If a four-year presidency lasts 1,460 days, Donald Trump has completed 6.8 percent of his term with the conclusion of his first 100 days in office on April 29th. Since the 1930’s and the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, subsequent leaders have been compared to Roosevelt’s flurry of swift cabinet appointments, and passage of dozens of laws to help curb effects of the Great Depression.
The 100 day idea made for instant campaign fodder and media bites. In numerous speeches during his presidential bid, Trump touted his, “First 100 Day Action Plan to Make America Great Again.” As president, however, he called the 100 day measure a “ridiculous standard.” As has become his modus operandi, he tweeted, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”
The appointment of Coloradan Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court may be the leading example of how Trump envisions successful governance - installed by compelling Republican Senators to change traditional rules in their favor and with very little cooperation from Democrats. The notable exception was Democratic Senator Michael Bennet’s introduction of Gorsuch alongside Colorado’s other Senator, Republican Cory Gardner.
Among other accomplishments noted by the administration are the number of Executive Orders put in place in the first 100 days. In 2016, a campaigning Trump had a very different view of Executive Orders issued by Obama, “The country wasn’t based on Executive Orders. Right now, Obama goes around signing Executive Orders. He can’t even get along with the Democrats, and he goes around signing all these Executive Orders. It’s a basic disaster. You can’t do it.” During the Obama presidency, Trump found the orders a weak excuse for not being able to pass laws. Now, even though Republicans control both legislative chambers which should make passing laws easier than in the Obama era, Trump extolls his governing prowess through issuing orders.
During the campaign, Trump repeated his first 100 day goals – repeal Obamacare, build a wall on the southern border, massive investment in infrastructure and install term limits for Congress. The former two goals have been stalled by Congress and the latter two have disappeared from discussion.
In an interview with Reuters News Agency, Trump admitted the job was harder than he thought, “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
It is not hard to see how the president would like the American people to judge his first 100 days, he is running a television campaign advertisement in several key markets touting the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, creating over 500,000 jobs, making the country energy independent with the construction of the Keystone Oil Pipeline and the biggest tax cut in history. The 30-second ad was paid for by his political campaign and mentions that “America has rarely seen such success” and you wouldn’t know it from watching “Fake News.” The narrator concludes with, “America is winning” and “President Trump is making America great again.”
According to a recent Gallup Poll, not all U.S. residents concur with Trump’s direction. The new president has the lowest approval ratings of any president at the 100 day mark since the organization started accumulating data in the 1950s. His current approval rate averages 41 percent, 87 percent among Republicans and 12 percent with Democrats, the biggest gap between voters from the two major parties in history. Even Republican support is lower than when he first assumed office.
With the entire world looking to judge Trump on his initial priorities as president, Trump bombed a Syrian air base and dropped the largest conventional bomb titled the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan. The United Nations urged Trump to act within the confines of the United Nations before bombing Syria and members of Congress questioned the use of military force without appropriate consultation.
In the wake of North Korea’s show of military muscle with continued missile testing, Trump’s unilateral use of force in other regions has increased anxiety in military and political circles around the world. In the Reuter’s interview, Trump said, “There’s a chance we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.” He classified conflict with North Korea as his most concerning global issue.
On Day 100, Trump was greeted with news of national protest regarding his national environmental agenda. Thousands took to the streets across the country for a Climate March protesting cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks and Forestry Service. Marchers decried Trump support of fossil fuels and denial of climate change. White House chants included, “Resistance is here to stay, welcome to your 100th day.” The Climate March comes on the heels of the nationally organized April 22nd March for Science and January’s Women’s March.
The resistance to the Trump agenda once again took to U.S. streets on May 1st. Known as International Workers Day around the world, the U.S. version of protest tilted toward immigrant worker rights with allies from the women’s movement, LGBT communities, and other anti-Trump organizations. A national demonstration effort was organized by Fair Immigration Reform Movement for 125 cities in 35 states. A march started in various ethnic neighborhoods throughout Washington D.C. culminated in a crowded White House rally. New York City marchers chanted, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.” One handwritten sign said, “No Ban. No Wall. Resist,” referring to Trump’s twice blocked plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States and the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. During the Los Angeles rally, Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed, “Los Angeles will stand up against any attempt to scapegoat immigrants.”
Despite low personal poll ratings after 100 days, perhaps the best news for Trump is a recent CNN poll asking residents how things are going in the United States - 54 percent say things are going well and 59 percent of residents feel economic conditions are good in the United States.