Tuesday, December 6, 2016

September 20, 2017

Welcome! This blog tracks the daily progress, detours and dead ends taken by President Trump toward fulfilling his 50 most important 2016 campaign promises. The blog has three sections:

1.      Trump Campaign Promises in the News 
2.      Scoreboard: Quick summary of which promises have been kept and which have been dropped
3.      The 50 Campaign Promises – History/details of each promise, their current status and commentary from pundits and politicians
The blog is updated daily. Please follow me on Twitter @raygiles1 for additional information about the blog and campaign promises.
Ray Giles, Blog Editor
To see my 2016 campaign blog, go to: https://2016presidentialcampaignpredictions.wordpress.com/

Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump Campaign Promises in the News

9/19 – Sean Sullivan, Kelsey Snell and Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post re. Promises #1 & 2 (Repeal and replace Obamacare):

Senate Republicans and the White House pressed ahead Tuesday with their suddenly resurgent effort to undo the Affordable Care, even as their attempt was dealt a setback when a bipartisan group of governors came out against their proposal.

The collective criticism from 10 governors arrived as Vice President Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to rally support for the bill, which is sponsored by GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.).

But it was unclear whether the opposition would ultimately derail the attempt, as key Republican senators including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they had yet to make up their minds.

“We ask you not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment and renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans,” the governors said in their letter.

They added that they prefer a bipartisan push to stabilize the insurance marketplaces that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) had been negotiating before talks stalled on Tuesday evening.

The current bill would give states control over billions in federal health-care spending and enact deep cuts to Medicaid. The Medicaid cuts are a major source of concern to the governors, both in terms of imposing a per capita cap on what states would receive as well as putting restrictions on how they could spend any federal aid on their expanded Medicaid populations.

Given the complex nature of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, it is difficult for both state officials and health-care analysts to predict exactly how much money a given state would gain or lose if it were enacted. But early estimates suggest that states with expanded Medicaid programs and active participation on the ACA market could face major cuts.

An initial estimate for Colorado, according to state officials, suggests that it could lose at least $700 million in annual federal funding by 2025. Since the state has roughly 450,000 in its Medicaid expansion program and another 100,000 receiving premium tax credits on its health care exchange, that could translate into hundreds of thousands of Coloradans losing coverage.

An update from The Hill: President Trump and Vice President Pence have been making calls to senators and governors in a furious effort to gain support for a last-ditch ObamaCare repeal bill. The Trump administration is making clear it's all in on the repeal push, with Pence warning that the White House will not support efforts to "fix" or "prop up" ObamaCare. That would appear to rule out a bipartisan effort in the Senate Health Committee to craft a bill stabilizing ObamaCare's insurance markets.”

And from the Washington Examiner: “Senators on Tuesday left town for the rest of the week with no plan on when to bring up a bill Republicans deemed the last shot to overhaul Obamacare. Republican leaders are trying to pin down if they have enough votes to pass an Obamacare overhaul bill, but lawmakers recessed for the rest of the week and are expected to return Monday. The GOP is under a major time crunch because it has to pass the legislation before midnight Sept. 30, when a tool that would allow the bill to be approved with a simple majority instead of the 60 usually needed to break a filibuster expires. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly told the four Republican senators pursuing the bill that he will bring it up only if it has 50 votes.”

9/18 - Dianne Solis at Dallas Morning News re. Promise #7 (Deport 11 million illegal immigrants):

ICE agents are detaining many more unauthorized immigrants than were arrested by this time last year, and North Texas has been a leader in those efforts.

Arrests have increased about 43 percent nationwide since President Donald Trump took office after promising a tough crackdown on illegal immigration.

ICE’s acting director, Thomas Homan, has said that “there was no population off the table,” and the width and breadth of ICE detentions have proved he’s keeping his word.

As recently as January, ICE efforts were primarily focused on removing immigrants who were convicted of  crimes. More recently, people who fled violence and who are awaiting the outcome of asylum cases have been detained. There have also been cases in which unauthorized immigrants who agreed to provide guardianship for newly arrived immigrant children have been detained.

An ICE spokeswoman said this week that there have been about 97,000 arrests between Jan. 22, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, and Sept. 2. That compares with about 68,000 during roughly the same time frame in 2016.

ICE may have stepped up enforcement since January, but that hasn’t yet translated to a dramatic increase in deportations. ICE statistics through June of this year showed that deportations were actually higher during the last year of the administration of President Barack Obama.

Homan, the acting ICE chief, said last month in Dallas: “The days of turning our head the other way are over. President Trump made it clear we are going to enforce the law without apology.”

9/18 – Renato Mariotti at Politico Magazine re. Promise #49 (Drain the Swamp):

Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor who handled many obstruction cases. He is now a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP. To read the entire article, go to: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/18/how-to-read-bob-mueller-hand-215616

What is Robert Mueller up to?

The person in the greatest legal jeopardy, given what we know from media reports, is former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, whose home was searched by the FBI. When the bureau executes a search warrant at your home, that means the prosecutor has already convinced a judge that there is good reason to believe a crime was committed and that evidence of that crime was at your house. That’s bad news for Manafort.

The same is true of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who is under scrutiny for failing to disclose income from Russia-related entities. Proving that Flynn lied on a form is much more straightforward than proving an agreement between him and foreigners. Recent news that Flynn’s son is also in Mueller’s sights suggests that the former FBI chief might be developing a case against the son in the hopes that Flynn will cooperate to obtain leniency for his son, which is called “vicarious cooperation.”

The other aspect of Mueller’s investigation that appears to be fairly advanced is his obstruction investigation. We know Mueller is looking at obstruction related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey for many reasons—most recently, the Justice Department refused to permit a Senate committee to interview two FBI officials who were witnesses on this issue, and when asked about the matter, referred questions to Mueller. This indicates that Mueller believes the FBI officials are potential witnesses.

Mueller also has set up interviews with White House officials who were reportedly involved in the decision to fire Comey, and Trump lawyers reportedly sent a memo to Mueller making legal arguments about obstruction and claiming that Comey is not a credible witness. This suggests Trump’s legal team believes Mueller is focused on obstruction.

The most significant testimony could come from White House Counsel Don McGahn, who reportedly looked at a letter justifying Comey’s firing that was drafted by White House aide Stephen Miller at Trump’s direction. McGahn made numerous deletions and comments in the draft and also discussed his concerns verbally, according to the New York Times, but it was never published. Mueller has that letter, the Justice Department has confirmed.

Another major aspect of the Mueller investigation is the meeting at Trump Tower that was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort. Trump Jr.’s many statements about the meeting, one of which was highly misleading and allegedly dictated by the president, have created problems for him that could result in a charge if his statements to Congress were false.

Until recently, there was very little that indicated Mueller was far along in investigating the efforts of Russian operatives to undermine our election. That changed when the Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller obtained information from Facebook via search warrant. That news is extraordinarily important because it indicates he presented evidence that convinced a federal judge there was good reason to believe that foreign individuals committed a crime by making a “contribution” in connection with an election and that evidence of that crime existed on Facebook.

Now, it looks like he has his sights on specific foreign individuals and their interference in our election.

That also opens up Trump associates to criminal liability. Someone is guilty of “aiding and abetting” when they know a crime is being committed and actively help to make it succeed. So if a Trump associate knew about the foreign contributions that Mueller’s search warrant focused on and helped that effort in a tangible way, they could be charged.

Lastly, there have been reports Mueller has subpoenaed numerous financial records, and his decision to involve the IRS criminal investigation unit indicates he is looking at tax charges against someone. But it’s unlikely he would bring very wide-ranging tax or money laundering charges. Money laundering can be difficult to prove because it requires a prosecutor to prove an underlying crime, such as bribery or tax evasion.

9/18 – Tierney Sneed from Talking Points Memo re. Promise #49 (Drain the Swamp):

It’s not surprising that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is interested in the role Facebook played in Russia’s campaign to influence the 2016 election. Yet, the news that broke over the weekend that his team had obtained a search warrant to access information about Facebook’s recently disclosed Russia-linked ad spending is the clearest sign yet of the breadth of his probe, the pace at which its moving along and what kind of case he might be trying to build, regardless of whether he ultimately brings criminal charges

“This is not a wild goose chase, it’s not just a fishing expedition.  [It shows] that there is good reason to be believe that someone committed criminal behavior, we just don’t know who that was and exactly what the behavior was,” Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School professor and former federal prosecutor, told TPM.

“To get a search warrant like that, you have to show a judge that there is probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found at the location,” said Harvard Law professor and former federal prosecutor Alex Whiting. “The fact that they got a search warrant shows that the investigation is moving forward and that they have found some evidence of crimes.”

Facebook admitted in a blog post earlier this month, before the revelation of a Mueller search warrant, that it had identified $100,000 in spending on about 3,000 ads purchased by 470 “inauthentic” accounts “likely operated out of Russia.”

Mueller also appears to be interested what sort of criteria was used by the ad purchasers in targeting the content, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to Yale Law School professor Asha Rangappa, even some of the most sophisticated foreign intelligence operations may be unfamiliar with the nuances of American politics.

“If the targeted criteria was so specific that they would really need someone who would know American culture and campaigns to help them, who would that person be? Who would have that knowledge?” Rangappa said.

However, legal experts caution that a search warrant is by no means a predictor that the Mueller probe is heading towards an indictment.

