Here’s where things stand heading into Day 91 of the Trump administration:
President Trump had no misgivings this week about praising his record as president.
Disregard the scandals, the challenges, the failures, he suggested in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday. “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” he said.
We are drawing nearer to 100-day mark of Trump’s presidency, a milestone that has served as a first measure of effectiveness for presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It has been a bumpy and eventful ride for Trump. The businessman came to the White House never having held public office and with a lack of detailed knowledge about many of the policy areas he would oversee as president. Several times since January, Trump has seemed surprised by aspects of the job, as if he were building a basic understanding of the work as he went along.
Trump’s assertion (“no administration has accomplished more”) on Tuesday was a bold one. So our colleague Glenn Kessler decided to take a look at his achievements so far, to see whether the claim holds up.
- Trump has signed 28 bills into law so far. Thirteen aimed to reverse Obama-era policies. Several others are what one expert called “minor or housekeeping bills.” With a few days left before the 100-day mark, Trump has enacted no major pieces of legislation.
- Trump has issued 24 executive orders, 22 presidential memorandums and 20 proclamations. This pace does “not stand out as especially unusual,” our colleague wrote.
- Trump is lagging when it comes to appointments, with many crucial administration positions — including Senate-confirmed posts — still vacant.
- Trump has made waves with his foreign policy. He launched airstrikes in Syria after a chemical attack against civilians. He has taken a tougher posture toward North Korea and Iran. It is unclear, however, where these policies will lead.
Experts were not particularly sympathetic to Trump’s claim about his productivity.
“Trump actually is unusual for his first 100 days but for a reason opposite of what he said,” Max J. Skidmore, a political science professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and author of “Presidential Performance: A Comprehensive Review,” told our colleague.
“Not only has he accomplished almost nothing, but rather his initiatives (executive orders stayed by courts, a major legislative proposal failing even to come to a vote when his party controls both houses, etc.) have notoriously been unsuccessful.”
In the end, Trump’s claim earned Four Pinocchios. Read more about the verdict here, and keeping checking back as we close in on 100 days.
HEALTH CARE, THE BORDER WALL AND TAX REFORM: AN UPDATE
Just because the Trump administration hasn’t accomplished all it might have wished to during the first 90 days doesn’t mean there isn’t work happening.
Let’s check in with three major policy debates important to Trump and his administration.
- HEALTH CARE: Republicans on Capitol Hill have resumed the process of trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but it remains to be seen whether their latest proposal will secure enough votes to pass. There are tentative plans for the House to vote on the revised measure next Wednesday, according to a top White House official.
- BORDER WALL: The White House wants to use ongoing negotiations to keep the government running past April 28 to force Democrats to support some funding for a wall along the southern border. This is considered a risky move, since border-wall funding has not been part of talks so far and could provoke a showdown next week.
- TAX REFORM: How will the Trump administration achieve its desired tax cuts without increasing the federal deficit? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the plan will “pay for itself with growth.” In his argument, reducing business and individual tax rates will unleash so much economic growth that the lost revenue will be almost completely recouped. This view has many skeptics.
WIKILEAKS FACES FRESH LEGAL SCRUTINY
One of the 2016 campaign’s most iconic quotes came when Trump expressed his gratitude for WikiLeaks. (“I love WikiLeaks!” he told a rally in Pennsylvania.)
It’s safe to say the organization isn’t feeling the same warmth from his administration.
Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo denounced the group as a “non-state, hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors, like Russia.”
Now, the Justice Department is weighing whether to bring criminal charges against its members over the exposure of sensitive CIA cyber-tools last month.
In recent weeks, our colleagues reported, prosecutors have been drafting a memo that contemplates leveling charges of conspiracy, theft of government property or violating the Espionage Act against members of WikiLeaks.
Their main motivation is WikiLeaks’ decision to publish thousands of files revealing CIA malware and other tools that allow agents to exploit everyday technology for the purposes of espionage.
It is not clear, our colleagues wrote, whether prosecutors are also looking at WikiLeaks’ role in distributing emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that U.S. officials say were hacked by Russia.
Follow the author: @eliseviebeck.