Where Trump Stands on Campaign Promises
Delivered, broken and endangered pledges from the president two weeks before his 100-day mark
With less than two weeks to go until President Donald Trump reaches his 100th day in office, it’s a good time to see where the president stands on delivering his some of his most important and popular campaign promises.
So far Trump is off to an inconsistent start. He has delivered on some promises, appears to have broken a few of them, and several remain in limbo.
Refuse a Salary
“The first thing I’m going to do is tell you that if I’m elected president, I’m accepting no salary, OK?” Trump said at a September rally in 2015. “That’s not a big deal for me.”
So far Trump appears to be keeping the promise. On April 3 the White House announced that the president was donating his first quarter salary to the National Parks Service.
Replace Scalia with a Proven Conservative
Trump promised to select “a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.” Though it took Senate Republicans voting on a rules change in order to do so, Judge Neil Gorsuch was finally confirmed on April 7, fulfilling Trump’s pledge.
Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Trump was a fierce critic of the TPP throughout the campaign, and ending U.S. pursuit of the multi-lateral trade bargain was one of the promises on the president’s “Contract with the American Voter.” On January 23, Trump issued an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the negotiating process for the deal.
Revive Pipeline Projects
Trump was a harsh critic on the campaign trail of the Obama administration’s efforts to sink the Keystone XL pipeline, and promised to restore the project if elected. He quickly honored that promise.
On January 24 Trump issued executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.Two months later, on March 24, President Trump announced that the administration had approved construction of the Keystone XL project after the State Department issued a permit to TransCanada to begin work.
‘Bomb the Sh*t Out of ISIS’
Trump said he would “bomb the sh*t out of ISIS” a number of times on the campaign trail. Last week he appeared to do just that, as the U.S. dropped a Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb — reportedly the largest non-nuclear bomb in existence — on an ISIS tunnel system in Afghanistan, in the weapon’s first combat use.
Declare China a Currency Manipulator
Also among the pledges listed in Trump’s “Contract” was the promise to “instruct the Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator.”
On Wednesday, April 12, however, Trump said of China in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “they’re not currency manipulators,” and said his administration would not label them as such. The move was widely regarded as the cashing of a chip with China in exchange for help isolating an increasingly belligerent North Korea.
Abolish the Export-Import Bank
Trump declared on April 12 his desire to “revive” the Ex-Im Bank, considered to be an institution of pure crony capitalism by many conservatives and which Trump once pledged to abolish. In a move likely to mitigate the reversal, Trump appointed once-fierce Ex-Im critic former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) to lead the agency, suggesting the government entity’s mission may be shifted away from so-called corporate welfare and towards more specifically supporting U.S. job-growth.
Promises Likely to Be Delivered
Cut Off Federal Funding to Sanctuary Cities
As part of the “Five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law” listed in Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter,” he promised to “cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities.”
It appears Trump intends to fulfill this pledge. “We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 30.
Repeal and Replace Obamacare
One of Trump’s most important and popular campaign promises was his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare. He promised a “Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act” within the first 100 days of his presidency.
His efforts to deliver on that promise smashed headfirst into roadblock when House Republican leaders withdrew a repeal and replace bill on March 24, following their failure to gain enough supporting votes.
Despite the setback, Republicans from the president to Paul Ryan and even Rand Paul appear confident that a repeal-and-replace deal will be reached. “I had a great time today with @realDonaldTrump and believe we are getting closer to an agreement on health care!” Paul tweeted in early April.
Promises Likely to Be Broken
Stay Out of Syria
Trump the candidate indicated a desire to reverse the previous two administration’s interventionist, globalist foreign policies. Before, during, and for a little while after the campaign, Trump was a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq and the Obama administration’s involvement in Libya and its desire to get involved in Syria.
As recently as March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there was no reason to think the Syria conflict must end with Assad’s removal. On April 6, however, Trump launched airstrikes against a Syrian air base following a chemical attack allegedly perpetrated by the Assad regime. And last week, Secretary Tillerson effectively said that Assad must go, saying it’s becoming clear “to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.”
Tear Up Obama’s Executive Amnesty Orders
Trump repeatedly won applause lines on the campaign trail for pledging to tear-up President Obama’s executive orders granting blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Once in office however, Trump softened his stance on the issue and has reversed neither the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DAPA remains under a court-ordered block, and DACA remains in effect since the Trump administration, likely fearing severe blowback, has allowed the policy of allowing so-called DREAMers to maintain legally protected status.
Hiring Freeze on Federal Employees
In his “Contract With the American Voter,” Trump promised to institute “a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).”
Trump implemented such a freeze via executive order in January; however, last week it was announced that the blanket hiring freeze would end. “It does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,” said OMB director Mick Mulvaney at a press briefing. “What we’re doing tomorrow is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze that we put into place on Day One in office and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan.”
Promises Partially Delivered
Clamp Down on Federal Regulations
“We’re going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation and put a moratorium on new regulations until our economy gets back on its feet,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Florida in August 2016.
But while no such moratorium has been forthcoming, Trump has moved to significantly restrict regulatory red tape. On January 30, Trump issued an executive order that for every new regulation, two existing regulations must be repealed.
“It is the policy of the executive branch to be prudent and financially responsible in the expenditure of funds, from both public and private sources,” the order stated. “Toward that end, it is important that for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination, and that the cost of planned regulations be prudently managed and controlled through a budgeting process.”
Defund Planned Parenthood
Trump also promised to defund abortion-giant Planned Parenthood during the campaign. He issued an executive order in January which prohibited funding organizations that promote abortion overseas, which includes Planned Parenthood International.
Last Thursday, Trump issued an executive order permitting states to withhold federal funds from groups that offer abortions, which of course includes Planned Parenthood. But no wider action restricting the federal funding of the organization has so far advanced.