President Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history — and Democrats are hoping to keep it that way.
While negotiating this week with the White House on a plan to avoid a government shutdown and strongly opposed to any new plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are planning to lead a series of events designed to call out Trump’s work and words on the economy, trade, health-care reform and his vows to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
The offensive begins Monday with a conference call hosted by Schumer, Pelosi and Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and will continue with other events hosted by lawmakers throughout the week.
Schumer noted in a statement that Democrats have vowed to hold Trump accountable, “and as we approach this benchmark, we intend to do just that. So far, the President’s first one hundred days have been defined by broken and unfulfilled promises to America’s working class. The President has yet to follow through on promises he made to improve the lives of millions of workers in everything from health care to trade, and from infrastructure to outsourcing.”
Pelosi got to work Sunday, telling NBC’s “Meet the Press” that as a candidate, Trump “promised jobs. Show us the jobs. Where’s his infrastructure bill? There are many promises, made promises, broken.”
Trump’s approval rating stands at 42 percent, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight D. Eisenhower. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday, Trump’s 53 percent disapproval rating is 14 percentage points higher than Bill Clinton’s 39 percent disapproval in April 1993, the worst before Trump.
Trump has mocked “the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days” on Twitter, but his White House team is aggressively planning to tout his accomplishments this week while pushing Congress to include funding for the president’s promised U.S.-Mexico border wall in a spending measure that would keep the government open past April 28.
Cabinet secretaries and other senior administration officials will hold public events on Capitol Hill and sit for interviews with local television stations from across the country. Trump will be signing more executive orders designed to provide relief to rural Americans and military veterans and revamp the nation’s energy policy. He will hold receptions for conservative columnists and radio talk show hosts, sit for television interviews and hold one of his signature rallies next Saturday in Pennsylvania.
Democrats are planning for events on Capitol Hill headlined by rank-and-file lawmakers who will release scorecards designed to criticize the new administration’s work on the economy, trade, health care and ethics. Schumer and Pelosi will cap the week on Friday with another event designed to draw attention to the looming shutdown. Their offices will be circulating talking points and social media guidance to House and Senate offices each day — the kind of material likely to end up in floor speeches and members’ Twitter feeds.
A briefing memo prepared for Democratic lawmakers and obtained by The Washington Post lays out the top-line arguments against Trump:
On the economy:
“President Trump has done nothing to stop companies from outsourcing jobs and has failed to buy American as he promised on the Keystone XL pipeline. He has proposed drastic cuts to job training programs and has refused to label China a currency manipulator.
“Meanwhile, President Trump still has not put forward a single, concrete job-creating bill – betraying his promises to make rebuilding America’s infrastructure a top priority of his Administration.”
On health-care reform:
“As a candidate, President Trump promised to lower costs, provide “insurance for everybody,” and increase the quality of health care. In his first 100 days, he has taken actions to increase health care costs and cripple the marketplaces. He pushed a bill that would make Americans pay more for less care, and he has and continues to undermine our current health care system to the detriment of families’ pocketbooks.
“Trumpcare, President Trump’s largest legislative proposal (and failure) to date, would make older Americans pay thousands more for lower quality care, result in 24 million more Americans going without health coverage, and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions—all while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.
“President Trump started undermining the Affordable Care Act and Americans’ health care from the moment he took office, and he cynically continues to threaten to raise premiums and costs on millions of families as a pretext to do even worse damage to Americans’ health care.”
On Trump’s vows to “Drain the Swamp”:
“President Trump, as a candidate, promised time and time again to “drain the swamp.” In his first 100 days, he has done the opposite. He filled his administration with lobbyists and Goldman Sachs alumni.
“He put forth a “lobbying ban” that doesn’t actually prevent lobbying. We have recently learned that President Trump is issuing waivers to his so-called lobbying ban in secret, and the Trump administration just announced it will not release the White House visitors’ logs. He is not only filling the swamp; he’s getting rid of transparency.
“President Trump’s conflicts of interest cast a dark shadow over his Administration and its policies. While federal investigations examine Trump officials’ sprawling ties to Russian agents, the President has been making surprise concessions to foreign powers where his family or the Trump Organization have pending business concerns. While American workers are forgotten, President Trump has made it possible to take money from his “blind” trust controlled by his sons at any time, and hired his daughter and son-in-law, who maintain Trump business ties, to work in the White House.
“President Trump has continually refused to release his tax returns, so it is impossible to know the extent of his potential conflicts, including any possible ties to Russia.”
And on Trump’s “Broken Promises to American Families, Promises Kept to Wealthiest Few”:
“As a candidate, President Trump made a lot of promises to make life better for working- and middle-class Americans. But when he proposed his first budget, it was clear his priorities are making life better for the wealthiest special interests, not everyday Americans.
“The Trump Administration wants to hurt Americans trying to make a better life for themselves by slashing job training programs, hurt American seniors by cutting Meals on Wheels, hurt American competitiveness by gutting infrastructure funding, and hurt all Americans hoping for cures by harshly decreasing funding for health research.
“His budget demonstrates he prioritizes the bottom lines of huge corporations and the wealthiest Americans over the bottom lines of families trying to put food on the table and send their kids to college.”
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus defended Trump’s early weeks on Sunday, noting that in several respects he is on par with his predecessors.
“This idea about major legislation not being passed within the first 100 days, Barack Obama had a pre-baked stimulus package that started in October of the election year which was passed in February,” Priebus told “Meet the Press.” “It was pre-baked. George Bush didn’t get any major legislation until June; Clinton, August 10th.”
Priebus also noted that “every employee of the West Wing signed an ethics pledge that said you’re not going to lobby for five years after you leave this place, and you’re never going to lobby for a foreign country.”
Although Trump is suffering from poor polling numbers, Democrats aren’t faring much better. Just 28 percent of respondents said the party is in touch with concerns of most Americans — down from 48 percent in 2014. Notably, the biggest drop came among self-identified Democrats, from 83 percent saying they are in touch to just 52 percent today.
Schumer and Pelosi have crossed their own 100-day mark as de facto heads of the Democratic Party, given that Congress formally began its session Jan. 3. The 66-year-old Schumer and 77-year-old Pelosi have served in Congress together since 1987, when he was a Brooklyn-area congressman and she won a special election for her San Francisco seat.