You’d read it or heard about it in the news every single day since the inauguration, the first 100 days. You hardly notice it at first, when you’re on day 10, but by the time you get to day 75, or before, you’re sick of hearing about it.
The first 100 day measuring stick for the presidency began with Franklin Roosevelt. It’s said the you can tell how a president will govern by watching what he does during his first 100 days in office. Presidents will generally be eager to begin to make their mark early on and Trump has far outdone those who came before him in that regard.
During the first few months in office a president prioritizes policies, and you get a quick sense of what is most important to them. Campaign promises may fall to the side during this time period, as has happened with the Trump Administration.
During his campaign he promised more affordable college and tuition for two and four year degrees. It seems this is a campaign promise he does not intend to fulfill. Another promise, labeling China a currency manipulator has fallen. Trump seems to have changed his mind about that promise. In fact, he recently said the opposite, but it sounded good on the campaign trail.
A campaign promises that didn’t seem to loom large last year when he made it, is actually a big deal. He promised to impose a five-year ban on White House and congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave the government. This promise he has flat out broken.
Trump also promised to fully repeal Obamacare, which he hasn’t been able to accomplish. He tried, but so far the issue has not come together as he thought it might. There are other issues as well that he has not been able to fulfill due to legal problems, that pesky old constitution has halted his plans to cancel visas from foreign countries who wouldn’t take back criminal illegal immigrants. While he has done much to change the face of immigration, he has been stopped short in some areas.
What he has done, is lift restrictions on the production of $50 trillion job-producing American energy reserves. Yet, even here he has been met will mixed success. The pipeline is moving forward, but American steel he promised to use will not be used in the near future, and it seems very likely he will fall significantly short of creating 10 million new jobs during his first four years in office. In fact, using the 100 days as a measuring stick, job gains have fallen.
There are also many things he just hasn’t got around to yet, playing golf seems to be more pressing that pushing forth his agenda at times, and events taking place in North Korea and Syria have kept him busy Tweeting, bombing other countries and beating his chest. Nevertheless, he has made good on a few, while showing us he never intended to make good on others. He still has time to clear a few off the board, but this is day 89, and we will all be thankful to see the next eleven days past.
What we’ve learned so far is that Trump, like all those who sat behind the oval office desk before him has learned, saying you’re going to do something and having the ability to do it are two different things. Being the leader of the free world – and I use the word “free” loosely, is not an easy job, or a job that most people are actually ready for.
Trump is a business man, and whether he is a good business man or a bad one doesn’t matter, government is not a business and cannot be run like one – another lesson Trump is learning the hard way. Yet, he will keep trying to advance policies that are in the best interest of business, so even if he cannot run the government like a business, he can definitely make government more business friendly, and he has done so.
To this point, what we’ve seen of his first 100 days has been unsettling, even to some of those who voted for him. People are concerned about health insurance, jobs, taxes, civil rights, the protection of their environment and even how the Justice Department will deal with new marijuana laws.
The most pressing issue, however, is his foreign policy. So far he has shown us he would rather be overly aggressive with other nations than overly diplomatic. His decision to court China to step in and help with North Korea has been his best foreign policy move, but his disposition suggests he will not be patient and he may only be trying to appease China for a while before he intervenes militarily. We’ve seen him order an increase in troops in both Syria and Afghanistan already, and drop a bomb that has never been used in combat before, so his aggressiveness in the area of foreign policy cannot be questioned.
It seems the best we can hope for after we’ve survived his first 100 days, is that we can survive four years as a nation and that a shift toward moderation within his administration will take place. Trump has divided our country in many ways and has driven fear into the hearts of our allies because of his hasty and compulsive nature.
I surmise that what remains of his time in office will not be much different than his first 100 days. He will continue to deport immigrants, continue to put his business acquaintances over his countrymen, continue to divide, continue to try to conquer, make threats, back off threats, tweet and generally keep us all on our toes wondering what we will wake up to each morning.
If his first 100 days teaches us anything, it will teach us to expect the unexpected and live with it, but it will also teach us to unite so we don’t have to live through another term of Trump’s first 100 days.