This Saturday, April 22, President Donald Trump will finally reach the fabled 100-day mark of his first term in office. Since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934, each and every resident of the Oval Office has been bench-marked based on what he has been able to accomplish within those first 100 days. Here is a brief glance into what the President has done at the beginning of his term and an evaluation of those actions.
The Good: Appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. A Supreme Court appointment is a rigorous test for any President (just ask President Obama). Within the first three months of President Trump’s term he was able to successfully appoint a nominee that is cut from the same conservative cloth as the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch is relatively young and will presumably serve on the bench for years.
The ‘mother of all bombs’. Being tough on our enemies was a solemn promise made by candidate Trump throughout his run for the presidency. Two weeks ago, President Trump oversaw the deployment of this large, eleven-ton bomb on a critical ISIS target in Afghanistan. While President Obama was frequently criticized for killing civilian targets, this particular bombing by President Trump killed dozens of terrorists while reporting no civilian casualties to date. It was an impressive display of American power against one of our top enemies abroad.
The Okay: Tax reform. A few days ago, President Trump unveiled his new tax plan to the American people. This tax plan would simplify an overly complicated system and would lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. While simplifying the tax code, this plan has come under intense scrutiny from independent economists who believe the plan will significantly harm the federal deficit.
Renegotiating trade deals. Another promise of the Trump campaign was a restructuring of America’s foreign trade deals, including NAFTA. After placing tariffs on Canadian lumber, it is clear the Trump administration is serious on upholding this promise. While it remains unclear how exactly President Trump intends to renegotiate these deals, the first 100 days have eluded to more major shifts in foreign trade policy.
The Bad: Russia. It seems that every week the Trump administration is being bashed for its shady ties to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government. From Michael Flynn to Jared Kushner, the Kremlin’s involvement within the Trump circle will continue to be scrutinized for the next four years. It is a negative headline that will not go away and will certainly factor into the 2018 midterms.
Botched Obamacare replacement. A Republican platform staple was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement. In a hasty attempt to replace President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Trump administration failed to court enough votes within his own party to get the replacement through Congress. This failure was dragged into the national spotlight and will serve as a significant black mark on the President for the next four years.
Overall Grade: D+. The President, while successful in getting a Supreme Court justice and being tough on our enemies, has been severely overshadowed with his ties to the Russian government. The failure of the American Health Care Act will continue to haunt the administration. While it is just the first 100 days, the beginning of President Trump’s term is off to a somewhat rocky start.
This is the opinion of Charles Pults, SJU senior