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  • Writer's pictureMadeline Kim

Trump’s first 100 days bring half-truths, second-guessing

Updated: May 9, 2022

Art by India Price

Prior to the 2016 presidential election, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump released the "Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter." By doing so, he announced his "100-day action plan to Make America Great Again" for the first days in office. He packed his first 100 days to the brim with controversial plans that would, as proud Trump supporter Tomi Lahren stated, "shake up Washington." On January 20, 2017, Trump was sworn into office, and the first hundred days began.

Although the majority of voters who cast their ballots for Trump do not regret their vote, Trump's presidency had a 44 percent approval rating, making it the first time in the history of modern polling in the U.S. when the majority of U.S. citizens did not approve of their president at such an early juncture. These statistics have come to life on the streets through events such as the Women's March, A Day Without Immigrants, and the March for Science. Even Trump himself seems to be at least somewhat unhappy with his presidency. In a recent interview with Reuters, he stated that he expected being president would "be easier" than his old life and in fact misses his "old life." Of course, Trump is not the first president to express nostalgia, but it seems rather unusual that he shares this sentiment so soon after becoming president.

Regardless of expectations, it is important to not delve too far into the pathos of Trump's presidency and remain conscientious of both the ethos and logos. With Trump having just passed the hundred day mark on April 30, 2017, it is time to reflect back on his contract and evaluate how well he has kept his promises and trust with the American people.

He had three main objectives for his first days in office. The first was to drain the swamp in D.C. By doing so, he hoped to restore the public's trust in the government and bring change to Washington. However, the extent to which D.C. continues to be swamped is debatable. With such controversial picks such as Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Trump has definitely hosted a radically different environment from the one under the Obama administration. Despite the credentials that many of Trump's picks lack, perhaps he felt that their connections to key special interests would compensate for their shortcomings.

The next goal was to take measures in protecting American workers. Trump saw, and currently sees, trade as a potential threat to America, hence his announcing a plan to renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He denounced the TPP as a step towards the "continuing rape of our country." Furthermore, he wanted to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator. Trump did withdraw from the TPP via executive order. However, he backed out of withdrawing from NAFTA; Trump's team was divided, and President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, as well as Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, greatly discouraged him from doing so. Just as Trump's opinion on NAFTA shifted significantly, so did his stance on China. Trump no longer publicly denounces China as a currency manipulator. Rather, he is trying to create a stronger relationship with China in order to potentially gain help from China in confronting North Korea, which he sees as a top threat.

The final task to accomplish was to restore law and order, just as he promised in the presidential debates held prior to the election. This involved stringent regulations for immigration and the implementation of what he and his administration described as "extreme vetting." Although he was not implementing these policies unopposed, he has been somewhat successful in keeping his promises. His controversial temporary travel ban barred people arriving from seven dominantly-Muslim countries from entering America, and as a consequence, an undetermined number of U.S. residents were left unable to return to the country after traveling. However, the endeavors of Trump and his administration do not stop there — there are still strides being made to deport illegal immigrants regardless of the lack of criminal records, and more plans to enforce the immigration ban that could even cause the First Lady to be deported. Of course, law and order would not be complete without his firm plans on building the wall, which has remained constant throughout the campaign trail and his presidency despite the billions of dollars that would be involved in a wall that may be ineffective against immigration across the southern border.

The Trump administration has been eventful, to say the least. He has signed 30 executive orders, more than any other president has within his respective first hundred days in office. Already, Trump has had a rough beginning of his presidency, leading to many questioning his abilities to be president at all. However, at the current trajectory America is heading towards, the people must live under a Trump administration for just over 1,200 days, and whatever course of action Trump takes next is surely to be marked in history.

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