President Donald J. Trump’s first 100 Days have been highly scrutinized due to the extreme polarization in American politics and because he made significant campaign promises. Marking the first 100 Days of a president’s term has become an American touchstone. In some ways, the measure of time is completely arbitrary given the term runs four years. On the other hand, people have always recognized moments in time as meaningful such as entering adulthood at 18 years, Centennials, Bicentennials and even the length of an education. Given Mr. Trump’s first foray into politics begins at the very top spot, it’s with some amazement the nation mulls over his wins, losses and projects that are underway.
So Much Winning
Electing a businessman, rather than a career politician, has led to some unexpected results. President Trump fully intends to keep his campaign promises and has several significant successes to date. The most notable was elevating Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, there are many others that have an impact on everyday Americans.
- Veterans: In April, President Trump signed a bill that allows veterans to seek treatment from private medical facilities. The VA has long been recognized as a broken system and Trump vowed to finally provide veterans with adequate health care. This was a major step forward and gives Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin time to implement VA reform. Suffering former service men and women can now see the doctor of their choice. Sound familiar?
- Supporting Women: There’s a prevailing notion that First Daughter Ivanka Trump holds sway over her presidential father. As a strong advocate for women, it’s difficult to know how much influence she wields. But there has been tremendous early advocacy for women in business. President Trump signed a pair of bills, including the “INSPIRE Women Act,” pushing for more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The President has also met with prominent women business leaders and advocates for female empowerment.
- Illegal Immigration: Trump’s tough stance on illegal immigration has led to a sharp decline in attempted southern border crossings. Many place the reduction at about 67 percent or a 17-year low. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests were up only about 5,000 during the first quarter of 2017 compared to 2016, but the message has been heard loud and clear.
- Booming Business: Since President Trump took office, more than 660,000 jobs have been created. Consumer and business confidence is higher than it was during the last four presidential terms, and the DOW Jones set records and cracked 21,000. Much of the hard numbers are based on Trump promises and slogans such as “Buy American, Hire American” and “America First.” Major companies are investing in American markets based on the fear of tariffs and proposed tax incentives. To date, the president has rolled back regulations that impede business growth and partnered with the Republican-led Congress to utilize the Congressional Review Act to eliminate the Obama Administration’s midnight regs. This may be President Trump’s biggest “big league” win.”
- Foreign Policy: On the positive side, Trump appears to have tamed the Chinese dragon without firing an economic shot. China halted its illegal currency manipulation practice as soon as Trump took office. After a meeting with President Xi Jinping, the “Art of the Deal” went into full swing at The Southern White House and the Asian superpower agreed to hash out new trade measures. The Chinese have also sided with the U.S. in sanctioning North Korea. In the Middle East, Trump unshackled American military leaders and has given them great latitude in striking down ISIS. Letting generals do their jobs may have been the true Mother of All Bombs.Key LossesWhile the young Trump presidency has enjoyed major wins on several campaign promises, there have been two significant losses — the Travel Ban and Russia. Any objective legal scholar would agree that Trump’s right to implement a travel ban is both legislatively and constitutionally sound. However, the first-time politician learned a hard lesson about how judges can legislate from the bench. While he may win a U.S. Supreme Court appeal, he took a loss, doubled down and took another on travel ban 2.0.The second substantial loss was improving relations with Russia. President Putin was very open to moving forward in areas of mutual national interest, such as the war in Syria, trade and combating terrorism. Unfortunately, politically motivated rhetoric by Democrats and a few rogue Republicans thwarted the two presidents from exploring common ground. U.S.-Russia relations took a hard downturn and are now the worst in decades. Having the two superpowers at odds is a dangerous game of chicken. Trump clearly got outmaneuvered politically.
Works in Progress
After only 100 Days, the Trump presidency is still in its infancy. There are several major campaign promises in the pipeline. These include passing healthcare reform, giving American workers and businesses a tax cut, revitalizing the military, getting NATO countries to pay their fair share, renegotiating NAFTA and building the border wall, among others. Overall, Trump has earned an A-minus grade as he continues to implement his foreign and domestic priorities.