President Trump kicks off a 17-day vacation on Friday afternoon, heading for his golf club in New Jersey where he’ll hunker down for the next two-plus weeks.
Before departing, though, he fired off a slew of tweets claiming a number of successes — on jobs, consumer confidence and … in the election — and pledging that more upbeat announcements were still to come.
Consumer confidence is at a 16 year high….and for good reason. Much more regulation "busting" to come. Working hard on tax cuts & reform!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2017
“Working hard on tax cuts & reform!” he tweeted, hours before he was to board Air Force One for the sort of vacation for which he regularly chastised his predecessor. It brings to mind the infamous transition George W. Bush made when he urged the nations of the world to fight terrorism — and then teed off.
What this really is, though, is one of Trump’s preferred verbal tics. Any number of times as president he’s pledged to the American public that he and congressional Republicans are working “hard” or “tirelessly” to solve problems. With the Capitol and White House clearing out for some much-needed rest, let’s check in on what all of that hard, tireless work has accomplished.
• March 22: “Big day for healthcare. Working hard!”
• June 8: “Something I hope great is going to come out through Mitch McConnell of the Senate, and we’re working very hard. I can tell you, we’re really working hard.”
• June 27: “With ZERO Democrats to help, and a failed, expensive and dangerous Obamacare as the Dems legacy, the Republican Senators are working hard!”
• July 14: “.@VP Mike Pence is working hard on HealthCare and getting our wonderful Republican Senators to do what is right for the people.”
• July 14: “Republicans Senators are working hard to get their failed Obamacare replacement approved. I will be at my desk, pen in hand!”
• July 19: “[W]e’re working hard on health care.”
• Aug. 1: “But I’ve been working hard, trying to get the senators to go along with it. And I — you know, I think I — you know, look, just don’t quote me on this unless it happens, but I think we have a pretty good shot.”
What has been accomplished: The House passed the American Health Care Act in May, overhauling Obamacare. The Republican Senate majority tried to pass a similar bill last month, but couldn’t manage to get a majority of votes from members of their own party. The effort appears to be mostly dead.
Tax cuts / reform
• June 21: “But we’re going to have one of the lowest taxes from the highest tax. And we’re working hard on it. And I think it’s going to happen.”
• June 21: “So, we’re working hard. Let’s see if we pull it off. We’re going to try very hard, I can tell you.”
• Aug. 4, as above: “Consumer confidence is at a 16 year high … and for good reason. Much more regulation “busting” to come. Working hard on tax cuts & reform!”
What has been accomplished: The White House unveiled a vague plan in April. Late last month, a working group of congressional leaders and administration officials released a statement outlining their broad thinking about what tax reform might look like. No legislation has been introduced.
• Jan. 26: “[W]e’re working hard with the veterans. We’re going to do something very special with the veterans.”
• Aug. 3: “Today, I announced another historic breakthrough for the VA. We are working tirelessly to keep our promises to our GREAT VETERANS!”
What has been accomplished: In June, Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law, which makes it easier for the department to fire or discipline employees. This week, he announced a new program that would allow veterans to contact healthcare professionals remotely via phone or computer. His appointee to run the department has implemented a number of other changes as well.
• July 11: “Working hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!”
What has been accomplished: When Trump tweeted this, it was already clear that Los Angeles would be tapped for either the 2024 or 2028 Olympics, with the other going to Paris. The final announcement will be made in September, but an agreement reached Monday with the International Olympic Committee would clear the way for Paris to host in 2024 and Los Angeles four years later.
• Feb. 17: “So as you head into the President’s Day weekend, the American people should know that we are working tirelessly on your behalf. We are not here for the benefit of bureaucrats, consultants, or pundits — we are here to work for you, and only for you, the American people.”
• June 13: “So the Republicans are working hard. We passed and signed 38 pieces of legislation, which nobody likes to talk about. I think probably seldom has any President and administration done more or had more success so early on …”
What has been accomplished: Trump has signed 44 pieces of legislation into law, 26 of which were only one page long. This is not an exceptionally large number of bills to sign.
• April 28: About going to his club in Bedminster — “I could go other places that I have but then they hit me for relaxing and I don’t want to be known as a person who relaxes because I’m working hard and I’m working hard for the people and we’re doing a great job.”
What has been accomplished: Trump is making a subjective assessment of his own efforts that is hard to assess numerically.