“It doesn’t meant that they have found evidence of crimes committed by Americans — it could be crimes committed by Russians—and it doesn’t mean that somebody may be charged with a crime,” Whiting said.

9/18 – Nathaniel Weixel at The Hill re. Promises #3 & 4 (Repeal and replace Obamacare):

Democrats on Monday asked the Congressional Budget Office to conduct a full analysis on coverage losses that would result from the latest Senate GOP effort to repeal-and-replace ObamaCare.

New legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would repeal key parts of ObamaCare, including the individual mandate, subsidies to insurers and funding for Medicaid's expansion, with block grants that would be delivered to states.

Republicans are trying to figure out whether they have enough support to pass the bill before Sept. 30, the deadline for using a budgetary process known as reconciliation that prevents Democrats from filibustering the bill.

Under those rules, the GOP needs a score from the CBO to determine whether the legislation would reduce the budget deficit. But the rules don't require a full analysis. 

In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed support for the bill.

Among other things, the Democrats are asking CBO to analyze the impacts the bill would have on insurance coverage, premium costs, and people with pre-existing conditions. The letter also asked CBO to analyze how much Medicaid would be cut.  


Status of the 50 Campaign Promises

"Donald Trump is a consummate dealmaker. What that means for
people in Washington who have been living and working in this swamp
for too long is that they're not used to the Trump pace of getting things done."
                                                                        - Kellyanne Conway, 9/7/17

😀  Promises kept:                    

 #5 (Terminate DACA)*,   #12 (Withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership) and #42 (Withdraw from Paris climate accord) 

😀  Promises partially kept:

#8 (Ban Muslims) and  #10 (Bar Syrians)

😀  First step(s) taken to keep promise:

#9 (Implement "extreme vetting"),  #11 (Renegotiate NAFTA),  #18 (Undo Dodd-Frank),  #19 (Bring $$ back into U.S.), #20 (Bring back the coal industry), #21 (Lower corporate tax rate),   #24 (Eliminate various taxes for the weathly),  #25 (Paid maternity leave), #30 (Appoint justices to the Supreme Court to overturn Rowe v. Wade),  #33 (Fire VA leaders),  #35 (Gut the EPA),  #36 (Move forward with Keystone pipeline),  #38 (Strengthen military), and #46 (Bomb shit out of ISIS)

😠  Promises dropped:

#2 (Mexico pays for Wall),  #3 (Repeal Obamacare),  #4 (Replace Obamacare with something better),  #7 (Deport 11 million illegals on "Day One"),  #10 (Kick out any Syrians living in the U.S.),   #13 (Introduce "End Offshoring Act"),  #17 (Declare China currency manipulator),  #26 (Promote term limits), #31 (Get rid of gun-free zones),  #37 (Rebuild and fix inner cities),   #39 (Dump Iran nuclear agreement), #40 (Allow Russia to deal with ISIS in Syria),  #44 (Move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem), #45 (Bring back waterboarding),  #47 (Take Iraq's oil),  #48 (Lock her up!),  #49 (Drain the Swamp) and  #50 (Release tax returns)

😱  Promises being reconsidered: 

 #1 (Build the Wall),  #14 ($1 trillion infrastructure plan),  #27 (Eliminate natl. debt), and #43 (Reverse Obama's open-door Cuban policy)

See "Donald Trump's 50 Most Important Campaign Promises"

below for more details on each of the promises cited above as well

as those promises on which no action/decision has been taken. 

We must not promise what we ought not,

lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.

Abraham Lincoln



*  We think he kept his promise...See Promise #5 Update below for details.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s 50 Most Important

Campaign Promises

Their current status and have they been kept?

Table of Contents

1. Build Wall on Southern Border
2. Repeal and Replace Obamacare
3. Immigration Issues
4. International Trade
5. Economy/Jobs
6. Tax Policies
7. Domestic Policies
8. US Military
9. International Relations
10. War on Terrorism
11. Miscellaneous

Build Wall on Southern Border 

1.      Build "a great, great" wall along Mexican border - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

2.      …And have Mexico pay for it   STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump vowed from the beginning of his campaign to "build a great, great wall on our southern border" and "have Mexico pay for that wall." In August, 2015, Trump told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly of his plans to have Mexico pay for the wall.   "So simple.  So simple."  At one campaign stop, Trump said, "That wall will go up so fast your head will spin."

Current status:   President Trump and the Mexican president had a public spat the week after the Trump inauguration over who will and who won't pay for the wall.  After cancelling a face-to-face on the topic due to the disagreement, they agreed during a subsequent private phone call to "work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship" and to "not speak publicly about this controversial theme."

President Trump on February 11 tweeted that the $21.6 billion price tag on the Wall is overblown and that "I have not gotten involved in the design or negotiations yet. Price will come WAY DOWN!"  On February 24, President Trump spoke at the annual meeting of CPAC and promised that the wall would go up "soon, way ahead of schedule."  At an April 29 rally in Pennsylvania, the President told a rally of his supporters, "Don't worry, we're going to have the wall. Rest assured. Go home, go to sleep." On April 30, House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a 2017 budget bill that has no money for the wall on the Mexican border.

On May 22, President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal to Congress in which he asked for $2.6 billion for planning, designing, and constructing the border wall. On June 8, the Associated Press reported that Trump told Republican congressional leaders that "his vision was a wall 40 to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be 'beautiful structures.'" Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea.

On July 13, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Trump has "significantly scaled back" his pledge to build a wall on the southern border.  "You don't need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers." In his remarks, the President also "offered a very different description of the border barrier than he portrayed in campaign rallies, where he sometimes talked about a wall 30 feet high.  His new description closely resembles the border fencing built under Obama and President George W. Bush."

A transcript of Trump's telephone with Mexican President Nieto the first week of his presidency was reprinted in the Washington Post on August 3 and showed that early in his administration Trump wasn't trying to talk Nieto into paying for the fence but, instead, was asking him not bring up the topic publicly. "You cannot say that to the press," Trump told Nieto when the Mexican president insisted he wasn't going to pay for the fence.  Trump described the wall as "the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important."  Trump told Nieto they should both just say they "will work it out" when forced to answer questions about the wall.

But on August 22, President Trump vowed to close down the government in September if he doesn't get money for the border wall.  "Believe me," he told a Phoenix audience, "if we have to close down our government, we're building that wall." But 12 days later, on September 1, the president signaled he would not shut down the government in October if money for the wall isn't in the budget deal, in part, because of his desire to have Congress fund a multi-billion dollar relief effort for Texas and Louisiana. "This marks the second time he has pulled back from the wall demand in order to allow lawmakers to pass a budget bill," wrote Damian Paletta of the Washington Post.  "The first time came in May when lawmakers voted to authorize government funding through September and refrained from including money that would allow for the construction of a new wall."

Stan Collender at Forbes.com wrote September 4: "Now the White House is saying that Trump will demand funds for the wall when the continuing resolution that will be needed by October 1 to keep the government open expires later this year.  But Trump apparently got no actual promise from congressional leaders about funding his wall.  That means he twice demanded and twice backed down from a confrontation over this issue.  That's the kind of weakness members of Congress thrive on and makes it even less likely Trump will have the credibility he needs to ever get funding."

In September, Trump terminated DACA (see Promise #5), a program that protects children brought to the US illegally by immigrant parents, but then turned around immediately and struck up a tentative deal with Democrats to legislatively legalize the program, provide funding for more border security but no wall construction.  "We're working on a plan for DACA," Trump said.  "The wall will come later." The New York Times reported Sept. 15, "Most Republicans had assumed the president considered the wall nonnegotiable. No promise was more central to his campaign. And no constituency was more passionate in defending Mr. Trump than the conservatives who believed he would be uncompromising in his approach toward illegal immigration. Just last month, he was threatening to shut down the government if Congress did not approve funding to start the wall's construction."  

Pushback: On April 24, President Trump told conservative media members at a special White House function that funding for the wall could be pushed back until 2018. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh reacted on his radio show, "I'm not happy to have to pass this on.  I'm very, very troubled to have to pass this on.  And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong, and I hope this is not the case. But it looks like, from here, right here, right now, it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall. The Democrats seems to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way."

     Repeal and Replace Obamacare 

      3.   "Immediately" repeal Obamacare STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

      4.   And replace it with something "so much better" STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law on Day One (also "immediately" and "very, very quickly") of his administration, including the individual mandate.  A month before the election, candidate Trump said, "Repealing Obamacare is one of the single biggest reasons we must win on November 8."  Americans, he promised, will have "great health care at a fraction of the cost." The GOP candidate said that "we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. Have to do it. I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace, and it will be such an honor for me, for you, and for this country because Obamacare has to be replaced and we will do it very, very quickly."  A month before the election, he told an audience, "You're going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy."  He has promised to preserve key aspects of the law, including refusing to allow insurers to deny coverage because of preexisting conditions. He has also promised to maintain the portion of the law that allows adults and children under 26 to be covered on their parents' plans.  "Everybody's got to be covered," he told 60 Minutes on September 27, 2015.  "I'm going to take care of everybody.  I don't care if it costs me votes or not.  Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now."   And in January, Trump promised, "We're going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better. Ok." He told the Washington Post that he will provide "insurance for everybody."

