We’re Nearing Day 100. How’s Trump Doing So Far On Keeping His Promises?


This week, President Trump reaches the 100-day mark of his presidency. That number has always been arbitrary – there are presidents who have done little during their first 100 days but end up celebrated for their time in the White House. The New York Times, for example, described Bill Clinton’s first 100 days as a mixed bag, stating, “The truth of Mr. Clinton’s hundred days is rather more provisional. There have been several large accomplishments … There have also been many missteps.” The Times encouraged Clinton “not to confuse motion with progress.” And Ronald Reagan didn’t pass any major legislation during his first 100 days, but he did effectively promulgate his agenda, driving public opinion toward his economic viewpoint on smaller government.

How has Trump done?

Trump hasn’t really moved the public opinion needle on domestic policy. He hasn’t used the bully pulpit on taxes; he’s sent mixed messages on health care. On foreign policy, he told his supporters he’d tend toward isolationism, but he’s been muscular in defense of American interests abroad. It’s tough to make the claim that Trump has been cohesive in his approach to shifting the dial toward progress for whatever comes next.

We’ll find out this week whether Trump is able to ram through some sort of Obamacare repeal in the House after his failed first attempt a month ago; we’ll also find out whether a government shutdown is in the works over Democrats’ failure to fund his budget priorities.

But here’s a list of his promises, and how he’s done so far. Trump himself claimed that Americans would be voting for his 100-day plan “to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities, and honesty to our government.” He called it his pledge to the American people.

Here’s the list, with notes in brackets on how he’s done.

On cleaning up government:

  • FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress; [NO]
  • SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health); [YES, BUT THEN LIFTED IT]
  • THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated; [YES]
  • FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service; [YES]
  • FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government; [YES, BUT UNDERCUT BY MEMBERS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION REGISTERING AS FOREIGN AGENTS]
  • SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections. [NO]

On protecting American workers:

  • FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 [YES, ALTHOUGH THE NATURE OF THIS NEGOTIATION IS UNCLEAR]
  • SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership [YES]
  • THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator [NO, EXPLICITLY REJECTED THIS]
  • FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately [THIS SEEMS TO BE IN THE WORKS]
  • FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal. [YES]
  • SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward [YES]
  • SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure [YES]

Here are Trump’s promises on the Constitution:

  • FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama [NO]
  • SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States [YES]
  • THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities [HE HAS MADE THIS THREAT]
  • FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back [THIS IS BEING PURSUED]
  • FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting. [TRUMP ATTEMPTED THIS, BUT COURTS HAVE HELD IT UP]

Here’s what Trump promised on his legislative measures:

  • Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplication Act, with specific statements on tax rates [HE HAS NOT INTRODUCED IT]
  • End The Offshoring Act, intended to create tariffs to stop people from relocating their companies [NO]
  • American Energy & Infrastructure Act [NO]
  • School Choice And Education Opportunity Act [NO]
  • Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act [NO]
  • Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act [NO]
  • End Illegal Immigration Act, including forcing Mexico to pay for the famed Trump wall [NO]
  • Restoring National Security Act, including destroying the sequester [NO]
  • Clean up Corruption in Washington Act, including new ethics reforms [NO]

This list doesn’t include some of Trump’s biggest campaign promises, like getting rid of the Iran deal. But here’s how he’s done overall. Of the 29 explicit promises (including the Iran deal promise) made regarding his first 100 days, Trump has kept or attempted to keep 15 promises, at least in part. The vast majority of those promises kept have been through executive action or the Congressional Review Act, overriding President Obama’s executive orders.

Trump knows he hasn’t fulfilled his largest campaign promise – to “easily” fix government with the brilliant skill of a businessman – and that’s why he blamed the presence of his 100-day plan on “somebody.” (Yes, he really said that.) But here’s the bottom line: it’s too early to tell how Trump is doing. Some of his actions have been terrific; some have been garbage; some haven’t taken place. Some of his rhetoric has been useful; more hasn’t. The bag is mixed. Anyone who tells you anything different is selling you something.