July 20 was the six-month anniversary of Donald Trump being our 45th President; it’s time to evaluate our president’s actions. This editorial will read more like a point-by-point report card than the typical paragraph-by-paragraph narrative opinion.
Actions worthy of an “A” grade:
Trump’s greatest victory was the nomination and confirmation of strict constructionist justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Of the 22 Cabinet level positions, the Senate only rejected one of Trump’s nominees, Andrew Puzder for Secretary, Department of Labor.
Trump was wise to bring two strategic and experienced military leaders to his cabinet, Gen. Mattis and Gen. McMaster, and turn up the heat against ISIS.
Reducing federal regulations on many red-tape policies will permit all businesses to get down to working instead of filing unnecessary paper work.
Another best for Donald Trump’s presidency occurred while meeting China’s President Xi Jinping when he announced China was not a currency manipulator. The statement proved Trump was willing to pursue the interest of the nation by abandoning a campaign slogan.
Trump also became presidential by moderating his pre-election view on issues like NATO and relationships with key allies.
Incomplete and unknown actions:
It is too early to decide the net result of Trump withdrawing America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, backing away from Paris’s climate change accord, instituting immigration travel restrictions, renegotiating NAFTA and trusting China will be able to control North Korea.
Actions deserving an “F”:
Trump’s unorthodox “so-called judges” declaration, questioning the veracity of USA’s 17 intelligence agencies and calling major news outlets “enemies of the American people” proved he’s not a statesman.
Trump broke 80 of his 663 campaign promises within his first 100 days of office; more promises fall off the table week-by-week.
Promising to repeal and replace Obamacare on the first day of office evolved into a major failure, especially with a Republican controlled Congress. Trump criticizing Republicans and not working in a bipartisan fashion signaled he doesn’t understand the legislative process.
Donald Trump’s promise to provide “the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan” disappointed Americans when he unveiled a two-page tax reform memorandum with no specific details.
Trump’s campaign promise of $1 trillion infrastructure upgrade has fallen into a pothole.
Only 48 of the 564 key government positions (8.5 percent) requiring Senate confirmation have come to fruition. The president cannot deliver on his policy agenda alone; top roles like chief financial officers, general counsel, heads of agencies and ambassadors make Washington, DC work.
President Trump reneged on his most important campaign promise, which was to “drain the swamp.” Instead, the swamp became the sewer, with a combined net worth of $13 billion in his Cabinet, and they came to work with very few skills related to the assigned job.
There are a few other Trump misques, such as … refusing to release his taxes, violating the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses, restricting access to the White House visitors’ log, holding only one press conference, restricting TV camera access at White House press conferences, changing stories regarding Russia’s involvement in the election process, berating members of the Republican’s Freedom Caucus, 991 tweets, 40 rounds of golf versus the promised zero, mysterious 3-5 million illegal voter allegations from the 2016 election, inauguration crowd size “alternative fact,” 112 false statements (New York Times), imploading of the White House staff, pre-emptive White House staff “pardon” talk, disregard of America’s heralded checks and balances system … just to name a few.
Several names haunt Trump’s presidency and speak for themselves: Putin, Bannon, Manafort, Flynn, Comey, Mueller, Kushner and Donald Jr.
Six A’s, five incompletes and 34 F’s equals 0.755 grade point average or D-. With 178 days in-the-books and 1,278 days to go, Trump’s legacy is off to a rocky start. It will only get better. Or, will it?
Steve Corbin is Professor Emeritus of Marketing, University of Northern Iowa, and a 1966 graduate of Nevada High School.