Everything you need to understand about President Trump’s first 100 days — and perhaps what’s to come — you could have learned on just Day 101.
Last Sunday night, Congress and the White House reached a budget deal that will keep the government open through next September. The terms of the agreement are not the sort that candidate Trump could ever have campaigned on and won the Republican nomination: No funding cuts for Planned Parenthood; only nominal cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency; more money for the National Institutes of Health; no money for a deportation force; no federal cuts to sanctuary cities, and no funding for border wall construction. Trump may have campaigned as a conservative but he’s not governing as one.
This right after media outlets and pundits all spent a full week grading the young presidency. So prevalent were the assessments that Washington last week felt like the end of a semester. It seems everyone had a grade for the first 100 days. How he fared depended upon the proctor. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News survey, his approval rating is a modern low at 42 percent, but 96 percent of those who voted for him would do so again, and 85 percent would vote again for Hillary Clinton, so it does seem like there’s too much subjectivity afoot.
At the start, it seemed Trump would govern by placating some of the rigid interests he cultivated to win the nomination. Having run with Mike Pence (remember Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act?), Trump surrounded himself with some very conservative influences. Jeff Sessions at Justice. Rick Perry at Energy. Scott Pruitt at EPA. Betsy DeVos at Education. Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development. And Steve Bannon at his elbow. And make no mistake, their impact on law enforcement, climate, the environment, and regulations will be long lasting. Greater still might be the reach from Trump’s delivering on a campaign pledge to appoint a conservative Supreme Court…