It was these promises and others like them that appealed to some of the strongest backers of the first-time politician.
The Presbyterian who said he doesn't seek forgiveness for his sins won 80 percent of white evangelicals, many of whom were concerned with the progressive direction of America. And Trump attracted 67 percent of the white-working class vote, in part due to their anxieties about immigrants and other cultural changes.
But Trump's effort to repeal Obamacare was a disaster despite pledging to do it quickly after entering the White House.
And shortly after winning the election, Trump said he’s “fine” with same-sex marriage, something nearly 60 percent of white evangelicals still do not support.
Now, after telling his supporters that he would assemble a deportation force in response to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the country, Trump seems to be open to keeping those who arrived in the country as children.
Democrats announced late Wednesday that the president agreed to pursue a legislative deal that would protect thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
After campaigning to overturn former President Barack Obama’s key legacy points, Trump appears now to be making a decision that could help much of them endure — and with the help of Democratic lawmakers.
The foundation on which “Making America Great Again” was built was an appeal to nostalgia and a time where a more homogeneous population made it easier for traditionalists to define what being “a real American” was. Many of those who bought into the spin-off of former president Ronald Reagan's “Let's Make America Great Again” slogan could not have fathomed the day when the black son of a Kenyan father would cover the White House in rainbow lighting to express his support for gay marriage while also championing immigrants who illegally entered the United States.
But times have changed — and perhaps even President Trump is recognizing something that candidate Trump did not acknowledge: that the cultural tide has shifted to the point where completely undoing the Obama legacy would be much harder than giving speeches and sending tweets promising to do so.
Of course, Trump-loving/Obama-bashing voters should not feel completely abandoned; the Trump administration has had some success unraveling some key priorities of the Obama administration.
The United States is no longer a party to the Paris agreement on climate change despised by many of his voters in the Rust Belt. And the Trump administration has reversed efforts by his predecessor to expand civil rights protections for LGBT people and ethnic minorities. The administration has also been accused of being more sensitive to the rights of men — another group that Trump carried in 2016 — in its plan to change the current campus sexual assault enforcement system.
However, back-to-back agreements with Democratic leaders — first on a short-term plan to fund the government and raise its borrowing limit this month and now, apparently, on DACA — have led some among his base to think he is falling short.
“If AP is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” King tweeted, referencing an Associated Press story on the bipartisan agreement.
The motivations for the shift aren't clear. Some have long accused Trump, who previously donated to Democratic campaigns, of not having deep ideological convictions in the first place.
But one motivation could be that Trump, who has been said to care deeply about what others think of him, is sensitive to just how poorly the American public is perceiving his presidency. Trump has the lowest approval rates of anyone to occupy the Oval Office. Just 16 percent of Americans “like” the president's conduct.
Yes, support from his base is stronger than it is among the overall population — about a third of Republicans and those who lean right “like” Trump's conduct. But for a leader who values approval and has been frustrated by his inability to make deals within his own party, perhaps solid marks from his base alone are insufficient.
Some may suggest that Trump could be risking support among his base by working more closely with Democrats on issues that those voting against the Obama legacy don't back.
But for a president who famously said he could “shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters,” losing the support of his base doesn't seem to be a huge concern.
Perhaps the bigger concern for him is delivering on his contention that he's a master dealmaker. And for Trump, in this moment, that may mean making deals with members of the party whose former leader many of his supporters despised deeply.