Current status: On March 6, House Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership introduced draft legislation to replace Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence said, "This is the bill and the President supports (it)." President Trump called it "wonderful" and said, "I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives."  On March 7, S & P Global Ratings issued a report estimating that six to 10 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage under the proposed House bill. The report also stated there would be a decline of between four and six million citizens from the Medicaid system. On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office announced that roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured over the next ten years if the House Republican Obamacare repeal bill is enacted.  The legislation, the CBO analysis shows, would lead to 14 million more people being uninsured by 2018. The Los Angeles Times reported March 14 that the White House has shifted away from President Trump's stated goal of providing "insurance for everybody" to instead claiming the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare offers "more people the option to get healthcare." On March 25, Speaker Ryan and President Trump pulled their Obamacare repeal and replace bill from the House after Republican members declined to support the legislation. On April 20, White House and Republican congressional leaders announced plans for another health care showdown next week to seek passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.  "The plan gets better and better and better and it's gotten really good and a lot of people are liking it a lot," said the President. But, on April 28, for a second time, the President and House leaders backed away from a vote just a day before the 100th of his presidency. On April 30, House and Senate leaders agreed on a 2017 budget that continues to fund Obamacare.

On May 4, the House passed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with the GOP's American Health Care Act.  The bill was approved along mostly partisan lines, 217-213.  President Trump, at a Rose Garden ceremony celebrating passage of the House bill, called it "a great plan." The bill allows states to get federal waivers to allow insurers to charge older customers higher premiums than younger ones by as much as they'd like.  Obama's law limits the difference to a 3-1 ratio.  The states may also seek waivers from Obamacare's prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems if the states have a mechanism to cover people with serious, expensive-to-treat diseases. According to a CBO analysis of the bill, issued weeks after it was passed, 23 million Americans will be without health insurance by 2026 and 14 million uninsured in its first years.  Insurance premiums will continue to rise, especially for older citizens and those with pre-existing health issues. On June 13, President Trump met with GOP senators working on their own health care bill and told them the House bill, which he originally praised, was "mean, mean, mean" and said, "We need to be more generous, more kind."

On June 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled from consideration the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after he was unable to garner enough Republican support.  The bill was supported by President Trump and would have provided significant tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the health care industry, made health care cheaper for the young and healthy and more expensive (with higher deductions) for older, poorer Americans.  The Congressional Budget Office estimated 22 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage over the next ten years, the hardest hit being 50 to 64 years olds with incomes of less than 200% of the federal poverty level. The legislation would have prevented women enrolled in Medicaid from using their benefits to pay for contraception, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other non-abortion services of Planned Parenthood. However, it would have cut the deficit by $321 billion by spending $1 trillion less on health care, including a $772 billion cut in Medicaid. On July 27, the Senate failed on three different votes on three different bills to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

Commentary from National Review: In June, 2017, Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote - Donald Trump doesn't care about health-care policy.  He has no sense that millions of Americans will bitterly call out his name whenever they encounter one of the many indignities that the American health-care and health-insurance system visits upon them.  Republicans could send him a bill that institutes single payer and he'd sign it just as quickly as he'd sign what they do send him.  They could institute massive subsidies for building medical centers that revolve around leech therapy.  "We're going to find the best leeches," Trump would say at the signing.  He doesn't care about anything beyond the grin and claiming credit for doing something great.  

Immigration Issues 

     5. Cancel key Obama executive action on immigration - STATUS - PROMISE KEPT (We think. See Update below.)

Background:   Trump promised to "immediately" rescind Obama’s immigration executive orders regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA). Undoing DACA would make undocumented young people who arrived in the United States as children - "Dreamers" - subject to deportation. The GOP presidential candidate strongly criticized President Obama for "illegal executive amnesties," including actions that allowed young people brought into the country illegally as children to stay. There are currently roughly 800,000 immigrants currently protected by the Obama-era program.

Update: At a February 16 press conference, President Trump backed away from reversing President Obama's DACA orders.  "DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me," Trump conceded, promising to address the issue "with heart.  It's one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids." Republican strategists are concerned that suspending DACA could energize Latino activists in key congressional districts during the 2018 midterm elections. "If he repeals DACA, people will start screaming at him," said Alfonzo Aguilar, a Republican strategist.  On February 21, CNN reported the Department of Homeland Security had laid out plans for "aggressive enforcement of immigrations laws" that did not include dismantling the DACA program.  "No. 1," said a department official, "none of this affects DACA." On April 22, President Trump told the Associated Press that young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children can "rest easy."  His administration, he said, is "not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals." On June 8, the Washington Times reported the Trump administration has approved "tens of thousands of temporary amnesties for illegal immigrant Dreamers" and "Mr. Trump appears to be maintaining the pace of the Obama administration, with more than 17,000 new two-year amnesties and more than 107,000 renewal applications approved from Jan. 1 through March 30.  Both numbers are comparable to the final three full months of President Obama's tenure." On June 29, Politico reported that Attorneys General from Texas and nine other Republican-led states threatened to sue the Trump administration over the "Dreamers" program.  They sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging the administration to rescind the June 2012 memorandum that created the program. 

On September 5, President Trump terminated the DACA program. However, he delayed complete implementation of the program for six months and urged Congress to craft a legislative solution. The Washington Post reported, "The Department of Homeland Security said it would no longer accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has provided renewable, two-year work permits to nearly 800,000 dreamers.  The agency said those enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire; those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018, will be permitted to apply for two-year renewals as long as they do so by October 5."

However, within hours of the decision to terminate DACA, Trump was sending signals that he wanted Congress to restore the program through legislation.  Following a storm of criticism by Democrats and Republicans, the president tweeted, "Congress now has 6 months to legalize. If they can't, I will revisit this issue."  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Democrats would attach a bill to protect "Dreamers" to every piece of must-pass legislation if the GOP led Congress doesn't act on its own.  Two days after his decision to cancel the program, Trump was urging Democrats to push for a permanent solution, tweeting, "For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about - No action!"  He then told reporters, "Chuck and Nancy (Pelosi) would like to see something happen, and so do I." On September 7, 15 states and the District of Columbia sued in federal court to block Trump's plan to end the program.

Commentary from NRO's Jonah Goldberg: Earlier in the week the White House was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which lets undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children stay here.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions came out and said it was unconstitutional.  But when the press - and former President Obama - castigated Trump as heartless and cruel, the president made it clear he wants Congress to restore the program by passing legislation.  And if it doesn't, he suggested, he might keep the program via the same means his AG had just described as unconstitutional.  

     6.      End birthright citizenship

Background:  As a presidential candidate, Trump considered the end of birthright citizenship one way to improve immigration and "make American great again." An immigration reform plan posted on Trump's campaign website said birthright citizenship "remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration."  In an August, 2015 interview with CNN, Trump affirmed his position to eliminate birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to parents living here illegally.  He said it may take two terms to fulfill his promise.

Under federal law, U.S. citizenship is granted anyone born in the U.S.  (Approximately 7.5% of all births in the U.S. are to illegal immigrants.) Since the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, the citizenship of persons born in the U.S. has been controlled by its Citizenship Clause.  It is not clear whether an act of Congress or an amendment to the Constitution would be required to change birthright citizen. As of August, 2017, President Trump had not spoken on the subject.

7.     Deport the almost 11 million immigrants illegally living in the United States  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  The wall was just one piece of Trump’s immigration policy that defined his campaign. He also pledged to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, something that experts have predicted is nearly impossible. He also promised to deport undocumented immigrants in U.S. on expired visas. Trump explained that he would do this by having “the greatest deportation force” imaginable and tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Trump shifted on the issue repeatedly, taking 18 different stances on immigration during his campaign, but never disavowed his initial plan.  The president-elect indicated he would move forward with efforts to deport criminals - two to three million, he claims - and decide later about the others. "We will begin moving them out on day one," he told a campaign rally in August, 2016.  "Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone." Five days after President Trump took office, he signed an executive order that promised a swift, sharp crackdown on illegal immigration - immediate construction of a massive border wall, quick hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and stepped-up deportation of undocumented migrants.

Benchmarks: A University of Syracuse study in December, 2016 showed that almost 680,000 federal charges against immigrants in the country illegally were filed in the last eight years, up from about 287,000 under President George W. Bush. In the first seven years in office, the Obama administration deported 2.5 million people, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Department also reported in December that Border Patrol agents apprehended about 39,000 people trying to illegally cross the California border from Mexico in 2015, down by 510,000 - or 93% - from 1996. According to the Pew Research Center, from 2009 to 2014, more Mexicans left the U.S. than came north.

Current Status:  

·         On May 18, Alan Gomez of USA Today reported, "Arrests of undocumented immigrants are up 38% from the same period in 2016, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement data.  ICE acting director Thomas Homan said his agency is focusing on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, the 'bad hombres' Trump spoke about throughout his presidential campaign. But the data show that the biggest jump in arrests involved undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, a 156% increase from last year."

·         In the July 7 issue of TIME, Maya Rhodan reported that between January 22 and June 24, 65,704 people were arrested by ICE, a 39% increase compared to the same period in 2016.  Of those arrested, 73% were convicted criminals.  However, many were guilty of low-level, nonviolent offenses, like driving with a license or using a fake Social Security number.

