And so, the first one hundred days have passed. The world hasn’t ended, (although it’s a little bit closer to it) the economy has trundled along, and the wall still remains a twinkle in Donald’s eye. That’s not to say it’s been uneventful. 78 executive orders, a failed attempt at replacing Obamacare, not to mention the failed immigrant ban, along with a missile strike on a Syrian airbase and an ongoing feud of world altering importance with a defiant Kim Jong Un.
As presidents go, in-between the golf and the chocolate cake, he’s been busy. But what can we take from his actions, if we can take anything? Is President Trump stronger or weaker than when he first took office? Will he follow through on even his most controversial promises? The answers to the questions above, like Trump’s own motives, are typically unclear.
President Trump has roughly 90 per cent of his first term still ahead of him, and if we can take anything from his actions, it’s that we can’t. On domestic policy, Trump has roughly followed the plan he laid out in his campaign. He’s attempted the immigrant ban, reshuffled the EPA and expanded mining jobs, abandoned the TPP trade deal, and of course attempted to repeal Obamacare.
This was all predictable enough. But if we turn to focus on his foreign policy, supposedly non-interventionist Trump has performed a total 360 degree turn. Despite accusations of Russian puppeteering, he’s bolstered NATO, attacked the Syrian regime, and abandoned the policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea. Even China, whom he repeatedly attacked as a harbinger of America’s fall from grace on the campaign trail, has now found a somewhat open White House. Is this the Donald’s world famous deal-making transposed to world politics?
This swift turn around in Trump’s foreign policies might also be leaking into the domestic sphere. With Steven Mnuchin, an ex-Goldman Sachs executive as the new Treasury Secretary, don’t expect to see any radical changes in the White House’s treatment of the economy.
The President, by his own standards, went as deep into the swamp as he could possibly go. Trump’s changing attitudes are perhaps a result of the huge problems he now faces. He admits that being President was a lot harder than he expected, and that’s with Republican control of both the house and the senate. As he’s failed to place any funds for the infamous wall in his budget, repeal Obamacare, or pass the immigrant ban in this crucial period, not only has he caused some concern among his voters, but he’s condemned his policies to failure. Come 2018’s elections, if we see a Democrat comeback, which was the case following Bush’s election in 2004, it is extremely difficult to see any of Trump’s policies gaining any traction at all. And he knows it.
The truth is, the biggest event to occur in the first one hundred days also gained the least recognition: the relatively quiet fall of Trump advisor Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart editor was one of the most radical components in the Trump White House, but now with the ascension of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, be prepared for a more centrist approach. It’s already happening. The NAFTA trade deal, which the President called “one of the worst deals ever” is now being “renegotiated” instead of simply scrapped.
Trump looked deep into the swamp, tried his luck without it, and found himself hated with few achievements. Now he’s ready to make a deal.