day) plan, and I got a Supreme Court judge.” — AP interview
THE FACTS: He actually did promise in his plan to “begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia.” On this, he delivered more than promised – not only starting the process of finding a new Supreme Court justice but winning Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, who now sits on the court.
TRUMP: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” — Tuesday at the Kenosha, Wisconsin, headquarters of Snap-on tools
THE FACTS: Trump’s legislative victories are minor, surpassed by those of a variety of high achievers in the White House.
Taking office in the Great Depression, Roosevelt quickly declared a banking holiday to quiet panic, called a special session of Congress and won passage of emergency legislation to stabilize the banking system. He came forward with a flurry of consequential legislation that set the pillars of the New Deal in place within his first 100 days, “the most concentrated period of U.S. reform in U.S. history,” say Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer in “The Reader’s Companion to the American Presidency.” No fewer than 14 historic laws were enacted in that time.
Trump’s big agenda items, like his promised tax overhaul and infrastructure plan, have yet to reach Congress. His attempt to secure the borders from people from terrorism-prone regions is so far blocked by courts. His first attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law failed in Congress.
Trump needn’t look as far back as FDR to see a president who got off to a fast start. Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law in his first month, while also achieving laws expanding health care for children and advancing equal pay for women in that time.
Like Roosevelt, Obama came to office in an economic crisis, the worst since the Depression. Lawmakers from both parties were inclined to act quickly and did, even as they fought over the details of the big stimulus package that defined Obama’s early days.
President Ronald Reagan’s 100 days were considered the hardest-driving since FDR’s time, even though Reagan was shot March 30, 1981. He presented Congress with the most consequential tax, spending and government-overhaul plan it had seen in decades, a comprehensive package that exceeds in scope anything Trump has brought forward, including his first run at health care. Congressional approval came later.