·         In August, Politico reported that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement deported about 16,900 people each month from February through June, 2017.  Obama's slowest year came in fiscal year 2016 with 20,000 deportations each month while his peak was in fiscal year 2012 at 34,000. 

·         Customs and Border Protection reports there have been 414,241 enforcement actions this year through June 3.  There were 595,459 in 2015 and 690,637 in 2016.

·         Seven months into the Trump administration, the Los Angeles Times reported the number of Border Patrol officers had actually dropped by 220 and immigration agents are on track to deport 10,000 fewer people in 2017 than in President Obama's last year in office. 

·         As of August, illegal border crossings are down 22% compared to the year before and arrests of people in the country illegally have surged 43% since Trump was inaugurated.

·         The Wall Street Journal reported that In the first nine months of fiscal 2017, the U.S. Labor Department certified more than 160,000 temporary workers - the bulk of them from Mexico - to harvest berries, tobacco and other crops in the U.S. Among the employers that applied in the past year for guest workers under the H-2B program are two operations owned by the Trump Organization. 

·         The Sacramento Bee reported July 12 that in California, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices "received 64,580 applications from January to March, 2017, up from 50,193 applications for naturalization from July to September, 2016."

Commentary: Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, wrote at Politico.com: With his penchant for tweeted insults and GIFs, Donald Trump will never be mistaken for a master of the sweet art of persuasion. Yet he is clearly winning the public argument on the issue of immigration. Now, intellectuals on the center-left are calling for Democrats to rethink the party's orthodoxy on immigration, which has become more and more hostile to enforcement and to any skepticism about current high levels of immigration.  In an act of heresy for the Davos set, Fareed Zakaria recommends that 'the party should take a position on immigration that is less absolutist and recognizes both the cultural and economic costs of large-scale immigration.'

      8. Temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States  STATUS -  Promise partially kept 

Background: In December, 2015, the Trump campaign released the following statement: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Current status: The President on January 27 signed an executive order that indefinitely blocked refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days while the administration determines which countries pose the least risk. Trump also imposed a 90-day ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. Former New York City Mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani said President Trump wanted a "Muslim ban" and requested Giuliani assemble a commission to show him "the right way to do it legally." On February 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal rejected the Justice Department's request to lift a Seattle-based judge's restraining order blocking the January 27 executive order. Later in February, Dara Lind at Vox.com wrote that because of Trump's repeated campaign promises to institute a Muslim ban, some judges who've heard the case have concluded the order was motivated by anti-Muslim animus that could, therefore, make it unconstitutionally discriminatory. On March 6, President Trump signed a new executive order that bans immigrants for at least 90 days from six Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against the executive order.  A Maryland federal judge subsequently issued a second ruling against the ban on March 16. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then ruled against the ban, 10-3, affirming the Maryland ruling. On June 1 the Trump administration filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to reverse rulings by lower courts in Hawaii and Maryland that blocked a temporary ban on travel to the United States from six majority-Muslim countries.  The administration asked the Supreme Court to take up the case as part of the court's regular fall calendar. On June 12, the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the second-attempt to impose a temporary Muslim ban, affirming a Hawaii judge's decision in March finding the ban violated the Constitution because its primary purpose was to disfavor Muslims. On June 26, the Supreme Court allowed parts of the travel ban to go into effect and will hear oral arguments on the case this fall.  The court is allowing the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States."  On July 15, a federal judge in Hawaii further weakened the already-diluted travel ban by vastly expanding the list of U.S. family relationships that visitors from six Muslim-majority countries can use to get into the country.  The judge ordered the government to allow into the country grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S.  But the Trump administration appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court and the court let stand the Hawaii judge's order.

Pushback: The Washington Examiner editorialized on January 28: "The list of Middle East countries with residents he wants to bar from entry to the U.S. omits Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. Those happen to be the five Middle Eastern countries where he (Trump) has hotels.  Saudi Arabia is a notable exception from the visa list because 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers came from there." Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post on January 28 commented, "Also untouched by Friday's executive order is the United Arab Emirates, a powerful Muslim ally with whom the United States nevertheless has complicated relations.  Trump has licensed his name to a Dubai golf resort, as well as a luxury home development and spa." 

      9. ...And implement "extreme vetting"  STATUS - First steps taken

Background: Trump first brought up the idea of extreme vetting in August, 2016 comparing it to ideological screening tests used in the Cold War. He has said that Muslims or at least those from "terror-prone" countries would be the targets. Trump said the United States needs to screen members of terrorist organizations and vet "any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles — or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law." 

Update: On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order requesting a 90-day interagency review of existing screening measures to ensure that "radical Islamic terrorists" cannot get into the U.S. and "ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has directed diplomatic missions to identify "populations warranting increased security," and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups, Reuters reported March 24. "Most posts already have populations that they look at for fraud and security issues," said Jay Gairson, a Seattle-based immigration attorney. "What this language effectively does is give the consular posts permission to step away from the focused factors they have spent years developing and revising, and instead broaden the search to large groups based on gross factors such as nationality and religion." The New York Times reported on June 12 Trump has so far made few changes to the way people enter the U.S. from countries he has deemed the most dangerous, despite his frequent campaign promises to institute "extreme vetting." Administration officials say they are handcuffed because of vetting restrictions imposed by one of the federal judges who put a hold on the revised travel ban. On March 17, government lawyers asked Judge Derrick Watson of the U. S. District Court for the District of Hawaii if he had meant to stop the government from proceeding with the 90-day interagency vetting review directed by the President.  The judge said yes. However, on June 26, the Supreme Court lifted the order and allowed the review of vetting procedures to proceed.  

Reality Check: The U.S., The Hill reported, already had the most stringent vetting system for refugees in the world. Individuals seeking refugee or asylum status in the U.S. must register with the United Nations, pass a series of security checks, interview with State Department contractors, pass another background check, complete an in-person interview, participate in a cultural orientation course and pass one final security check at an American airport upon arrival. There are 2,000 Americans and/or contractors in 80 countries working to combat international terrorism, including running screening programs that target high-risk travelers. To see the process put into place by President Obama, see:


      10.  Bar Syrian refugees from entering the country - STATUS -  Promise partially kept

Background: ...and kick out any who are already living here. (PROMISE DROPPED) 

Update: The president signed an executive order on January 27 indefinitely banning all Syrian refugees from entry into the United States. On February 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal rejected the Justice Department's request to lift a Seattle-based judge's restraining order blocking the Trump executive order. On March 7, the president signed a new executive order blocking citizens from Syria from obtaining visas for at least 90 days and suspending admission of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days. On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against the executive order.  A Maryland federal judge subsequently issued a second ruling against the ban on March 16.

On May 26, Anna Giaritelli at the Washington Examiner reported that "the State Department will no longer restrict the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S., a huge break from what President Trump promised on the campaign trail last year.  Organizations that help refugees resettle in the U.S. were informed about an abrupt change to allow the level of refugees that would be 'unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place,' according to an email State official Jennifer Smith said in an email to groups on Thursday." On June 26, the Supreme Court allowed parts of President Donald Trump's travel ban to go into effect and will hear oral arguments on the case this fall.  The court is allowing the ban to go into effect for foreign nationals who lack any "bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States."  Refugees can claim "concrete hardship" ---but in the end, if they "lack any such connection to the United States...the balance tips in favor of the government's compelling need to provide for the Nation's security."  

     International Trade 

      11. Renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or withdraw from deal - STATUS - First step taken

UPDATE: During the campaign, candidate Trump called NAFTA "the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country." On January 22, President Trump addressed the future of NAFTA while swearing in his senior staff. "I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA," Trump said.  "But we're going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security on the border." On March 8, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said negotiations will begin "the latter part of this year." On March 30, the Wall Street Journal reported "The Trump administration is signaling to Congress it will seek mostly modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement in coming negotiations with Mexico and Canada despite President Donald Trump having called the trade deal a 'disaster' in the campaign. The U.S. would keep some of NAFTA's most controversial provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors in the three nations circumvent local courts." The Trump administration on May 18 formally told Congress it intends to renegotiate NAFTA. Talks with Canada and Mexico can begin after a 90-day period of consultation with Congress. On July 25, the New York Times reported that the administration had sent a 17-page document to Congress outlining its negotiation priorities, including reducing the U.S. trade deficit and including new provisions to "eliminate unfair subsidies" and more authority to crack down on cheap imports. And on August 16, negotiations began between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.  U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who heads the American team, said, "We cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved, because of incentives, intended or not, in the current agreement. I want to be clear that (Trump) is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters.  We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvements." President Trump on August 22 said he doubts the U.S. can reach a deal with Mexico and Canada.  "I think we'll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point."   

Comment: Michael Grunwald at Politico reported on April 4, "In his apocalyptic campaign speeches, Donald Trump routinely cited two catastrophic messes he would clean up as president:  Obamacare and NAFTA. Then his push to undo Obamacare became his first policy fiasco in the White House.  Now Trump may be posed to repeat history with NAFTA. Like Obamacare, NAFTA is an imperfect deal, but not the unmitigated disaster that Trump pretends it is - and, as with Obamacare, any fix would involve difficult trade-offs through a painstaking process that would create winners and losers.  It's another issue where there's no way for the president to wave a wand and make everyone happy, especially when so many people like the status quo."

