As we approach President Trump's 100th day in office this coming weekend, Republicans have accomplished nothing on healthcare or tax reform, Democrats are threatening a government shutdown, and a potential bipartisan infrastructure spending effort hasn't even been seriously broached. Critics are accusing Trump of presiding over one of the least productive 'first 100 days' in modern presidential history, an analysis that Trump angrily rejected as a "ridiculous standard" late last week on Twitter:
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
Is he right? In some ways, yes. If Trump and his party get around to passing landmark reforms on key fronts within the next year or two, not a single American will care whether or not those accomplishments were achieved within some meaningless, artificial timeframe. Then again, it was Trump himself who routinely assured voters during the campaign that he would be able to enact a sweeping agenda quickly and easily after assuming office. He referenced the term in speeches, and his campaign explicitly embraced the benchmark in an October "contract" with voters. So if the standard is, in fact, "ridiculous," Trump owns partial responsibility for boosting it and raising expectations for himself. The jury remains out on whether the Trump, Ryan and McConnell-led GOP is capable of productive governance, and some early signs are worrisome. But it's not as if the president will enter this weekend empty-handed. Beyond a flurry of executive orders (which are easily reversible, as President Obama is learning every day), Trump has signed a number of 'Congressional Review Act' bills passed by the Republican Congress that uproot last-minute regulations imposed by the Obama administration. Some of these reversals of damaging policies are meaningful and impactful. But in a column pushing back against '100 days' concern trolling and urging the president not to fret over that media narrative, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen argues that Trump has already notched a major, enduring win:
Trump has accomplished something more significant in his first 100 days than any president in recent memory has done: the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Trump’s predecessors’ early achievements were fleeting. President Barack Obama’s stimulus (with its false promise of “shovel-ready” jobs) is long forgotten. George W. Bush’s tax cuts were not signed until June and were partially repealed by his successor. But Trump’s success in placing the 49-year-old Gorsuch on the Supreme Court will affect the direction of our country for a generation. Indeed, Trump can count every 5-4 decision over the next three decades that goes conservatives’ way as one of his “First 100 Days” accomplishments. No other modern president can claim to have had that kind of lasting impact in so short a time. Trump also did something in his first 100 days that his predecessor could not bring himself to do in his entire second term: He enforced Obama’s red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons...Those things alone make Trump’s first 100 days a success.
In debating this same question on Fox and Friends, I also cited the Gorsuch confirmation (for which Senate Republicans and Mitch McConnell also deserve major kudos) as a paramount achievement for the new president -- adding that if the 'second vacancy' rumors we've been following and reporting for weeks prove true, Trump will face a precious opportunity to cement a decades-long legacy within the first half-year of his term. Via Right Sightings:
The truth is that in spite of all the hyperventilation and intensity on all sides, Trump's early presidency has been a mixed bag. If we enter next year's election cycle with zero major legislative points on the board, that will be more of a problem. But for now, new Trump is more correct than old Trump on the importance of months one through three. I'll leave you with a silly "achievement" that will arrive exactly on day 100. It may be superficial trolling, but Trump's base will absolutely love it. If you want to know why basically none of his voters regret their electoral choice, this sort of iconoclastic signaling helps explain it -- even if the decision arises from selfishness and insecurity. Well played:
Wasn't enough for Trump to skip WH Correspondents Dinner—now holding rally at same time, which many would-be dinner goers will have to cover https://t.co/J7mabsE8xv— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) April 22, 2017