President Donald Trump has been in office less than one week, but he has done enough to receive his first Report Card. Some of his actions reflect campaign promises, while others are standard operating procedure for an incoming president. He has shown that his adversarial relationship with the press, a consistent feature of his presidential campaign, seems likely to continue while he is in office.
With Trump, there is no middle ground. We will grade his early performance. For ten actions, he has earned an “A,” while on two others, he has earned an “F.” So here’s his first Report Card, just a few days into his term.
Where President Trump Has Earned an “A”
1. Worked on getting his Cabinet confirmed
Trump is moving forward with installing his Cabinet. On Friday, he signed a waiver to allow Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of defense. Then he signed executive orders to formally nominate his candidates for the heads of various federal departments.
2. Advanced the pro-life cause
By reinstating the “Mexico City Policy,” Trump prevented the federal government from providing funds to foreign organizations that provide abortions.
3. Issued executive order on Obamacare
While he cannot undo Obamacare with the stroke of his pen, the new president signed an executive order demonstrating his commitment to rolling back the law. His order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to minimize the financial burden of Obamacare on citizens.
4. Ended involvement in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership
With the stroke of a pen, Trump ended negotiations, which President Obama had failed to get through Congress anyway.
5. Ended regulations and implemented a hiring freeze
In an expected move, Trump issued an executive order Friday night, telling all agencies and departments in the executive branch to freeze any pending regulations. Then he froze all new federal funding.
6. Made nice with the CIA
In a speech in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall, Trump downplayed his prior criticism of the intelligence community. He said he would aggressively support the CIA.
7. Reversed a planned cut on mortgage insurance
Trump signed an order that repeals the cut for mortgage insurance that had targeted many first-time home buyers.
8. Moved forward on the Keystone Pipeline
The president has announced his intent to bring the pipeline into reality. This affects Dakota access and lays the groundwork for the XL pipeline to go forward.
9. Spoke with Benjamin Netanyahu
Mr. Trump called the Israeli Prime Minister by phone. In so doing, he sought to improve relations between the two countries and signaled his support to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
10. Worked really long and really hard
The new president worked all day Saturday and Sunday. He is sending a clear message to Congress – it’s okay to work weekends. Do what is necessary to get the work done.
Where President Trump Has Earned an “F”
1. Fixation on inauguration crowd
Trump sent press secretary Sean Spicer out to celebrate his “largest crowd ever to see an inauguration.” When that was proven false, the message changed to “the largest audience to view an inauguration.” Predictably, the mainstream media made this their sole focus on Sunday’s shows. While they are certainly to blame for ignoring real events that affect real lives, and for giving President Obama a complete pass on each of his misstatements, they only had the issue because Trump gave it to them. In short, Trump stepped all over his own message. In tennis terms, it was a huge unforced error.
2. Claims of voter fraud
The President continues to promote the unsubstantiated claim that “millions” of votes were cast illegally, by non-citizens, double votes, or dead people. Now, he says he will investigate. Again, he is stepping on his own message. By giving the media such trivial dribble, he is allowing them to completely ignore the ten things he has done really well.
Spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sean Spicer are both doing amazing jobs representing the president. But he isn’t making it easy for them.