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: According to the February 24 issue of The Week, NAFTA - negotiated by George H. W. Bush and signed by Bill Clinton - has had mixed results.  The Good: Trade between the three countries has grown from $290 billion in 1993 to $1.1 trillion in 2016.  It lifted tariffs and protected intellectual property.  Today, about 14 million U.S. jobs are directly related to trade with Mexico and Canada, two of the top three trading partners with the United States. The bad and ugly:  The trade balance between the U.S. and Mexico flip-flopped from a $1.7 billion American surplus to a $49.2 billion deficit.  Nearly 800,000 U.S. workers lost good jobs, mostly in manufacturing, according to some studies.  The number of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. quadrupled from three million in 1994 to 12 million in 2007. (Since the Great Recession in 2008, however, the net influx has been negative, with more Mexican nationals returning to their home country than arriving.)

      12. On first day in office, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership - STATUS - PROMISE KEPT

Background: On the campaign trail, candidate Trump called TPP "another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country." On January 23, President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP.

Consequence of action: John Berthelsen, the former editor of the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel, wrote, "If President Trump had set out to deliberately create a vacuum in Asia that would allow Chinese influence to grow and wreck the American position in the region, he couldn't have done a better job than by canceling U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  So, instead of China being frozen out of a trading organization that covers 40 percent of world gross domestic product and a third of world trade, it looks likely that it is the U.S. that will be frozen out." Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, "We are embarking upon insularity and smallness.  Nor is this just theory. Trump's long-promised but nonetheless abrupt withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the momentous first fruit of his foreign-policy doctrine.  Last year the prime minister of Singapore told John McCain that if we pulled out of TPP, 'You'll be finished in Asia.'  He knows the region.  For 70 years, we sustained an international system of open commerce and democratic alliances that has enabled America and the West to grow and thrive.  Global leadership is what made America great. We abandon it at our peril."

Update: On August 7, a Politico analysis found that "the 11 other TPP countries are now involved in a whopping 27 separate trade negotiations with each other, other major trading powers in the region like China and massive blocs like the EU.  Those efforts range from exploratory conversations to deals already signed and awaiting ratification.  In a further rebuke to the United States, Tokyo decided within a matter of weeks to offer the European nations virtually the same agricultural access to its market that the United States trade officials had spent two excruciating years extracting through near-monthly meetings with their Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of the broader TPP negotiations; the United States is now left out.  Meanwhile, a bloc of four Latin-American countries - Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, known as the Pacific Alliance - is quickly becoming the leading force for free trade in the region, announcing near the end of June it would commence it own negotiations with New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, heedless of its neighbor to the north.  And China, which was never a part of the TPP, senses blood in the water, it is moving quickly to assert itself, rather than the United States, as the region's trade arbiter.  China is aiming to close talks by the end of this year on its behemoth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - a trade agreement involving 15 other Asia-Pacific countries."   

       13.   Impose tariffs on many imports

Background: Trump promised to introduce the "End the Offshoring Act" within his first days in office by imposing tariffs on goods made abroad, especially those manufactured by companies formerly based in the U.S. (PROMISE DROPPED) During the campaign he also promised to heavily tax Chinese goods coming into the country.  And in December, 2016 he promised there will be a 35% "tax" on goods coming into the country from U.S. companies that move production out of the country. "We will stop these countries from taking our jobs.  I promise we can fix it so fast."

Update: Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, now leads the White House National Trade Council.  Navarro said, "Trump will impose countervailing tariffs not just on China, but on any American trade partner that cheats on its trade deals using practices such as currency manipulation and illegal export subsidies."  Trump named Robert Lighthizer, a harsh critic of China's trade practices, to be his chief trade negotiator. Lighthizer has argued that China has failed to live up to commitments made in 2001 when it joined the World Trade Organization and that tougher tactics are needed to change the system, even if it means deviating from WTO rules.  As recently as mid-January, Trump told European papers he intends to impose 35% import duties on Germany's BMWs that are built outside the U.S. and that the auto maker should scrap plans to open a new plan in Mexico and build the factory in the U.S. instead.  On May 4, Trump was interviewed by The Economist. He repeated his pledge to impose a 35% tax on goods coming into America from U.S. companies that move production out of the country. "I said, 'Look, we don't mind if you leave the country. You can build all you want out of the country, I hope you enjoy your plant.  But when you build your car, you're going to have a 35% tax when you bring it back in.  And if your numbers work, we wish you well." On July 26, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that a decision about a crackdown on imported steel for national security reasons is in a holding pattern and that "we don't want to do it at this moment." United Steelworkers President Leo Gerald demanded Trump levy additional tariffs on steel imports, which have increased 18 percent since April, according to Gerard. Trump said a final decision on a steel import tariff will remain in a holding pattern until work on other major initiatives such as tax reform, healthcare and infrastructure reform are moving forward.

On August 15, the Trump administration ordered the U.S. trade representative to investigate China's behavior on intellectual property rights.  This is known as a Section 301 investigation.  Following the investigation, the Trump administration could impose tariffs on Chinese imports. The President's frustration with his staff on this issue came to light on August 27 when AXIOS reported that during a staff meeting in the White House Trump turned to his Chief of Staff, John Kelly, and said, "For the last six months, this same group of geniuses comes in here all the time and I tell them, 'Tariffs.  I want tariffs.  And what do they do?  They bring me IP (intellectual property). I know there are some globalists in the room right now.  And they don't want, John, they don't want tariffs.  But I'm telling you, I want tariffs." 


     14. Rebuild the country's aging infrastructure - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: Trump promised, “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” Team Trump announced it has a "rough blueprint" for a $1 trillion project over 10 years, creating 3.3 million jobs. Among the stated goals: modernize airports and air traffic control systems and reconstruct the nation's roadways, waterworks and bridges. 

Update: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in December tried to tamp down expectations, telling reporters he wants "to avoid a $1 trillion stimulus."  Trump told the New York Times he didn't realize during the campaign that New Deal-style proposals to put people to work building infrastructure conflict with his party's small-government philosophy. But at his inauguration, Trump re-emphasized this promise when he said, "We will build new roads and highways and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.  We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor." Axios reported on February 27 the Trump administration is planning to put the $1 trillion infrastructure plan before Congress in 2018 when both Republicans and Democrats will support election-year projects and jobs. On April 4, Time Magazine reported "Although Trump often spoke during the campaign of unlocking $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, the pledge may prove as hollow as his promised mastery of the health care muddle.  Ten weeks after Trump's inauguration, key House and Senate leaders say they are not in talks with the White House on the plan.  And the reason is is that there is no blueprint to discuss. Only in early March did White House economic adviser Gary Cohn convene a meeting to create a framework for drafting a proposal."  On April 17 in Wisconsin, Trump promised a "big infrastructure bill.  Infrastructure is coming, and it's coming fast." On May 22, President Trump submitted to Congress his 2018 budget, asking for $200 billion over 10 years for infrastructure, exactly 20% of what he promised during the campaign.   "Simply providing more Federal funding for infrastructure is not the solution," the White House said in its budget document.

On July 23, Glenn Thrush of the New York Times wrote: "An ambitious public works plan, arguably (President Trump's) best chance of rising above the partisan rancor of his first six months in office, is fast becoming an afterthought. Infrastructure remains stuck near the rear of the legislative line. It awaits the resolution of tough negotiations over the budget, the debt ceiling, a tax overhaul, a new push to toughen immigrations laws - and the enervating slog to enact a replacement for the Affordable Care Act." On August 17, President Trump announced he would not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on infrastructure.  Its cancellation follows Trump's announcement that he was disbanding two other business advisory panels.

15.  Grow the nation's economy by 4 to 6 percent

Background: Candidate Trump said that his policies as president will boost GDP growth to 4%, which is about double the average seen in this century. In some speeches, Trump said his plans would result in even higher GDP growth, perhaps as strong as 5% or 6%. In fact, on October 19, 2016, Bloomberg reported, "Republican Donald Trump says his plan would push growth 5 or 6% while Democrat Hillary Clinton's plan would push economy to contraction." 

Benchmarks: In December, 2016, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. The stock market and home prices are both at record heights. Annual economic growth has averaged 2.1 percent since the recession ended in 2009. Currently, 11.5 percent of men ages 25 to 54 are outside the labor force and wages grew 2.1 percent over the past 12 months.

Update: At a press conference April 24, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said, "3% or higher sustained economic growth" is the administration's target. However, on May 9 Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said 3% growth is not possible this year and not until all of the Trump administration's tax, regulatory, trade and energy policies are fully in place. GDP growth in the first and second quarters of 2017 was averaged 1.9%.  In 2016, GDP grew 1.5 percent; in 2015, 2.9 percent and in 2014, 2.6 percent. A revision to second-quarter gross domestic product showed a gain of three percent, the first period to reach that level since the first quarter of 2015.

Writes Juan Williams at TheHill.com on September 4, "Candidate Trump also promised that he would produce 25 million jobs in 10 years with 4 percent GDP growth.  Last week, before news of job growth lagging for the month of August, he went back on that promise by claiming that if he can sustain 3 percent growth it will result in '12 million new jobs.'  But even Trump's crowing about 3 percent GDP growth is misleading.  There were eight quarters during Obama's eight years in office during which GDP growth rose about 3 percent.  In the third quarter of 2014, growth surged to 5.2 percent."

