Trump gets poor grades, only a 39 percent approval rating, from the general public (1-17, Marist poll). However, the small Trump base remains enthusiastic, saying he accomplishes what he says he was going to do when he ran.
Has he in fact succeeded, as they believe and he constantly tweets? Let’s review various Trump campaign promises (quotes from Politifact, 1-17-19; commentary from this author):
Promise 1: “If I’m elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.”
Analysis: Trump never moved at all. He would have had support from Democrats (76 percent) and Republicans (89), per a 1-15-18 McLaughlin poll (note: findings similar to a 1-13 Gallup poll). The DC politicians, liberals and conservatives, would have opposed him, making his approval rating from voters’ soar.
Promise 2: “I’m under a routine audit and it’ll be released, and as soon as the audit is finished it will be released.”
Analysis: Trump has lost credibility with the American public, with only 24 percent believing he should not release his returns (Quinnipiac, 2-18). His returns will come out anyway, as a result of Mueller. Why not at least try to explain them now, especially if they are as clean as he claims?
Promise 3:”As part of this reform, we will eliminate the carried interest deduction and other special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, and for people like me, but unfair to American workers.”
Analysis: True, this loophole was structured to provide a way to make the rich richer. Yes, it’s great for billionaires like Trump, and that is why his approval rate would have soared had he made this item a priority, but he did not, and the loophole remains on the books.
Promise 4:“You can cut the numbers by two pennies and three pennies and balance a budget quickly and have a stronger and better country.”; “We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.”
Analysis: Trump went the opposite direction. Debt is going up faster than it has in the last six years, with debt increasing $1.9 trillion since Trump came into office (Bloomberg, 12-18). With a booming economy, rising debt is inexcusable and destructive long-term.
Promise 5:“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”
Analysis: The Administration’s 2019 proposed budget would have cut Medicare and other entitlement programs (Social Security, welfare, food stamps) $1.7 trillion to offset military spending and money for a wall (Bloomberg, 2-18).
Promise 6: “A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).”
Analysis: This promise was misleading: 60 percent of the federal civilian workforce is in Defense, DHS, and VA. The ban was lifted after a few months in April 2017. Some departments have shown increases; no overall FTE decrease has been documented to date.
Promise 7:”A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.”
Analysis: See Mueller investigation. Plus, NBC did a piece (12-18) on RE Hohlt, an administration official appointed 6-17 but on the Saudi payroll until 11-18.
Promise 8: “This (Iran) deal, if I win, will be a totally different deal.”
Analysis: The Great Deal Maker couldn’t do a deal at all. Iran is now well on its way to developing nuclear weapons, per Israeli accounts (Bloomberg, 4-18).
Promise 9:“Take a big piece of land in Syria…Build a safe zone for all these people…We should build a safe zone.”
Analysis: No Syrian civilian safe zone was ever built. We are deserting our allies, the Kurds, to be slaughtered by the Turks.
Promise 10:“Real change begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare.”
Analysis: With repeal a failure, Trump has unsuccessfully tried to decimate Obamacare. He’s never come up with a replacement.
Promise 11:” I will build a great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
Analysis: Mexico isn’t paying for a wall. Neither is Pelosi.
Promise 12: “Require price transparency from all health care providers, especially doctors and health care organizations like clinics and hospitals.”
Analysis: Sec. Azar says this is a priority, but little progress has been made.
Trump’s priorities in his first two years have been confusing. His lack of long-range thinking and political inexperience is telling. So much for the President’s constant declarations about being the most successful ever. The facts just don’t line up.
Author’s note: a future column will examine campaign promises he has fulfilled and their impact on American life.