The professional reputation of great salesmen is to under-promise and over-deliver. Trump’s reputation to date is quite the opposite. He has over-promised and under-delivered.
A comparison can now be made on the substance and deliverables of Obama’s and Trump’s First 100 Days. Obama delivered a lot and Trump very little. From a leadership and government scorecard, Trump is far behind Obama’s record.
Obama moved swiftly from candidate to legislator. Trump has not yet made a successful transition from campaigning to governing. From promising to delivering. From tweeting to law-making. Trump’s record is still seen as a talker but not yet a doer.
Even as a self-proclaimed ‘Master Salesman’ he has not yet delivered even half of what he promised.
As evidence, senior national correspondent at Time magazine, Michael Grunwald lists the following (April 26, 2017):
· Trump seemed to think he could snap his fingers and reverse the Obama era, but so far, he has gotten very little done.
· His travel ban was blocked in court, so he revised it, but the revised version was blocked as well.
· The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare crashed and burned.
· Trump pledged to undo Obama’s Wall Street reforms, carbon regulations and tax hikes on the rich, but they’re all still in place.
· He hasn’t pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, reversed Obama’s opening to Cuba, scuttled Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, or moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, either.
· Not only has he failed to persuade Mexico to pay for his border wall, he’s failed to persuade Congress to pay for it.
· His entire budget was declared dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, and there’s still no sign of his trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.
· He’s signed a lot of executive orders, but most of them were glorified memos, signaling policy desires without forcing policy changes.
· He did sign bills blocking 13 out of more than 20,000 Obama-era regulations from taking effect, but they merely preserved a small slice of the status quo, and he hasn’t signed any other substantive legislation.
· Of course, getting a conservative on the high court was a victory that produced real change; Gorsuch could swing U.S. jurisprudence to the right for decades.
· Trump also formally pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal—although Congress hadn’t ratified it, and wasn’t going to ratify it.
· In general, the story of his first 100 days has been a words story, not a deeds story, an embarrassing contrast to Obama’s action-packed early presidency.
· The president has promised to scrap Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulating carbon and other EPA restrictions on electric plants, ease fuel efficiency mandates for automakers, abandon the Paris climate deal and bring coal mining back to life. He hasn’t done any of those things yet.
· He’s gotten a lot of press for signing executive orders proclaiming his desire to do many of them, but that’s not the same thing.
· The domestic policy area where Trump is having the biggest impact is immigration enforcement, because it’s the area where he has the most discretion.
· He hasn’t changed any laws or built any walls, but he has sent a powerful message that undocumented immigrants are no longer welcome here, and he has ended the Obama administration’s policy of leaving noncriminal aliens alone.
· His tougher approach has produced instant results: The Border Patrol said its arrests at the southern border were down 67 percent in March, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests of noncriminal aliens inside the U.S. have more than doubled.
· America’s undocumented population—which remained steady around 11 million during the Obama years, despite Trump’s claims of an overwhelming surge—seems likely to shrink significantly under Trump, through voluntary and involuntary removals. This is obviously a promise kept.
· At the same time, Trump’s Fortress America attitude is sending a stay-away message to the world. Tourism officials have reported a distinct “Trump Slump” as foreign bookings decline, with Travel Weekly estimating a drop of 6.8 percent.
· The slow-rolling scandal over Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election is clearly a threat to the Trump agenda and the Trump presidency, but it’s pretty complicated to follow.
· The Trump campaign’s connections to Russia have the makings of a Watergate-style nightmare, but Trump’s allegations about Obama, if true, would also be a Watergate-style nightmare. It’s just that there’s no evidence for Trump’s charges, while the Russia revelations continue to drip, drip, drip.
· Trump’s connections to Russia are still shrouded in mystery, but he did publicly call for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, he was bizarrely solicitous of Vladimir Putin on the trail, and wide-ranging investigations are never good news for a president. The fate of his White House could depend on the results, and this story will be a major headache for him until the results are in.
· He has already broken his populist promises to fight cuts to Medicaid, stay out of the Syria conflict, and declare China a currency manipulator.
· Trump is obviously a successful man with a flair for communication and self-promotion. He resurrected his business career after bankruptcies; he stunned the political world by winning the presidency. He’s often underestimated.
· Still, it must be said: He seems totally clueless about Washington. He always said he would rely on his common sense and his instincts rather than briefing books and study. But he did claim he was a master negotiator, and so far the author of The Art of the Deal has shown no feel whatsoever for the art of the Washington deal.
· He summoned the House Freedom Caucus to the Oval Office to try to muscle them into supporting his health care bill, to no avail; he also threatened them on Twitter with primary challenges, to no avail.
· He’s been just as ham-handed with Democrats on health care, infrastructure and the budget; he noisily demanded that they fund his border wall, but when they refused, he backed down.
· His assumption that he could easily bully Mexico into paying for the wall looks wrong, too. He hasn’t made an actual deal yet on anything.
· He never seems to recognize how much leverage he has or doesn’t have, or what his negotiating partners might want or need. He just blurts out what he thinks should happen and then distributes the blame when it doesn’t happen.
· The usual Washington solution to this kind of Washington problem is to bring in a “Washington hand,” a fixer who can help the president get things done. But Trump sees himself as his own fixer, working the phones, cutting the deals. It’s just not clear whether his particular set of fixing skills can work in D.C.
Strange but true …
· Yes, the Trump administration really did hire a massage therapist with no energy experience to run a major office at the Energy Department, and yes, the guy really was fired for calling Muslims “scum sucking maggots of the world” on Twitter.
· Yes, the president attacked Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s clothing line.
· Yes, the Chinese government approved 35 of his trademarks almost immediately after he agreed to respect its One China policy.
· Yes, he had Sarah Palin, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent to dinner at the White House, and yes, he quasi-endorsed a quasi-fascist in the French election.
· The Trump presidency often feels like reality TV. But it’s reality. His current showdown with North Korea is a real showdown.
· His painfully awkward meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a real meeting.
· His news conference where he claimed his Electoral College victory was the largest since Reagan’s—it was actually the second-smallest was a real news conference.
· He swiftly built his candidacy around a vision of America that simply wasn’t real. Unemployment was falling, not soaring; crime was near a 45-year low, not a 45-year high; illegal immigration was not surging at all. But Trump had tremendous success with his alternative facts, and made it clear that he’d continue to deploy them in the White House. He’ll decide what’s fake news, not the fact-checkers.
· Reality has also intruded on his foreign policy promises about swiftly crushing ISIS and showing China who’s boss; actual war and diplomacy has turned out to be much harder than theoretical war and diplomacy.
· This is why Trump has gotten so little done, and why he’s breaking unpopularity records for new presidents.
· For now, though, only 2 percent of Trump’s voters say they regret their vote. They still trust Trump’s alternative facts more than reported facts.
· It’s anyone’s bet how that will turn out in the end.