      16. Create 25 Million New Jobs

Perhaps no promise was more critical to Trump’s ability to win over voters than the one guaranteeing he would be “the greatest jobs president God ever created.” The Trump campaign pledged that his policies would create 25 million jobs over the next decade, mostly as a result of tax cuts, deregulation, and new trade deals.

Benchmarks: During President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, somewhere between 9 and 14 million jobs were created, compared to 5.7 million under George W. Bush and 21 million under Bill Clinton. America’s official unemployment rate has dropped steadily since 2010, and remained below 5% in 2016. The last time unemployment was consistently this low was before the Great Recession.

Update: In July, 2017, unemployment dropped to 4.3% and the economy added 209,000 jobs. Employers have added a total of 1,074,000 jobs in Trump's first six full months in office, on pace to match the 1,084,000 jobs created during President Obama's last six months in office.

      17.  Bring manufacturing back jobs from China and Mexico and Japan, etc.

Background: Among his related promises included "Get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country" and convince Ford Motor Co. to not build a massive new plant in Mexico.

Trump also called China the "grand champion" of currency manipulators. He said previous U.S. presidents "haven't had a clue" about how to deal with it.  "I will direct the secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator" in the first 100 days of his presidency. (PROMISE DROPPED) On April 12, a week after meeting the president of China, President Trump told the Wall Street Journal, "They're not current manipulators." According to the report, Trump changed his mind about China so as not to "strain the relationship between China and the United States as the two discuss handling the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea." On April 29, Trump said, "When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there.  Number one, they - as soon as I got elected, they stopped."  The New York Times reported that China actually stopped in 2014.

Action on the job front:

·       Ford announced in January it would cancel plans to build a new plant in Mexico.  It will invest $700 million instead in Michigan, creating 700 new jobs. Last year, the company had announced plans to invest $1.6 billion in Mexico to transfer production of the Ford Focus from Michigan to Mexico.  Now the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico and Ford will expand its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. But the New York Times reported on May 13, "When Ford canceled plans for a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, Mr. Trump tweeted his thanks for the company's 'creating 700 new jobs' in the United States. 'We didn't cut a deal with Trump,' Mark Fields, the Ford chief executive told CNN.  'We did it for our business.'" 

·       In late June, the Associated Press reported that Ford will "export vehicles from China to the U.S. for the first time starting in 2019." The company will move production of the Ford Focus from the U.S. to China, instead of to Mexico, as originally planned.  "The Trump administration was uncharacteristically subdued in its response to the news," said Todd Spangler and Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press

·       Fiat Chrysler announced in January it would spend $1 billion on U.S. manufacturing, including modernizing plants in Michigan and Ohio, a move that's set to add 2,000 jobs.  According to the company's plan, the plant in Michigan will be made capable of producing a pickup truck currently built in Mexico.   The company insisted the decision had been made more than a year ago.

·       The Seattle Times on Jan. 12 reported, "Amazon.com said it plans to hire 100,000 full-time U.S. employees over the next 18 months, a move that came amid pressure on the private sector by the incoming Trump administration to create jobs." 

·       Also in January, GM announced plans to invest $1 billion in U.S. factories and add or keep 7,000 white-collar and factory jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.  But, the paper also reported, "General Motors' announcement today is mostly theater to play in the news cycle created by President-elect Trump's tweets," said Michelle Krebs, an auto industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "These investments and hiring plans have long been in the works."  General Motors also began exporting the Buick Envision compact SUV to the U.S. last year from China.

·       On May 3, Apple announced it will invest $1 billion to start a fund geared toward boosting advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

·       On July 30, the Associated Press reported on Tawian-based Foxconn's decision to build a $10 billion plant and possibly hire up to 13,000 workers in Wisconsin to build flat-panel display screens for TVs and other electronics is a signed that "America has been regaining some of its competitive edge.  The Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit set up to restore American factory jobs, says that last year, for the first time in decades, the number of manufacturing job created by U.S. companies that moved operations back to the United States and by foreign companies invested in America exceeded the jobs lost by U.S. companies moving abroad."  Under the Wisconsin deal, Foxconn could receive up to $3 billion in state incentives over the next 15 years, equaling $230,769 per employee. On August 6, Reuters reported "Wisconsin is not expected to break even on a $3 billion incentive package...for at least 25 years, a legislative analysis showed."  April Glaser at Slate.com warned “Wisconsinites shouldn’t bust out the six-pack” in celebration just yet.  Foxconn is infamous for making big promises to job-hungry communities, only to quietly back out later.  In 2013, the company grabbed headlines by announcing it would build a $30 million factory employing 500 workers in Pennsylvania. But the plant “was never actually built, and there’s no sign it will ever happen.”  Similar deals have fallen by the wayside in Vietnam and Indonesia.

·       In early August, Toyota and Mazda announced plans to build a new $1.6 billion joint production facility in the United States, creating as many as 4,000 new jobs. Toyota also announced it would continue construction on an auto plant in central Mexico.

Fact checking: At his February 28 speech to Congress, the President took credit for Ford and many other companies announcing "that they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs." Politico reported that "many of those were already in the works before Trump took office or even won the presidency." Softbank, Fiat-Chrysler, Walmart and GM - all cited by Trump in his speech to Congress - had announced their new investments and jobs before the election. 

On May 13, Steven Rattner at the New York Times completed an analysis of Trump's claims of creating or retaining jobs for U.S. workers and concluded: "A thorough review of Mr. Trump's celebrations reveals that virtually none of the pronouncements involved jobs generated or preserved by the new president's actions.  Indeed, they mostly consisted of a rehash of old decisions - some with origins dating back as many as six years - or plans made independently by companies for their own business reasons." Rattner reported that in late March the president tweeted that he was "thrilled to announce a commitment of $25 billion and 20,000 Americans jobs over the next four years" by Charter Communications.  That commitment was made by Charter in June 2015. "In fact, there not a single job that the president can clearly take responsibility for creating and only one case of jobs being retained because of his efforts, the 800 positions that Carrier was persuaded shortly after Mr. Trump's election not to send to Mexico. Even those few jobs came at a stiff price - $7 million of incentives from the state of Indiana, where Vice President-elect Mike Pence was still governor." But on July 20, the Indy Star reported Carrier laid off 338 employees at its Indianapolis furnace factory on the sixth-month anniversary of Trump's inauguration.  "The terminations are the first wave of about 630 planned before the end of the year as the company shifts work to Mexico.  Carrier's parent company, United Technologies Corp., also plans to lay off another 700 workers at a factory in Huntington near Fort Wayne." 

     18. Get rid of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform - STATUS - First steps taken

Update: On February 3, Bloomberg Politics reported the Trump Administration has ordered - by executive action of the President - a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The 2010 law reined in risky mortgage practices and derivatives trading, and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The executive orders are intended to relieve restrictions and scrutiny that post-crisis regulations have put on banks," Bloomberg reported. "The orders are the most aggressive steps yet by Trump to loosen regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key positions." According to the Washington Examiner, "Trump and his allies have repeatedly blasted Dodd-Frank, arguing the legislation prevents community banks from lending to small businesses by forcing them to comply with the same burdensome rules that apply to big banks." On June 9, House Republicans voted to free Wall Street from may of the constraints put in place after the 2008 financial crisis in a bill that offers the country's 6,000 banks a choice: If they want to avoid many of the regulatory burdens imposed during the Obama administration, they must significantly increase their emergency financial cushion.  That way, even if they run into financial trouble, the banks should have enough money to survive without taxpayers' help.  The Washington Post also reported, "It also eases many of the regulations called for under the Obama administration's 2010 financial reform law, known as Dodd-Frank, giving community and regional banks a reprieve from many regulations.  The bill also significantly curtails the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

Pushback: Former New York Times Washington bureau chief Hedrick Smith, writing in the Sacramento Bee February 19, observed, "Trump told voters in Ottumwa, Iowa, in January 2016, 'I know Wall Street.  I know the people on Wall Street.  I'm not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us...I don't care about Wall Street guys.  I'm not taking any of their money.'  But in fact, Trump's campaign did take money from Wall Street's super rich and rewarded several with Cabinet plums. He chose three of the 'system rigging, string-pulling' Goldman Sachs veterans for his inner circle - Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, Gary Cohn as director of his National Economic Council, and Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and White House Rasputin." (Dina Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive, is now the Deputy National Security Advisor to the President. On July 21, Trump appointed former Goldman Sachs executive Anthony Scaramucci to the key White House position of Communications Director.)

19.  Allow corporations a one-time window to transfer money being held overseas - STATUS - First step taken

Background: Currently, corporations are required to pay up to 35% of their earnings in taxes to "repatriate" overseas profits. Trump has indicated he wants to charge a much-reduced one-time tax of 10 percent. It is estimated US companies hold about $2.5 trillion abroad. In its May 12 issue, The Week reported that "Apple has more than $250 billion in cash, an amount greater than the market value of Walmart and more than the foreign currency reserves of the United Kingdom and Canada combined.  More than 90 percent of Apple's cash is held outside the U.S."

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that includes an undefined one-time tax on corporate profits held overseas in an attempt to bring the money back to the U.S. On May 4, the president was interviewed by The Economist. He said the amount of cash held abroad is no longer $2.5 trillion but "anywhere from $4 trillion to $5 trillion." He repeated his promise to drop the rate from 35% to 10%.

