Trump’s First 90 Days: Washington Post Gives POTUS Sobering Post-Mortem

Paper checks in on promises made by Trump during his campaign — and the verdict isn’t good

Did you know that Thursday marks President Donald Trump’s 90th day in office?

To commemorate, the Washington Post went back to a March 2016 interview with the then-GOP candidate to see what he had promised to accomplish in his first 90 days on the job… and whether he was able to deliver.

Here’s what Trump told the Post before he became the GOP nominee:

“What I would do — and before I talk about legislation, because I think frankly this is more important — number one, it’s going to be a very big tax cut. Because the middle class has been … And Larry Kudlow and numerous people have liked very much … You know, I put in a plan for tax cuts, and I’ve gotten some very good reviews. I would do a tax cut. You have to do a tax cut. Because we’re the highest-taxed nation in the world.

But I would start — because I noticed your question briefly — boom, what would you do in the first 90 days? I would immediately start renegotiating our trade deals with Mexico, China, Japan and all of these countries that are just absolutely destroying us. And they have been for years. It’s an incredible tribute to our country that we can lose billions — hundreds of billions — of dollars consistently, year in and year out — and still even survive. We have rebuilt China. We have rebuilt it. I mean, you look at what’s going on in China. We have rebuilt China single-handedly.”

According to the Post, “The administration hasn’t yet pressed Congress to take up tax reform,” instead going after Obamacare first. As of now, both issues are scheduled to be completed by August, an extremely optimistic time-frame that is still far longer than the promised 90-day benchmark.

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged that getting the tax cuts passed by August was “highly aggressive to not realistic.”

Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act also proved to be trickier than expected. The overhaul, which collapsed last month, seems to be back on. But it’s hard to say whether the administration will be able to successfully overturn the ACA anytime soon.

As the Post put it: “Had the House and the Senate passed the Obamacare overhaul in March, it would have fallen in that 90-day window. But the time frame Trump promised on the repeal of Obamacare was 89 days shorter.”

Trump signed an executive order pledging to renegotiate trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He also ended U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership on January 23.

But according to the Post’s 90-day post-mortem, “things stalled after that.” The administration promised to sign an executive order reviewing NAFTA in late March. But instead it offered an order looking at the trade deficit and possible new tariffs (Trump also signed an order urging the use of American-made products).

As the Post notes in its Trump scorecard, in order to renegotiate that agreement, Trump needs to inform Congress 9o days before discussions can begin and that hasn’t happened yet.

Trump also emphasized he wanted to renegotiate military deals, as well as deals with Nato and Japan while taking advantage of its interactions with foreign governments. Trump also complained that NATO members weren’t paying their dues.

But as the Post notes: Trump hasn’t begun formal renegotiation with any of those partners. Trump did seem to press Angela Merkel to commit to more spending but so far no commitment seems to have been given.

Trump has claimed success in one renegotiation: the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The president insists he trimmed about $700 million. But according to the Post’s fact checkers, the cost reductions were already in the works.

Trump made another 90-day pledge on Twitter, promising to release a full report on the Russian hacking into the 2016 presidential election. No report has been released.

Though not part of his pledge during the Post interview, Trump did come through with one promise: the appointment of conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.