“I will be the greatest ‘jobs president’ that God ever created.” This was among many of the enthusiastic promises given during the 2016 presidential election campaign by then-candidate President Trump. These promises varied from a 30-foot wall along the Mexican border (to be graciously paid for by Mexico), to a full repeal Obamacare, to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. It has been a turbulent first year in the presidency for Donald Trump, but how has he done keeping up with these promises? Let’s take a look at President Trump’s progress with five of his biggest campaign promises.
“Lock Her Up”
The 2016 presidential campaign was plagued by a negativity never before seen in my living memory, in the form of vicious attack ads and contemptuous debates. This, in part, could be thanks to the skeletons that came pouring out of each candidate’s closet over the course of the campaign. Just as the Clinton campaign magnified Trump’s shortcomings, the Trump campaign milked Hillary Clinton’s email scandal for every vote it was worth. Chants of “Lock her up!” were not a rare occurrence at Trump rallies. Trump made his intentions perfectly clear during a presidential debate when he said, “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”
Alas, no such prosecutor has been hired. President Trump’s tone changed almost immediately following his November 7th victory. The woman he had previously referred to as a “nasty woman,” was now owed a “debt of gratitude” by the country.
Supreme Court Nominee
Millions of Republicans who may not have liked Donald Trump found themselves filling out a ballot for one major reason, the fact that the next president would put forth a Supreme Court nominee. The winner of the election was to be the one who would choose the replacement for Justice Scalia, who had passed away. It was very important for Republicans to be able to guarantee a conservative spot in the Supreme Court. President Trump promised to appoint a conservative judge should he be elected. This is one promise that the president was able to keep, by appointing Neil Gorsuch the month that he was sworn into office.
Repealing and replacing Obamacare has been at the top of the Republican agenda for years. It was arguably the largest focus of the Trump campaign. When Donald Trump won the presidency and Republicans won the majority in the House and Senate, it seemed like the Republicans were finally going to get their wish. In the past year, however, Republicans have failed in their numerous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
However, President Trump has been able to take some shots at Obamacare to weaken it. The Affordable Care Act mandates that every American buy health insurance or pay a penalty. The New York Times outlined one way for the administration to circumvent Obamacare’s mandates. “While Mr. Trump cannot eliminate the mandate, as Republicans in Congress sought to do, the Internal Revenue Service has said it will continue accepting tax returns that do not say whether a filer has been uninsured, weakening its enforcement of the provision.” The administration is allowing these tax returns. They can also allow for more exceptions, making it possible for people to avoid a penalty should they opt out of health care insurance. This, among other strategies, could cripple the Obama-era program, even if they can’t pull off a full repeal. While repealing Obamacare may have proven a daunting task for the administration, the President plans to “let Obamacare fail”.
Build That Wall
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”
Mexico maintains that it will not fund any border wall and the president seems to have conceded that the United States will have to, at least initially, pay for the wall.
According to B.B.C., “The U.S. Congress is exploring funding options for the wall, but many Republicans will be unhappy about footing a bill which could rise to $21.5bn (£17.2bn), according to a Department of Homeland Security internal report.” The project is more expensive than previously expected. Republicans are hesitant to put so much money into the project. While this was one of the biggest promises the president campaigned on, it remains to be seen if he will get his wall. It is surely too much to hope for in his first year.
It has been a difficult year for the Trump administration. It has been difficult for the president to keep many of the promises so fundamental to his campaign. Finally, nearing the end of his first year in office, President Trump may finally have his first big victory.
The president promised tax cuts for everyone. The most significant tax overhaul in 30 years just passed in the Senate, and the president hopes to sign the bill into law by Christmas. Republicans believe that the package, which provides major tax cuts, particularly to businesses and higher-income Americans, will benefit all Americans and boost the economy. With the Trump administration having unsuccessfully spent much of the year trying to repeal Obamacare, this fulfilled promise comes at the perfect time to serve as a big win for the administration.
The president’s promises throughout the campaign weren’t only limited to this list. While President Trump has arguably had the most tumultuous first year in the presidency of any recent president, it hasn’t been without its triumphs. The tax overhaul is not the only positive indication for the president. According to C.N.N., “unemployment is at a 16-year low of 4.2 percent, and wages might finally be starting to rise meaningfully.” The economy seems to be moving in a positive direction, which is good indicator for the administration and hopefully a sign for fulfilled promises to come.
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