Trump Rushes To Set Record For Broken Promises

[ Posted Thursday, April 13th, 2017 – 17:29 UTC ]

Donald Trump's presidency is fast approaching the "first 100 days" milestone, and he seems to be trying to set his own record during this period -- a record of breaking more campaign promises than any previous president ever has during his first 100 days. This week brought on a flurry of flip-flops, perhaps signaling that in the remaining two weeks or so Trump will be trying to outdo himself in the broken promises category.

The news media has watched all this with bemusement, mostly because a lot of the promises Trump is now breaking were pretty inane to begin with (and even that's being charitable). Knee-jerk campaign slogans don't translate well into actual policies, Trump is figuring out. America may be better off for this self-realization, which is why the media is so bemused by it all.

But you have to wonder what Trump's supporters are thinking. Will there ever be a broken promise too many for them? Will their support fade as the broken Trump promises pile up? It remains to be seen. The rumor-mill is currently speculating that Steve Bannon may not last much longer in the White House, and if he leaves he could direct Breitbart to openly wage rhetorical war on all things Trump. That might do it.

For now, though, even keeping up with the flip-flops is pretty exhausting, because there are so many of them, and the rate of flip-floppitude even seems to be increasing. In the past few days alone, Trump has changed his mind on a whole host of issues, now taking a position roughly opposite from his campaign rhetoric. Trump warned Barack Obama not to get involved in Syria, not to launch airstrikes in retaliation for chemical weapons use, and if he was going to strike to get congressional approval before doing so. President Trump ignored all of his own advice. Trump used to beat up on NATO while campaigning, but now says the alliance is wonderful. He promised to label China a currency manipulator on "Day One" of his administration, but he just refused to do so, on Day Eight-Four. Even last week Trump was calling China the "world champion" of currency manipulators, but now says they aren't manipulating their currency at all. Trump had an incredibly simplistic view of China and North Korea, but after meeting with the Chinese leader, said: "After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it's not so easy. I felt pretty strongly that [China] had a tremendous power [over North Korea], but it's not what you would think." Russia was going to be an American ally, but now relations with them are "at the worst point since the Cold War."

On the economic front, Trump is flipping and flopping like crazy as well. Janet Yellen is no longer some sort of Hillary-loving Democratic stooge, and Trump might just name her to another term at the Fed. Low interest rates were an evil plot when he campaigned, but now he thinks they're great for America. The Export-Import Bank was also a bad idea, up until this week's reversal. Trump also quietly lifted his federal hiring freeze this week, which didn't get much attention outside the Beltway.

All of those changes came in the past couple of days. From Trump's raid on an airfield in Syria until today, Trump has been breaking campaign promises at lightning speed. His director of the Office of Management and Budget even came out and admitted that Trump is simply not going to be able to make good on one of his bigger campaign whoppers, that he'd pay off the national debt in his first term in office: "It's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole. I'm not going to be able to pay off $20 trillion worth of debt in four years. I'd be being dishonest with you if I said that I could." The obvious conclusion: Trump was being dishonest with the voters when he promised to do exactly that.

There are a whole host of issues that Trump promised would be taken care of lickety-split that have not yet gotten off the ground in any noticeable way. There has been no jobs bill or White House jobs plan at all. There is no infrastructure bill, despite all those repeated promises to "rebuild the country." There are no new trade agreements, even though the master of dealmaking was going to hammer them out in the blink of an eye. The swamp of Washington has not been drained, it has in fact gotten even swampier with all the Wall Street icons now serving in Trump's administration. Oh, and Hillary Clinton still roams free instead of being locked up.

Of course, Trump has made good on some of his promises, or at least made the attempt (and failed). He's still pushing to get his border wall built. Jeff Sessions seems happy to ramp up the "deportation force" Trump promised. The Environmental Protection Agency has been put on its own endangered species list. Many of Obama's last-minute improvements to Americans' lives are being overturned, even when doing so is wildly unpopular (where were all those campaign rally signs demanding "Please sell my browsing history!" one has to wonder). Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership as he promised he'd do. He tried -- twice! -- to roll out his Muslim ban, but the courts have so far shut Trump down. Trump's magic healthcare plan that would make life wonderful for all (with unicorns!) never appeared, but he threw his weight behind Ryancare, which then promptly went down in flames.

