President Donald Trump is already being written off by some as a leader who won't achieve much while in office, given some of his bigger failures these last months. But if you ask Trump, that's just the media gunning for him as we arrive at his first 100 days in office. "No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days," he wrote on Twitter, "the media will kill." But is that true? How does he compare to others? For example, what did George W. Bush do in his first 100 days?
A report from ABC News about his 100-day report card doesn't mention much concrete. Many of the things that we remember most about his presidency, like the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq all come later. Instead, what ABC focuses on is his leadership style, which hadn't fully developed yet at the time.
And when you look at what he actually had going those first weeks, he was arguably best well known for being on time. A CNN report from the time reads:
Bush began putting his stamp on the presidency in other ways. Clinton was notoriously late on his schedule; Bush prides himself on timeliness and has, on occasion, gently scolded those who arrive to his meetings after they begin.
In all seriousness, there was one big foreign policy-related incident that Bush had to deal with in his first 100 days. It doesn't stack up to what Trump has seen in Syria or North Korea, but it is significant. A U.S. spy plane crashed with a Chinese fighter jet that had been pursuing it. The crew survived but had to make an emergency landing on Chinese soil, which was a significant concern for the U.S. government. The crew and the aircraft safely returned home after 11 days, and it was a big win for the administration.
Besides that foreign policy hiccup, Bush just begun pushing his agenda. Many of the things he proposed during the first 100 days did become law over time. The Bush tax cuts were already being discussed during that time, and the first round would be passed just beyond his first 100 days in June. That's the $1.35 trillion tax cut that included lots of rebate checks for $600. Another bill that was already under way was the infamous No Child Left Behind Act.
Trump, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be making progress on his central campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. But beyond that, it's probably too early to tell which policy initiatives, if any, might turn into something recognizable as a part of Trump's legacy; Bush's first 100 days proves that. The larger issues that defined his presidency, like the terror attacks and wars, came later.
Another thing to consider is that perhaps Trump will spell out all his achievements when he holds his 100-day rally in Pennsylvania Saturday. Maybe there are a few you haven't noticed, and I'm sure Trump will want to publicize every single one.