People For the American Way

“Trumptastrophe”: Trump’s first 100 days and the frightening plans he has for his next term

News and Analysis
“Trumptastrophe”: Trump’s first 100 days and the frightening plans he has for his next term
Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Welcome to our weekly “Trumptastrophe” series that serves to remind us of the destructive policies, decisions, and actions we encountered during the Trump presidency and the threats that he and others in the MAGA movement still pose – and to keep those moments clear in our memory as we fight to defeat Republican extremists during the upcoming elections.

This week’s Trumptastrophe brings into focus the failed promises and disastrous policies of Trump’s first 100 days in office while also highlighting the frightening plans in Project 2025 – the right-wing plot to undermine and weaponize the federal government should Trump win reelection in November:

On April 29, 2017, President Donald Trump held a rally with MAGA supporters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to celebrate his first 100 days in office. It was classic Trump, mixing boasts, lies, and attacks on the media. He made a big show of rallying with his base rather than attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington.

Before the 2016 election, Trump released a 100-day action plan he called a “Contract with the American Voter.” He had a mixed record on meeting those promises despite a flurry of executive orders. “Though the White House created a website touting its accomplishments of the first 100 days, Trump has tried to downplay the importance of the marker, perhaps out of recognition that many of his campaign promises have gone unfulfilled,” noted AP reporter Laurie Kellman.

Some memorable moments included Trump’s early executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, resulting in what The Guardian called “an outcry over a betrayal of American values, pandemonium at airports, and defeat in the courts”—and “an early victory for the system of checks and balances that prompted Trump to vent his frustration.”

Trump told a reporter that the “best moment” of his first 100 days was the confirmation of the 49-year-old Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, which Trump called “a real legacy.” The fact that Trump had a vacancy to fill was due to Senate Republicans’ unprincipled refusal to even consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat left open by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia—a sign of the GOP’s growing contempt for democratic norms in the Trump era.

In typical Trump fashion, he declared in his weekly radio address that his first 100 days had been “just about the most successful in our country’s history.” That was contrary to the assessment of MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter: “the worst, least successful, first 100 days since it became a concept in 1933.”

That isn’t to say Trump wasn’t making an impact.

Right Wing Watch noted that while failing in many ways, Trump had managed to give the religious right just about anything it wanted: the Gorsuch nomination; a huge number of far-right activists given high-level positions in the administration; the reinstitution and expansion of the anti-abortion “global gag rule”; attacks on Planned Parenthood; and an executive order undermining nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.

People For the American Way and a coalition led by Democracy 21 gave Trump’s first 100 days a failing grade for integrity, transparency, and accountability:

  • President Trump has ignored provisions of the Constitution and basic ethical norms established to prevent government corruption and influence buying.
  • President Trump has rejected the core democratic principle of the public’s right to know.
  • President Trump has challenged basic accountability protections embedded in the Constitution.

As Arn Pearson of the Center for Media and Democracy noted, “Contrary to his campaign promises, Trump has flouted the most basic anti-corruption principles embedded in our Constitution and woven into the fabric of our democracy. He has thrown open the floodgates to personal financial gain and corporate special interests alike, and invited the alligators in to run the government.” Pearson concluded, “America is witnessing the most corrupt presidency in its modern history.”

The Center for American Progress concluded that “Trump’s actions during his first 100 days in office have time and time again benefited corporations and the wealthy at the expense of ordinary Americans.”

AP’s 2017 analysis was that Trump had “spent 100 days being educated on the slow grind of government.” That experience is something that Trump and his advisors do not intend to repeat.

Project 2025 is an aggressive battle plan by the MAGA movement to “take the reins of government” the moment Trump is sworn in. More than 100 right-wing organizations are participating in the effort, which has published a detailed policy agenda for virtually every federal department and agency—down to “day one” executive orders. They’re planning to give Trump virtually dictatorial control over the executive branch of government by implementing a far-right constitutional theory to eliminate guardrails against the abuse of power, and purging tens of thousands of civil servants and replacing them with ideological warriors pre-screened for their loyalty to Trump and the MAGA movement.

The policy agenda of Project 2025 is a ruinous right-wing fever dream, one aligned with Trump’s own “Agenda 47.” Trump has the full backing of the massive right-wing infrastructure in this country to launch a blitzkrieg against the federal government and democratic checks and balances. He is vowing to use the power of the government to go after the media as well as his personal and political enemies.

Trump’s first 100 days were bad enough. His second first 100 days—if he gets the chance by winning in November—would be far more aggressive, more harmful for people and the planet, more dangerous for democracy.

These are just some of the reasons we need YOU in this fight. So, find your favorite way to unwind after reading through this week’s recap, and then make a plan for how you will fight back this week, this month, this election cycle.

Tags:

Authoritarianism, Donald Trump