‘A big, fat failing grade’ — the media, or Trump?

EDITORIAL

Reaching the end of their first 100 days is seen as a benchmark for United States presidents, and Donald Trump has found himself looking at more minuses than pluses on his report card.

Probably the biggest was his failure to repeal and replace, as promised, the medical insurance programme installed by his predecessor. What would hurt most was that the defeat was due to fellow Republicans in Congress.

Then there were the court rulings that overturned executive orders he made to ban entry to the United States from citizens of some majority Muslim countries.

There is also no sign of the highly controversial wall on the Mexican border — a key promise in his campaign, although he still says that will go ahead.

After 100 days he finds himself with an approval rating of 43 percent, the lowest for any president at this stage since 1953 (he entered office with a record-low approval rating of 45 percent).

Not that Trump is put off. With characteristic bluster he told a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania “. . . the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history”. Trump told a crowd roaring approval that he had stopped jobs leaving America, eased environmental regulations on energy exploration, and got out of deals he felt were not beneficial to America such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Environmentalists would have felt the hairs on their neck tingle when he said there would be a big decision about the Paris Climate Agreement in the next two weeks.

The US media came in for some cane. Skipping the Washington Correspondents’ dinner — the first president to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1981, as he recovered in hospital from being shot in a failed assassination attempt — Trump said the media deserved “a big, fat failing grade” for its coverage of the 100 days.

One thing that most agree on is that Trump has so far changed the presidency much more than it has changed him, as tended to happen in the past. Decisions like appointing family members and refusing to release his tax returns have little precedent. He remains the most unpredictable president of modern times.

Reaching the end of their first 100 days is seen as a benchmark for United States presidents, and Donald Trump has found himself looking at more minuses than pluses on his report card.

Probably the biggest was his failure to repeal and replace, as promised, the medical insurance programme installed by his predecessor. What would hurt most was that the defeat was due to fellow Republicans in Congress.

Then there were the court rulings that overturned executive orders he made to ban entry to the United States from citizens of some majority Muslim countries.

There is also no sign of the highly controversial wall on the Mexican border — a key promise in his campaign, although he still says that will go ahead.

After 100 days he finds himself with an approval rating of 43 percent, the lowest for any president at this stage since 1953 (he entered office with a record-low approval rating of 45 percent).

Not that Trump is put off. With characteristic bluster he told a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania “. . . the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history”. Trump told a crowd roaring approval that he had stopped jobs leaving America, eased environmental regulations on energy exploration, and got out of deals he felt were not beneficial to America such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Environmentalists would have felt the hairs on their neck tingle when he said there would be a big decision about the Paris Climate Agreement in the next two weeks.

The US media came in for some cane. Skipping the Washington Correspondents’ dinner — the first president to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1981, as he recovered in hospital from being shot in a failed assassination attempt — Trump said the media deserved “a big, fat failing grade” for its coverage of the 100 days.

One thing that most agree on is that Trump has so far changed the presidency much more than it has changed him, as tended to happen in the past. Decisions like appointing family members and refusing to release his tax returns have little precedent. He remains the most unpredictable president of modern times.

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