As President Trump neared his first 100 days in office, he repeatedly insisted that he didn't care about that symbolic landmark. The first 100 days, Trump said, are "not very meaningful." It's a "ridiculous standard" by which to judge a presidency, he said elsewhere, one amounting to nothing more than an "artificial barrier" (to what?). And yet maybe, just maybe, that was all malarky: Trump's new TV ad about his first 100 days suggests that actually, he really does care about that marker, and wants to convince people that his first 100 days have been awesome.
"Donald Trump: Sworn in as president 100 days ago," the narrator intones at the beginning of the commercial.
The commercial, which is technically a reelection ad for the 2020 campaign, ends with the familiar "I'm Donald Trump and I approve this message."
If Trump doesn't care about how his first 100 days are perceived, would he commission and release an ad explaining how great his first 100 days were? Maybe, but probably not.
In any event, the spot is misleading. It credits Trump with "the biggest tax cut plan in history" — but that doesn't mean much, considering Trump hasn't actually passed or signed a tax reform bill. As many former presidents can tell you, proposing legislation is relatively easy. It's so easy, in fact, that you don't even have to be president to do it. Convincing Congress to pass legislation, on the other hand, is very hard.
Trump hasn't accomplished the hard part yet. This is in part because he hasn't actually released a final version of his tax proposal. He's merely unveiled a one-page outline of the bill's "goals" — but again, it's very easy to say what you hope to accomplish with a plan that you haven't put into action. And even if the still-unfinished bill does ultimately pass, it almost certainly won't be the "biggest tax cut we've ever had," as Trump claimed in an Associated Press interview. That's because in 1872, Congress eliminated the income tax entirely, and Trump isn't proposing anything nearly as ambitious as that.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
The fact is that most of Trump's 100-day accomplishments have come in the form of unilateral actions that any president can take without very much difficulty. But he hasn't passed any major pieces of legislation, despite one very public attempt to do so, and his approval rating is at an historic low for a president at this point in their first term. Even some of Trump's supporters have been disappointed by his actions thus far.
But hey — Trump doesn't care about his first 100 days, so presumably, he isn't bothered by any of this.