Were Trump's First 100 Days Successful? Depends On How You Define Success
It's a solid bet that President Trump will pronounce his first 100 days in office a glowing triumph. He's not one to admit defeat, or even mild setbacks, and it's entirely possible that Trump views his crucial first three months-plus as POTUS in a strictly positive light. As for the rest of America and the world, whether or not his Trump's first 100 days have been a "success" depends on how the word is defined.
If we define "success" as following through on campaign promises, or at least getting the ball rolling, then Trump does not come anywhere near it. For those who recall his slew of raucous rallies throughout the 2016 general election, the most ubiquitous of his pledges was The Wall. He was going to build a "big, beautiful wall" across all 1,954 miles of the U.S. southern border with Mexico, and Mexico was going to pay for it.
That has not happened. It is not close to happening. For starters, Trump has already admitted that Congress must provide the funding for his wall (aka Americans taxpayers will foot the bill).
Trump's Contract With The American Voter made big promises for his first 100 days. pic.twitter.com/CG4vv98Ofr— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) April 21, 2017
But Congress will likely not jump on this request. They're facing a must-pass government spending bill on the docket for next week, one that at least some Democrats have to approve in order to avoid a government shutdown. What are the odds that any Democrat votes yay for a piece of legislation that gives a single penny to Trump's pet construction project? They're about as high as Mexico coughing up the wall's estimated $21.6 billion price tag and mailing it to Trump's home office.
Certain conservative commentators (looking at you, Hugh Hewitt) argued that even hesitant Republicans had to vote for Trump because of the Supreme Court. So if that is the measure of success that some are looking for, Trump can claim it. The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch on April 7, albeit with assistance from Senate Republicans who decimated the filibuster process.
But the Supreme Court seating of Gorsuch may be one of the only tangible wins Trump can point to, and even he seems to know it. Having been unable to repeal and replace Obamacare, impose a ban on travelers coming from several Muslim-majority countries, or even make progress on tax reform on the legislative schedule, Trump seems aware that his time thus far in the Oval Office could be interpreted as ineffectual. He preemptively tweeted that "no matter how much" he gets done in the "ridiculous standard of the first 100 days," the "media will kill."
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
But if those are the only achievements of this administration, it's going to be a disappointing four years for Trump's ardent supporters. They might remember (as he seems to have forgotten) that #DrainTheSwamp was one of his promises too. That was one of Trump's catchphrases to describe how he would clear out lobbyists from D.C., thereby removing the corrupting influence of money in politics.
How is that working out? It's not looking so good for those who took Trump seriously. After winning on Nov. 8, Trump promptly hired several lobbyists to help guide his White House transition team. He's since installed Steve Mnuchin — a former Goldman Sachs employee and hedge fund founder — as Secretary of the Treasury. "Drain the Swamp" can't be counted in the "success" column.
Trump might point to his approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines as proof of "success." We should note that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe probably has a different word for it.
It seems that Trump's first 100 days have been more defined by what he hasn't been able to achieve than what he has. With Obamacare still in place, no border wall in sight, and corruption in Washington looking as solid as ever, it seems that success remains elusive.
For countless Trump opponents, this may not be unwelcome news.