Still, the sheer amount of broken promises (especially this week) overwhelms the ones Trump has either kept (or at least tried to keep, halfheartedly or not). It remains to be seen, however, how much any of this will mean in the long run. A lot of these broken promises deal with fairly esoteric issues that average Trump voters don't really care that much about. "Kill the Ex-Im Bank" or "remove Janet Yellen" are not exactly rallying cries that drive voters to the polls in huge numbers. Orwellian Ministry-of-Truth-style announcements on certain subjects ("NATO now doubleplusgood, Russia now doubleplusungood!") are of dubious political importance in the real world. A bigger problem for Trump is that he doesn't have much of a record of accomplishment to stack up next to all of his failures, disappointments, and outright flip-flops. So far, can even Trump supporters come up with anything major Trump has managed to get done beyond getting a nominee onto the Supreme Court? Other than that, there's not a lot to point to. Trump gave a surprisingly calm speech to Congress, but while a notable achievement for him this used to be the bare minimum expected of any president, so it's really not that much of an accomplishment in the grand scheme of things.

Whether any of it matters still remains to be seen, though. Despite a small tick upwards of a few points, Trump's public job approval rating is on track to be the lowest ever recorded after 100 days in office. But, so far, he seems to have a floor of about 40 percent support, which he hasn't fallen below. If Trump's numbers ever dive down into the 30s, that will be the point when he starts really losing his base of support. So far -- even with all the broken promises and flip-flops -- this group still seems to support Trump (just for being Trump, essentially). Trump is still in there kicking ass and naming names, to them, and it doesn't particularly matter whose ass is being kicked or what names are being named. This "details are for wimps" attitude has worked well enough for Trump so far, but one has to wonder if there is a shortlist of Trump campaign promises which are non-negotiable to them. If Trump announced a new border policy that anyone caught by the Border Patrol sneaking in would be given a voucher for a one-week stay at a Trump hotel, that might be a step too far for his base. Or, perhaps, if Trump did some "extreme vetting" of Steve Bannon? Kidding aside, though, will any broken Trump promise actually cause his base support to dwindle? He seems to be trying to break as many of his campaign promises as possible in his final few weeks of his first 100 days, so perhaps we're about to find out.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


18 Comments on “Trump Rushes To Set Record For Broken Promises”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    The Chinese Currency thing is almost funny if it weren't so pathetic.

    Since he's been busy firing career diplomats right and left it turns out he didn't have people that really knew squat about China or their trade policies so he figures he'll "wing it". The Chinese arrive with a crack team of people, take Trumpy's measure and within MINUTES 45 has decided that whole currency manipulation thingy was bunk. They played him like an LP.

    They have to have been laughing all the way home.

    The Orange-base won't care about that. Their main concerns are the personally nasty stuff involving hurting POC, women and Muslims. They want blood there, but all this esoteric stuff? Won't move the needle.

    Now, when 45 stumbles into a mess on Social Security, they'll care. And if he bumbles into another ACA effort, they'll care.

    But China making a laughingstock out of him? FOX won't cover it so they won't even know.

  2. [2] 
    neilm wrote:

    You mean the Chinese played 45 like a 33?

    I think you credit him with too much content. He is at best a single. They played 45 like a 45 :)

  3. [3] 
    Paula wrote:

    [2] 45 like a 45: better!

  4. [4] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Oh come on guys .... Given that rump is trying to take us back to the good old days....

    Wouldn't it be more like 45 got played like a 78?

    Although 45 like a 45 has a good ring to it...

  5. [5] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    Honestly, I do not see how anyone is surprised that trump is not labeling China a currency manipulator.

    All one has to do is look at the money trail, 650 million owed to the state bank of China, and the approval to allow the trump trademark into China, worth ????.

    One cannot expect to leach money off of buildings that want to use your name if you are engaged in a trade war or for that matter calling the government, that issued you the loan, a currency manipulator.

    If you follow the money, it becomes crystal clear why the conversation only took 10 minutes.

  6. [6] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey gang

    This Theodore Postol guy seems to be getting mentioned a lot in the Syria debate.

    Here is what he put out.

    If the close up pictures of the crater are accurate, it does indeed raise questions.

    Mull it over.
    I should be back Tuesday.


  7. [7] 
    altohone wrote:

    from comment 42 No Trump tax returns

    "Here is a link for you. The U.S. is calling it "likely intentional misinformation" from Syria, and Russia wouldn't back up Syria's claim."

    That isn't the link for the story I mentioned obviously.
    After a request, the link was provided... from Zerohedge.
    In other words, not credible as noted in the link you provided.
    No wonder a link wasn't provided initially.

    If the incident did happen, I'm sure a credible source will report on it.

    Even though my comment started with "supposedly", I still feel bad for commenting before the source was provided.
    Sorry about that... I know better.

    I really, truly and finally am outta here.


