As Saturday marks the 100th day of his presidency, is President Donald Trump's White House exhibiting a vibrant presidency or a final burst of energy to replace the absence of the passage of any significant legislation? An article in The Hill on Saturday suggested the question was up for debate.
The first 100 days, however significant or not, has seen the president ramp up the activity, perhaps to "generate momentum" for his agenda, The Hill reported, though casting doubts that it would automatically have that effect.
The final weeks of the 100-day marker have included a host of executive orders, interviews Trump conducted with major publications, White House aides meeting with small groups of reporters and factsheets listing the president's accomplishments to date. Saturday will culminate with a campaign-style rally the president will hold in Harrisburg, Penn.
Since taking office, Trump has passed 13 measures reversing regulations enacted by former President Barack Obama and also succeeded in getting Congress to approve Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus emphasized to reporters this week the 28 pieces of legislation Trump has signed, though the article noted that "most were small-scale measures that appoint personnel or modify existing programs."
"I think the narrative that somehow or another a signature piece of legislation must be brought out of the House and Senate is a ridiculous standard," Priebus said.
A massive tax cut proposal announced on Wednesday is likely to dominate the next 100 days, the article predicted, following a failed push by Republicans last week to coalesce around changes to healthcare legislation.
Trump, ever aware of his image, has downplayed the significance of a president's first 100 days, tweeting earlier this month that it was a "ridiculous standard," even while The Hill noted "he reportedly exerted heavy pressure on his staff to show progress ahead of the milestone."
"I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this. It's a false standard, 100 days, but I have to tell you, I don't think anybody has done what we we've been able to do in 100 days. So we’re very happy," Trump said Friday.
Trump and his aides perhaps also tried to set their sights on accomplishing too much just as the president was settling into the job. The president, in an interview with Reuters Thursday, expressed how he thought the job of president would be "easier."
"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump said. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."
Each executive action Trump signed this week — from assistance to farmers and ranchers, an overhaul of education guidelines, protections for VA whistleblowers, and reviews of oil and gas lands closed to development — included a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, the article explained.
In addition, Trump held a closed-door meeting with senators at the White House to brief them on events surrounding the threat posed by North Korea over their missile weapons program, with personal follow ups by the president.
"I know there’s narratives out there that say otherwise, but we look at it and see a president who is working at breakneck speed and somebody who is doing, as fast as he can, in the confines of the law, running through that punch list of promises that he made during the campaign," Priebus said.
Presidential historian Brandon Rottinghaus explained early legislative achievements were generally the exception rather than the rule for a new president.
"The White House looks a little desperate in trying to push all these policies," Rottinghaus said. "It all looks like they are grasping for some kind of victory while trying to tamp down expectations that there should be a victory."
Trump is attempting to balance achievements while keeping an eye on his approval ratings, which currently hover in the low to mid 40 percent range in the various polls. His supporters remain steadfast, however, with an ABC poll a week ago reporting that 96 percent of those who supported the president in November still do.
Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state and member of Trump's transition team, compared the first 100 days to boot camp, calling him a "classic overloader" who was "preparing in a way folks would prepare to go to battle to get things done," The Hill reported.
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