From the outside looking in, it seems pretty unfair to judge the leader of the free world based on just 100 days in office. But the truth is, 100 days is actually a pretty reasonable benchmark for success.
That’s because presidents are historically at their most popular within their first few months on the job, which makes it way easier to get legislation passed, deliver on key campaign promises and solidify their legacies.
So the theory goes.
But 100 days in, and the most unpopular president since approval ratings began has only delivered on six of his staggering 103 campaign promises. And for a populist demagogue like Donald Trump, a success rate like that is a huge, rusty nail in the coffin.
After all, the guy’s unlikely rise to power was built solely upon this false impression that he’s a man of the people. He promised grassroots conservatives the moon and the stars in exchange for their loyalty – and now that it’s time to pay up, that strong, orange alpha male they elected is turning out to be a feckless lame duck.
It’s like the guy isn’t even trying.
Remember when Donald Trump told us he would repeal and replace Obamacare within an hour of his inauguration? America’s top deal-maker couldn’t even get his own party to back the move, and a non-caring Trump simply packed up his toys and went home.
And what about that whole “America first” doctrine? Trump told voters he wouldn’t get involved in messy foreign wars like his predecessors did, and that his sole interest was to rebuild American infrastructure. Fast forward three months, and he’s pounding Syria and Afghanistan with cruise missiles and threatening to wipe North Korea off the face of the earth.
Then there was that big how-to-do about erecting the most “beautiful” wall the world had ever seen along America’s border with Mexico. Trump assured the American people they wouldn’t pay a dime for it, and that the Mexican government would bankroll the entire project. Believe it or not, Mexico has since refused to fork out the funds – and now the White House is floating a tax increase of $120 per household so that Americans can pay for the $15bn wall.
Let’s not forget that pledge to “drain the swamp”, either. Trump told Republicans he would get rid of corruption and nepotism in Washington, and eradicate all traces of elitism. Instead, he carted in seedy Wall Street executives, Bush-era minions and his over-privileged children to create the richest presidential cabinet in US history.
There have been pettier lies, too.
One of Trump’s most popular campaign promises was that he’d lock up Hillary Clinton and stick her in jail for all those imaginary email laws she broke. Within hours of winning the election, Trump backed away from the claim. Instead of putting Clinton in jail, he invited her to his inauguration. The ultra-right wing Brietbart News certainly chalked that one up as a “broken promise”.
Trump also swore to conservatives he wouldn’t take any vacations as president. But so far, he’s spent about 30 percent of his time in office travelling back and forth between the White House and his gaudy private club in Florida. In his first month alone, Trump and his family spent $11.3m on holidays.
You get the idea.
The guy has completely p***ed away what should have been the most crucial and productive part of his presidency, and his own supporters are getting fed up. Conservative support for the president has already taken a nosedive, and at this point, the damage looks irreparable. After all, what the hell is a populist leader supposed to do if he's not got any popularity to play around with?
If a president’s first 100 days are supposed to be his best, Donald Trump had better strap himself in – because the next 1,360 days are going to be like pulling teeth.