Donald Trump made hundreds of promises, pledges and threats on his road to the White House. But it seems Trump could hit Day 100 with only minor symbolic legislative achievements to his name.
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Narration: Donald Trump made hundreds of promises, pledges and threats on his road to the White House. If he stays true to his campaign promises, first, Obama care would be repealed and replaced. Next, an austere budget would be passed, with emergency funds allotted for the construction of a wall along the Southern border. But that’s not all. Trump also vowed to provide health insurance to all Americans; raise taxes on hedge-fund managers; directly negotiate with drug companies over pharmaceutical prices; maintain Medicaid’s current funding levels. He was also going to investigate voter fraud, and end crime in Chicago. And yes, crush Daesh, among so many other promises. But the question is, “What Are Trump’s Promises Really Worth?”
SOUNDBITE [English] Mr. Speaker, The President of the United States of America: “On his first address to a joint session of Congress in February, Trump skipped over many of his campaign pledges.”
Narration: On his first addressed to the joint session of congress on February,Trump escaped over many of his campaign promises.
SOUNDBITE [English] Bernie Sanders, US Senator, Democratic Party: “Before I respond to President Trump’s speech and what he said tonight I wanted to say a few words about what he didn’t say. Because when you analyze a speech sometimes what is more important is what somebody does not say as opposed to what they actually say. Some examples. At a time when over a half of older Americans have no retirement savings, I did not hear president Trump say one word – not one word – about social security or Medicare. During the campaign, as we all remember, President Trump promised over and over and over again that he would not cut social security Medicare or Medicaid; it was a cornerstone of his campaign.
Further, I did not hear President Trump tonight mention, mention the words ‘income and wealth inequality,’ or the fact that we now have the widest gap between the very rich and everyone else since the 1920s.”
Narration: After health care defeat, several of president's core pledges remain in jeopardy. Building a “great, beautiful wall” and making Mexico pay for it;it is the promise most closely identified with Trump’s rise to power. Although he has not wavered, Congress remains lukewarm. Mexico has shown no signs of complying, and while the Trump campaign toyed with a number of ideas to induce Mexico to pay, the Trump administration has asked for over $2 billion in funding for the wall. Even if the Trump administration secures that level of funding, geographic complications and expected legal challenges by property owners whose land would be used for the wall promise to slow down the project.
Candidate Trump also offered an ambitious plan to slash individual and corporate tax rates. His hope was that a simpler tax code and lower rates would entice American-based companies to return the trillions of dollars in profits currently held offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. But given the current circumstances, tax reform seems more like a pipe dream.
During his election campaign, Trump promised to crack down on unfair Chinese trade practices but he has yet to take concrete action toward that goal. During the transition, Trump took a phone call from the president of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province. But after taking office, he reiterated America’s long-standing “one China” policy. Trump also promised to label China a “currency manipulator” and take action to cut America’s trade deficit with the Asian giant. So, far, he has not made moves. The administration has also treaded cautiously on another trade-related promise: to renegotiate NAFTA the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Trump so far has not given Congress 90-day notice of his intention to do that.
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Narration: On the campaign trail, Trump railed against the pact his predecessor negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program. He called it the worst deal he had ever seen and vowed to rip it up immediately upon taking office. But Trump has not actually sought to revoke the nuclear deal. The fact is that other nations were party to that agreement, meaning that even if the United States tried to reimpose sanctions, others would be unlikely to follow suit.
During the campaign, Candidate Trump repeatedly claimed he knew more about Daesh than the generals currently fighting it. He promised to reveal his own secret plan for beating this terrorist group after the election. After the inauguration, this morphed into Trump ordering the Pentagon to present a plan for defeating Daesh within 30 days. Since then, the administration has been pretty quiet about all this. Perhaps that’s because the military delivered a plan described as much like the one the Obama administration had carried out for two years.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump lamented that America’s airports were “third world.” He said he would rebuild the country’s crumbling roads. He vowed to fix bridges that he claimed were in danger of falling down.
But there was no sign in the budget released by the White House in March the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan that Mr. Trump touted last summer. Instead, he proposed slicing the Department of Transportation’s budget by 13 percent. As a candidate Mr. Trump also made repeated proclamations that he would rebuild the country’s “inner cities,” putting forth a “New Deal for Black America” in the final days of his campaign that specifically called for new infrastructure investment. It seems that President Trump is more concerned with his Twitter presence and “alternative facts” than he is with actually tackling the problems of the American people. Meanwhile, Trump’s budget cuts take away from the arts, the hungry, and the environment, and gives the “excess” to defense departments and the military.
The pattern of Donald Trump’s promises has been clear since he first rode that gilded escalator in Trump Tower to his presidential campaign announcement nearly two years ago; Asserting something untrue, spitting out a half-formed solution, very likely slapped down by courts, legislators and objective reality. The most recent example of this pattern, obviously, is the failure of the American Health Care Act. Now his promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare legislatively is dead, likely for the rest of his term in office. Many of his other promises seem to meet the same fate.
SOUNDBITE [English] US Citizen: “I don't see a lot of specifics and I don't know that he's going to get accomplished what he thinks he can get accomplished. To me, there is a lot of like I think a lot of thing s have been coming through already that he just hasn't been skipping over infrastructure bills and things like that that haven't been happening yet. I don't know that he completely understands how to get all these things through. I think there's a lot of 'pie in the sky' thinking but I don't know that there is going to be a lot of action behind it.”
SOUNDBITE [English] US Citizen: “We have a moral and social obligation to speak out against a president who lies compulsively who has policies that don't benefit the Americans, that actually discriminate against Americans.”
SOUNDBITE [English] Steve Beshear, US Politician: “Mr. President, as a candidate, you promised to be a champion for people struggling to make ends meet, and I hope you live up to that promise. But one of your very first executive orders makes it harder for those families to even afford a mortgage. Then you started rolling back rules that provide oversight of the financial industry and safeguard us against another national economic meltdown. And you picked a Cabinet of billionaires and Wall Street insiders who want to eviscerate the protections that most Americans count on and that help level the playing field. That's not being our champion. That's being Wall Street's champion.”
Narration: All in all, progress on Trump’s campaign pledges has been sluggish so far. Trump’s significant actions to date have consisted entirely of executive orders. What he has not yet demonstrated is his ability to actually shepherd a bill into law. It’s conceivable that Trump could hit Day 100 with only minor symbolic legislative achievements to his name.