Just after winning the 2016 presidential election, then President-elect Donald Trump laid out a detailed plan of everything he hoped to accomplish in the first 100 days of his term. This was nothing new, and in fact, the first 100 days have been seen as an important barometer for measuring the success of a presidency ever since F.D.R. outlined his plan to end the Great Depression in his first 100 days.
The problem is that Trump had more than his fair share of failures—with the healthcare reform debacle now known as TrumpCare the most notable example. The president was able to accomplish some of his stated goals, but virtually all of these were done through executive actions. In terms of actual legislative accomplishments, there is very little, if anything to speak of.
This still didn’t stop the White House from continuing to try to put a positive spin on the 100 days, mostly in order to play up to Trump’s constituency. However, instead of attempting to play up the president’s accomplishments, the White House took the opposite tactic and attempted to downplay expectations instead.
To mark the first 100 days, the White House sent out a press release entitled “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments.” The press release, which was broken into sections including ‘Getting Government Out of the Way,” “Executive Action’ and ‘Legislation Signed,’ didn’t go down well with Senate Democrats.
In fact, they immediately set about trolling the president. The result was the release of their own revised version of the same press release in a memo entitled “The White House release on President Trump’s First 100 Days Had Some Errors In It. We Fixed Them.” The memo, which was quickly passed around Washington and has since gone viral, contained an edited version of the memo that was meant to list all of the president’s broken promises instead of his supposed accomplishments.
Rather than simply release a new version, Senate Dems chose to make all of their corrections visible in red—similar to how a teach would use their dreaded red pen when correcting your homework. Worse, all of the revisions paint the president in a less than flattering light.
The official White House press release started off mentioning “getting government out of the way” and how the president “had done more to stop the government from interfering in the lives of Americans in his first 100 days than any other President in history.” However, Dems weren’t quite satisfied with the way this sounded, instead changing it to say that Trump had “done more to break his promises and enrich his allies” than any previous president.
The revised release goes on to say Trump governs as a “hard-right extremist” and also cites a poll stating that two-thirds of Americans think he has done a poor job in his first 100 days. Whereas the official release touts the fact that the president has signed 13 Congressional Review Act resolutions—another 100 day record—the Dems note the negative impacts that these resolutions are set to have on workers’ rights, women’s health care and “key consumer protections.”
President Trump also pledged prior to his election that he wouldn’t govern by executive order. Yet his press release makes his executive actions one of its main headlines. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to point out another one of the president’s broken promises, Senate Dems went so far as to include a link to a video showing the president making his promise not to use executive actions.
The past 100 days have seen President Trump meet controversy at seemingly every turn, from having federal judges overturn his controversial ‘Muslim travel ban’ to the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. The fact that they still control both houses leaves the GOP with some hope, especially if the news is true that the House Freedom Caucus may be willing to vote for a revised version of the healthcare bill.
However, Trump still faces obstructions from both sides of the aisle on many of his other major campaign promises. The most obvious battle is over funding to pay for the president’s pledged border wall, which has reached the point where President Trump has actually threatened to shut down parts of the government if Congress won’t release the needed funds.
Many Republicans are as yet unwilling to support the idea, since it would most likely require at least eight Democrats to vote for it in order to pass. This means that, like many of the other first 100 day pledges, we’ll have to wait and see whether President Trump can make good on his promises.