      20. Bring back the coal industry - STATUS - First steps taken

Background:  At a memorable campaign stop in West Virginia in May, 2016, Trump told miners holding "Trump Digs Coal" signs, "Get ready, because you're going to be working your ass off!"

Update: President Trump signed a resolution February 16 repealing regulations on the coal industry that were issued by the Obama administration in its final weeks. Trump called the Stream Protection Rule regulation "another terrible job killing rule" and said ending it would save "many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines." Michelle Ye Hee Lee of the Washington Post reported June 9 that "While the domestic market has remained relatively flat, international market demands - particularly the building boom in China - have sustained the metallurgical coal industry in the United States in recent years." The Associated Press reported  June 27 that "the world's biggest coal users - China, the United States and India - have boosted coal mining in 2017...Production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or six percent, for the three countries compared to the same period last year.  The change is most dramatic in the U.S., where coal mining rose 19 percent in the first five months." The Bureau of Labor Statistic noted in June that employment in mining has risen by 47,000 since reaching a low point in October 2016. Most of the gain came in support activities for mining. 

On August 8, the New York Times reported the Trump administration is taking active steps to open government-owned land in the West to more coal mining and "exploit commercial opportunities on public lands", contrary to efforts by the Obama Administration to restrict such usage. "Mr. Trump's Interior Department is drawing up plans to reduce wilderness and historic areas that are now protected as national monuments, creating even more opportunities for profit."

The Hill reported on September 2 that Trump has nominated David Zatezalo, a former executive at Rhino, a coal company, to the nation’s top mining safety post. “During Zatezalo’s time as an executive at Rhino, the company was issued two ‘pattern of violations’ letters from MSHA over safety issues at their mines. Federal officials at the time were cracking down on safety standards after the fatal 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster in West Virginia that left 29 miners dead.”

Reality Check: Trump made his  promise to revitalize the coal industry despite America's shift to natural gas, the steady technology-driven move toward renewable energy sources and huge productivity gains in the coal industry (i.e. work that required 10 miners now requires just one.) On March 29, Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight.com reported, "Coal's biggest problem isn't regulation - it's natural gas. For decades, coal was the dominant source of electrical power in the U.S. But starting in the mid-1990s, the twin technologies of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and horizontal drilling led to a surge in natural-gas production, which in turn pushed down prices.  That, along with other facts - gas-fired power plants are cheaper to build and operate than coal-fired ones, for example - led power companies to burn more gas and less coal." Casselman said the second most powerful factor challenging the growth of coal miner employment is automation. "Employment in the mining industry has been falling for decades, a decline that long predates the recent drop in coal production."

On July 18, Jane C. Timm at NBC News reported that President Trump's recent boast that the nation had added 45,000 mining jobs recently was not backed up by the data.  "The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are roughly 50,800 coal mining jobs nationwide, 800 of which have been added since Trump took office. (The six months before that, under President Barack Obama's administration, 1,300 coal jobs were added.) This isn't the first time we've heard Trump's numbers. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt made a similar claim speaking about all mining and logging jobs earlier this year, earning a PolitiFact ruling of 'mostly false.'"

And on August 10, Bloomberg News reported Jim Justice, the governor of West Virginia, ground-zero for Trump's efforts to boost the coal industry, "told the president that rolling back environmental rules, which is Trump's current approach to helping coal country, is not going to be enough to help his state's coal miners." Gov. Jim Justice is "pitching the idea of federal coal subsidies...in which the federal government pays power plants to buy Appalachian coal." The Wall Street Journal reported Justice is seeking "some $4.5 billion a year in federal funding for eastern coalfields."

    Tax Policies 

21.  Lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% and get rid of most corporate tax loopholes or incentives - STATUS - First step taken

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that would reduce corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% for multinational corporations and mom-and-pop shops. On June 20, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Pence addressed the National Association of Manufacturers' and promised passage of a massive tax reform bill by the end of the year. "We're going to pass the largest tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan, and we're going to do it this year," promise Ryan. However, on July 7 in Forbes.com, Stan Collender forecast a difficult road ahead for tax reform due to the inability - so far- of Congress to repeal and/or replace Obamacare. "Unless the GOP decides to drop its repeal and replace efforts entirely, failing to do something on health care in July will further delay (1) the fiscal 2018 congressional budget resolution, (2) fiscal 2018 appropriations and (3) tax reform. It's simple: No budget resolution means no tax reform this year."  On July 31, the White House announced that tax reform markups will begin in September and advance through the House and Senate in October and November, 2017.

Reality check:  Brian Faler reported in Politico.com that Republicans have very little chance of forging a consensus on comprehensive tax reform which means a simple tax cut that increases the deficit may be their only realistic option.  The nation's massive tax code gives breaks to hundreds of special-interest groups, including whale hunters, retired policemen, ministers, veterans, the blind, shipwreck survivors, art collectors, as well as tax breaks for home owners with mortgages and those who pay state and local taxes.  To cut overall tax rates without ballooning the deficit, as Republicans seek to do, most of these special tax breaks would have to be eliminated, a task Faler describes as "insurmountable."  

      22.  Give middle class a large tax cut and reduce the number of tax brackets  

Background: Trump promised in his "Contract with the American Voter," that the "largest tax reductions are for the middle class." Other elements of his promise include: eliminate the "marriage penalty" for taxpayers, get rid of the alternate minimum tax, and eliminate income tax on single individuals earning less than $25,000 per year or couples earning less than $50,000.

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three, with rates of 10%, 25% and 35%.  Among the deductions eliminated include payment of state and local taxes. It would also double the standard deduction, which currently is $12,700 for a married couple filing jointly.  The question of whether the tax proposal would be a large tax cut for the middle class is impossible to determine because the income levels for each tax bracket have not been announced by the administration. ABC News reported, however, that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he couldn't say how Trump's sweeping tax overhaul plan would affect the president personally or guarantee that middle-class families wouldn't pay more under the proposal. On May 28, President Trump tweeted:  "The massive TAX CUTS/REFORM that I have submitted is moving along in the process very well, actually ahead of schedule.  Big benefits to all!" On June 1, President Trump told a White House gathering that the tax legislation is advancing through Congress.  "Our tax bill is moving along in Congress, and I believe it's doing very well."  The media reported that there is no tax bill written - let alone under consideration - in the House or Senate. In August, with no tax bill on the table, Republican lobbyists begin to predict tax reform won't get approved in 2017. Politico reported August 17, "Treasury is still in the early stages of hammering out the details of a plan."  Lobbyist Jim Gould commented, "There is not a realistic chance that any of this gets finished this year, because of the delays posed by the budget process and the sheer complexity of the tax drafting process - among other things."   

Are the rich (and President Trump) getting the largest tax cut? NBC News' First Read quotes the New York Times as pointing out: "The 15 percent rate (according to Trump's tax plan) would apply both to corporations, which now pay 35 percent, and to a broad range of firms known as pass-through entities - including hedge funds, real estate concerns like Mr. Trump's and large partnerships - that currently pay taxes at individual rates, which top off at 39.6 percent." First Read then points out, that "going from 39.6% to 15% is a big break right? Don't forget this Trump exchange on Today last year: Savannah Guthrie: Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?  Trump:  I do. I do. Including myself. I do."  On July 25, TheIntercept.com reported that top White House adviser Steve Bannon is pushing for tax reform to include a new 44% top marginal tax rate, hitting people who earn more than $5 million a year with the revenue paying for tax cuts for the middle class. In the same week, President Trump told the Wall Street Journal, "If there's an upward revision (on personal tax rates) it's going to be on high-income people. The people I care most about are the middle-income people in this country, who have gotten screwed."  Trump also said, "You know, I was with Bob Kraft the other night.  He came to have dinner with me.  He's a friend of mine.  And as he left, he said, Donald, don't worry about the rich people. Tax the rich people.  You got to take care of the people in the country.  It was a very interesting statement. I feel the same way."

On September 15, the New York Times reported, "Mr. Trump also reiterated what he said earlier this week, declaring that the tax plan would not benefit the wealthiest Americans. 'This is not a plan for the rich,' Mr. Trump added."

      23.  Eliminate the carried interest loophole for Wall Street 

Background: What is the carried interest loophole? It's a 20% tax rate that allows Wall Street investors, hedge fund managers, real estate developers and mutual fund managers to avoid the 39.6% tax rate paid by salaried Americans.  They do this with investments that are taxed as long-term capital gains rather than as ordinary income.

Update: On July 17, AXIOS reported that Victor Fleischer, the co-chief tax counsel for Senate Finance Committee Democrats, is returning to the University of San Diego faculty after a year in Washington.  Fleischer was the author of the 2006 academic paper on carried interest taxation that kicked off a national debate over how hedge fund and private equity investors are taxed.  Fleischer argued that carried interest - the percentage of investment profits retained by fund managers - should be treated as ordinary income, rather than at lower capital gains rates.  Fleischer said he might have stuck it out in Washington if he felt the prospects for 2017 tax reform were stronger.

