Saturday is the 100th day of the Trump presidency. Though it’s felt longer, it is an important milestone that shows how conflicted the rest of the Trump Term could be.
In 1933 newly elected president Roosevelt called for a special session of congress and made history by passing a series of reforms, ‘The New Deal’, in only 100 days. Since then, the first 100 days of a presidency are often massively commented on. Trump promised a very ambitious ‘100 Day Plan’ during his election campaign. It’s time to look at what has been done.
The first priority of President Trump was to get his cabinet nominees through the Senate and complete his administration. After some difficulties with getting his top cabinet choices through congress, and accusations of top advisers meddling with the Russian government (such as his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned just 3 weeks after being nominated), the replacement of the entirety of the administration has left hundreds of jobs not yet filled in the federal government. 475 of the 554 positions still require Senate confirmation. The Trump administration is, for now, quite slow, inexperienced and has yet to act effectively.
In terms of policies, Republicans had been campaigning for one thing for the last six years: Repeal Obamacare. It was supported by every one of the seventeen candidates in the Republican primary and Trump explicitly said several times that within his first 100 days he will have repealed and replaced Obamacare with a “much better healthcare plan”. However, as Donald Trump said himself: “who knew healthcare could be so complicated”. The bill drafted by congressional Republicans (called ‘Ryan Care’ after the speaker of the house Paul Ryan) made huge savings by cutting Medicare, transformed the ACA benefits into tax credits and kept some of the most loved parts of the Affordable Care act (you cannot be refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions, a child can stay on its parents’ plan until age 26, etc.). However, it failed to gather support in the house. Some started calling it “Obamacare Light” as it failed to get rid of the individual mandate, and threatened to vote against it. In an attempt to get back those votes, the party leaders tried to move the bill further to the right, scaring the more moderate Republicans and so burying the bill for good. Obamacare is for now “the law of the land” until the Republicans can agree on another repeal.
The real victory for Trump and the Republicans during the past three months was the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch at the Supreme Court. After the death of Antony Scalia, a conservative justice, the Supreme Court ended up with four liberals and four conservatives, adding another stake to the election: creating a majority in the highest court of the country. By securing the majority in the Supreme Court, the Republicans now have control over all branches of government. Nevertheless, they did have to use the “nuclear option” (getting rid of the two-third majority rule and confirming Gorsuch with a single majority) to get Trump’s nominee through the Senate. It might reshape how the court works by polarising the justice nomination, and could change the face of the court – a couple of liberal judges are now getting older and might consider retiring.
After detailing a very ambitious plan, Trump has few victories to show for. Even the funding of “The Wall” has been postponed to next September as it failed to make it to next week’s budget. However, Trump and the Republicans will be presenting a new tax plan that aims to reduce the number of brackets and cut companies’ taxes, and he is now threatening to leave NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) if they fail to renegotiate it. Trump is now facing the reality of the divided American politics and the author of ‘The Art of the Deal’ is failing to deal across and even within party lines.
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