Trump's 100+ Day Report Card
By: Quay Wembley
Tracing back as far as kindergarten, the term progress report has become deeply ingrained in the minds of society. A progress report serves as a representation of one’s performance and achievements within a specific period of time. With little effort at all, I can recall a time when I was ecstatic and really looked forward to bringing my progress report home to my parents. On the other hand, I can recall the times where I would convince myself that progress reports are not that important and I could hold off my parents until report cards came out. Who would have thought that this concept would exceed the K-12 education system and eventually become present in the political realm; although it becomes a more abstract concept in politics. Even the President of the United States receives a progress report.
During his first presidential term, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pioneered the concept as the first 100 days in office. This precedent set by FDR would live on and act as measure of presidential effectiveness. “The underlying truth is that presidents tend to be most effective when they first take office, when their leadership style seems fresh and new, when the aura of victory is still powerful, and when their impact on Congress is usually at its height,” writes Cambridge University historian Anthony Badger in "FDR: The First Hundred Days." With this concept, many arguments have been made both in favor of and/or in opposition to it. Is the first 100 days in office only deemed impertinent to a presidential term when he/she has faced a rough start or is it simply not enough time to measure a president’s effectiveness in office?
Although Obama came into presidency during the 2008 financial crisis, he still managed to secure an approval rate of 65% following his first 100 days. During his campaign, Obama focused a great deal on the areas of: economic reform, environmental protection, health care, and foreign policy. Within the first 100 days, Obama visited 9 foreign nations and signed 19 executive orders.
On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his first bill into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This was considered a major bill in regard to combating the issue of pa. Shortly after, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. This bill laid down the foundation for the reconstruction of the economy by: implementing large tax cuts (beneficial for businesses), strengthening the middle class, assisting those affected by the economic recession as well as making investments in infrastructure, education, health, and renewable energy that would later pay off.
"Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days”. “Make America Great Again in the first 100 days”. Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign and transition into presidency, President Donald Trump gained and retained a bulk of his supporters with many promises that he would execute within the first 100 days. Trump later contradicted himself a few days prior to his 100-day mark in office when he argued that his presidency is quite different from his predecessors and that the 100-day mark is an “artificial barrier” and “ridiculous standard” that does not really apply to him. Even though Trump came into presidency as the Great Recession began to reach its end and the economy drastically improved, he still managed to receive a 41% approval rating following his 100 days in office. This marked as the worst presidential approval rate in recent history which indeed speaks volumes.
During his campaign and on his 100-day agenda, Trump focused a great deal on: repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obama Care) with the American Health Care Act (AHCA/Trump Care), border wall funding, job creation, tax reform bill, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), improve Russia relations, and much more. Upon the conclusion of his 100 days in office, Trump was only able to successfully withdraw from the TPP as promised. He's still battling to repeal Obamacare, and hasn't made much progress on building that wall. However, the appointment of Neil Gorsuch into the Supreme Court is a promise kept and an action that can influence American policy for decades by putting Republicans up one in the Supreme Court.
Moreover, in just 100 days, Trump has signed nearly as many executive orders as Obama did in a year. President Trump signed the most amount of bills since 1949 and most were very minor bills that did not really impact major change. According to Business Insider, “most of Trump's executive actions have reversed Obama-era regulations and efforts to protect the environment.” Many of Trump’s efforts took off quickly then instantly spiraled down; for instance, the travel bans and the repeal of ACA to become AHCA which questioned his ability to pass major legislation through Congress. Not to mention in his first 100 days, his Twitter feed has continued to spark controversy with terms like “Fake News”, shots at the Democrats, and reiterating the firing of government officials. It can be argued that the first 100 days in office for Trump has come up extremely short of the accomplishments and strides made by his predecessors in their first 100 days.