News and Commentary

TRUMP OR REAGAN? Heritage Foundation Reveals Which President Had More Conservative First Year

The Heritage Foundation, widely viewed as a leading conservative think tank, revealed this week that President Donald Trump has enacted a more conservative agenda his first year in office than former President Ronald Reagan, as American policymaking has taken a sharp turn to the right.

The Heritage Foundation’s assessment, which has not yet been released, was previewed by The New York Times and reportedly shows that Trump had a considerably more conservative first year in office:

The results, Heritage found in its review, exceeded even the first year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, whose tenure has long been the conservative gold standard.

Heritage said that 64 percent of those items were enacted by the administration either through executive order or another means of enforcement, or included in Mr. Trump’s budget, which has not been voted on by Congress.

In Reagan’s first year, only 49 percent of Heritage’s wish list items were embraced by the president or enacted. At the time, Heritage identified a familiar problem for why the administration’s policies were wanting. In almost every federal agency, Heritage said in November 1981, “delayed appointments, unqualified or misqualified appointments, or the appointment of individuals who are not committed to the President’s goals and policies” had delayed or thwarted policy changes.

Kay Coles James, the new president of the Heritage Foundation, said Trump’s achievements are going largely underreported due to political games being played by the media and Democrats.

“There is so much noise in this town that I think it obscures the real work that’s being done,” James said. “This administration is doing quite well in terms of advancing a conservative agenda — clearly, quite well.”

Ed Feulner, a Heritage Foundation founder and former president, described Trump’s style as being significantly different from other presidents who have a background in politics.

“‘Hell, why can’t we do that? Let’s try it. Let’s make it happen,’” Feulner said, speaking of Trump’s attitude. “In some respects, Trump the non-politician has an incredible advantage, even over Ronald Reagan, because Ronald Reagan knew there were certain things government couldn’t do.”