  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    we all knew donald was a noob who had never governed anything before. the question now is whether this crash course in foreign and domestic policy will spur him to become some sort of leader. either the man will respond to reality by charting a course forward, or he'll remain a tool of whichever adviser has his attention at any given moment. based on the administration's response to the chemical attack in syria, i'm guessing that's currently h.r. mcmaster, which i consider to be a positive development. there are so few competent individuals in this administration, so it would be nice if those are the ones who keep the president's ear.


  9. [9] 
    neilm wrote:

    McMaster is one of the few sane ones - the rest are delusional about their amazingness.

    Let's hope he stays in favor of the clown-in-chief.

  10. [10] 
    neilm wrote:

    Re: Theodore Postol

    The article contains a lot of "clearly indicates that the munitions was ... etc." with a lot of analysis about tube crushing mechanisms. Are there any other experts who agree with Postol?

    Quite a claim!

  11. [11] 
    DecayedOldBritishLiberal wrote:

    Thanks, Chris. ROFLMAO in spades redoubled. An absolute hoot. And all you did was unemotionally (God, you must have had to work hard there!) and objectively enumerate the pluses and minuses and the immediate prospects.

    And this where we are! Satire is dead; it can't compete with self-satirising reality[1]. But we knew that long ago when Tom Lehrer pointed it out just after Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    [1] And reality is a mere hallucination caused by alcohol deprivation.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:


    "Bannon may not last much longer in the White House"

    The above triggered memories of the cartoon series Jonny Quest from the 1960s and some amusing parallels with the Trump 1st 100 days.

    Roger T. "Race" Bannon was one of four major JQ characters, he was an intelligence agent, pilot and action packed nanny among other things. Reruns of "Race" and the rest of the show were pulled off the air for racist sterotypes and a propensity for lethal violence in the 1970s. (It returned in the 80s in highly redacted form).

    Fast forward to 2017, and former Trump nanny Steve K. "Racist" Bannon looks to be circling the drain, although it's unlikely racism or violence have anything to do with this.

    To his credit, the '60s "Race" Bannon fought AGAINST Nazis.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    For confused reporters, I'll explain it very simply: Trump voters don't care about most of the issues Trump claimed to care about in the campaign. They were just applause lines. If Fox and Breitbart had spent 3 months going on about the "Zipperhead Protocol" they'd have screamed in delight every time Trump mentioned it, without caring what it meant. A lot in America is fucked up and bullshit, so Trump supporters have legitimate economic grievances like the rest of us, but they don't really see politics as a way to solve that. They see politics as a reality show in which their guy is winning and stomping on the face of the losing team, a team which includes blah people. Keep the racism going, keep pissing off the loser liberals, keep sticking it to the blah people. That's what will keep them happy. It was never about the ex-im bank or Chinese currency manipulation or whatever the hell, it was about kicking the shit out of loser liberals. Go Team Trump!

    I think that sums it up.

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    Meanwhile, the GOP that 45 ushered into to power continues its efforts to give more to the 1%:

    According to the Tax Policy Center (TPC), in the first year of Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” tax plan, released in 2016, fully 76 percent of the benefits would go to the top 1 percent. A narrow slice of that group, the top 0.1 percent, would get about 47 percent of the plan’s total benefits, more than double the bottom 99 percent of households combined. The tax plan even manages to get considerably more regressive over time—by 2025 the top 1 percent would get 99.6 percent of the benefits.

    In practice, this means that in 2017 households making more than about $700,000 would get an average tax cut of around $200,000. And households making more than $3.7 million would get an average tax cut of $1.2 million. The rest of us don’t fare as well as the rich. Households making less than $25,000 would get only $50 on average. In fact, of the income groupings analyzed by TPC, none of groups within the bottom 95 percent (which covers everyone making less than about $292,000) would see an average tax cut larger than $410.

    So how's that Orange-populism going?

  15. [15] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    As Michale has failed to post anything for this article, allow me to go ahead and get the usual comments out of the way:

    "Obama broke promises."

    "Why didn't you make Obama keep his word since you think Trump has to?"

    "You only expect Trump to do what he says because he has an "(R)" after his name!"

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Was that really necessary?

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    First off, I don't think Trump sees it as broken promises. Rather, it's more like pivoting to changed circumstances. Of course, it matters not if circumstances haven't changed.

    What it all amounts to is just more distraction from two big problems ... the fact that Trump is wholly unprepared for and apparently uninterested in learning about the array of issues that cross the Resolute desk in the oval office, number one; and, number two, the low-simmering-perhaps-soon-to-furiously-bubble-over investigations into Russian connections to the Trump campaign, transition and early presidency.

    I'm starting to get the distinct feeling that the lid is about to blow off ...

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
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