      24. Eliminate the federal estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and the so-called marriage penalty that affects some high-income earners.  - STATUS - First step taken

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that included elimination of the federal estate tax and the alternative minimum tax. Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com wrote the tax proposals forwarded by the Trump administration will be a "massive tax cut for the rich," including the President and his family. Scrapping the alternative minimum tax, which cost Trump $31 million in 2005, will save him millions going forward and ending the estate tax would save the Trump family up to $4 billion. On May 19, USA Today reported that conservative billionaire Charles Koch is launching a multimillion dollar campaign to drive Trump's tax plan through Congress.  "About 550 ultra-wealthy donors help finance the constellation of political and non-profit groups associated with Koch and his brother David."

    Domestic Policies 
      25.  Paid maternity leave plus make child care more affordable - STATUS - First steps taken

Background: During a speech in suburban Pennsylvania, candidate Trump, flanked by his daughter Ivanka Trump, a working mother who helped craft the policies, said he would seek to make child care expenses tax deductible for families earning less than $500,000 and called for establishing tax-free accounts to be used for child care and child enrichment activities. He also called for guaranteeing six weeks' maternity leave to biological mothers by extending unemployment insurance benefits to working mothers whose employers do not offer paid maternity leave.

Update: At his first speech before Congress in late February, President Trump told the nation: "My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave."  The proposal would cost an estimated $500 billion over 10 years, according to Bloomberg. On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page tax reform proposal that offers "relief for families with child and dependent expenses" but doesn't explicitly say what form this relief would take. On May 22, President Trump released his 2018 budget, which includes $25 billion over 10 years to support Ivanka Trump's family leave proposal. The program, which Republicans have long resisted, would give fathers and mothers six weeks of paid time-off to care for a new child and would, according to the White House, benefit 1.3 million caregivers.  

On May 25, the Wall Street Journal criticized Ivanka Trump's plan in an editorial: "President Trump is asking Republicans to start a bidding war for government family benefits, which is bad policy and worse politics. Mr. Trump's budget would require states to provide six weeks of paid family leave for new mothers and fathers, as well as adoptive parents."  Ivanka Trump responded in a WSJ piece defending her proposal. "The reality is that in 63% of American homes with children, all parents work.  Providing a national guaranteed paid-leave program - with a reasonable time limit and benefit cap - isn't an entitlement, it's an investment in America's working families."  She went on to point out, "A 2012 study found that women who took paid family leave were more likely to be working a year after their child's birth than those who didn't take leave, and that women who took leave and returned to work were 39% less likely to report receiving public assistance than those who didn't."

In a speech in Missouri on August 30 promoting his tax reform plan, President Trump middle class tax relief will include provisions that help parents afford child care.  

      26. Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress. - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: The Trump campaign issued the "Donald J. Trump Contract with the American Voter" and listed, as its first promise, a term limit Constitutional Amendment. The "Contract" stated: "On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C." #1 - a term limit Constitution amendment. At a campaign rally on October 18, 2016, Trump said, "If I'm elected president, I will push for a constitutional amendment to impost term limits on all members of Congress." 

Update: No action or proposals have been forwarded by the Trump administration regarding this promise. There is also no evidence that he has spoken publicly about this promise since his inauguration. 

27.  Reduce and eliminate the $19 trillion national debt - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: Reducing and eliminating the national debt will be achieved by "vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, ending redundant government programs and growing the economy to increase tax revenues."  Part of this plan would be implementing the "Penny Plan," reducing net spending by 1% each year. (But exempting defense and public safety spending.) Trump promised "the plan will reduce spending by almost $1 trillion without touching defense or entitlement spending." He also told the Washington Post he would be able to get rid of the nation’s more than $19 trillion national debt “over a period of eight years."

Update: Trump named Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to the key position of director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Mulvaney promised "The Trump administration will restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington after eight years of an out-of-control, tax and spend financial agenda." However, less than a week after his inauguration, President Trump told Sean Hannity, "So a balanced budget is fine.  But sometimes you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy going.  And we have to take care of our military.  Our military is more important to me than a balance budget." On March 3, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson wrote: "Trump's budget does little to please Republican budget hawks.  Trump is proposing to shift spending into defense and law enforcement, with no net cut in spending.  'He seems to be arguing,' says Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, 'for keeping the same budget trajectory we are on now, but still taking the political pain and human cost of big discretionary cuts.' That is not an easy sell to Republicans."  Then on April 12, Susan Wright at Redstate quoted Mulvaney explaining Trump's promise to eliminate the national debt.  "It's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole.  I'm not going to be able to pay off $20 trillion worth of debt in four years.  I'd be being dishonest with you if I said I could.  The reason the president doesn't want to change some of the mandatory spending is because the public's not ready for it yet." On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page description of its tax reform proposal, including large tax cuts for corporations and, in particular, wealthy individuals, but did not provide any analysis of how much it would increase the national debt.  Experts interviewed by ABC News largely agreed the proposal would significantly reduce federal revenue and balloon the national deficit. On May 4, President Trump was interviewed by The Economist. They asked if it was okay if his tax plan increased the deficit. "It is OK, because it won't increase it for long.  You may have two years where you'll...you understand the expression 'prime the pump'? We have to prime the pump."  On May 24, Dan Primack at AXIOS reported that the 2018 budget released May 22 by President Trump, "double-counted more than $2 trillion in estimated tax revenue. As such, the budget would not balance over 10-years (as promised), even if the U.S. economy were to hit sustained 3% growth (as projected by the White House, but by very few others.)"  Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank quoted Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as saying he was "honestly surprised" he could balance the budget at all.  "How?" asked Milbank.  "By making magical assumptions.  'You can never balance the budget at 1.9 percent' growth, said Mulvaney. And so - voila! - the Trump administration assumes a 3 percent growth for the next 10 years, a level not seen in decades.  Magical assumptions make budgets magically balance."

On July 15, Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press reported the "White House says worsening tax revenues will cause the budget deficit to jump to $702 billion this year.  That's a $99 billion spike from what was predicted less than two months ago.  The White House budget office also says the deficit for the 2018 budget year that starts on Oct. 1 will increase by $149 billion to $589 billion." On September 6, President Trump agreed to a three-month debt ceiling increase and budget deal with congressional leaders that included $15 billion in hurricane relief and not a cent of cuts. When budget manager Mulvaney asked the House GOP members to vote for the bill, he was booed. Politico reported, "They remember (former Congressman Mulvaney) adamantly rejecting previous debt ceiling increases and pushing to tie disaster to spending cuts, most notably after Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey in 2012."

In September, Texas, Florida and other states were hard hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Trump immediately signed a $15 billion relief package.  Wrote federal budget expert Stan Collender at Forbes.com, "With preliminary relief estimates ranging between $100 billion and $200 billion and almost no one in Washington pushing for offsets for that spending, the federal deficit could easily approach $1 trillion in both 2018 and 2019."

      28. Get rid of Common Core

Background: Common Core created a set of academic standards within the subjects of English and math throughout our public school system. Trump pledged to abolish Common Core, saying that education should be managed on a local level – not a national one (though Common Core is not a federal program). He called Common Core "a disaster" and a "very bad thing." 

Update: TIME magazine reported on December 22, "Both Trump and (Secretary of Education Betsy) DeVos have promised to 'end' the controversial state-based achievement standards.  But the Education Department is forbidden under the new federal law from either setting such benchmarks or incentivizing states of adopt them.  Common Core was adopted by state lawmakers, and will also have to be dismantled by them."  And, according to a report by the Washington Post in April, many states are still using the standards. "A recent analysis found that of the 46 states that adopted the standards, eight states have officially repealed or withdrawn, 21 states have finalized revisions - many of them minor - or have revision processes underway, and 27 states have not made any changes." But that hasn't stopped DeVos from claiming, as she did in April on Fox News that the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 has done away with Common Core. "There isn't really any Common Core anymore.  Each state is able to set standards for their state.  They may elect to adopt very high standards for their student to aspire to and to work toward.  And that will be up to each state."  But as the Washington Post pointed out in its story, "Of course there still is something known as Common Core.  What she may have meant was that the federal government can't tell states what to do about the Core, though, again, it couldn't force state to adopt them before ESSA was passed."

      29. "Be the nation's biggest cheerleader for school choice." 

Background: Trump has expressed support for allowing families to redirect their share of education spending to a private, charter, magnet, religious or homeschool.  He also said he supports $20 billion in federal funding to send low-income students to private and charter schools.

Pushback: TIME magazine in December reported: "Trump's federal voucher plan would require not only that Congress allocate $20 billion to the program - a potentially heavy lift given that lawmakers have already promised tax cuts and a balance budget. It would also require states to pony up another $110 billion."

Update: On February 28, at his first speech before Congress, the President said, "I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them." On March 3, the President visited, with his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, a Catholic private school in Florida to praise school vouchers as an antidote to failing schools and falling test scores.  The school has embraced a Florida state program that uses public money to allow low-income students to attend private schools.

      30. Appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade - STATUS - First step taken

Background: At the third debate, Trump was asked about abortion by moderator Chris Wallace. He confirmed that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade — the monumental court case that legalized abortion in 1973.

Update:  President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 8.  As of this date, there are no pending cases before the Supreme Court that will test the President's promise.

     31.  On his first day in office, get rid of gun-free zones at military bases and in schools - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Candidate Trump pledged to eliminate gun-free zones on his first day in office to keep the United States safe from mass shootings.  "I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and - you have to - and on military bases," told a Burlington, VT. rally January 8, 2016.  "My first day, it gets signed, okay?  My first day.  There's no more gun-free zones." (The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act prohibits firearms from being carried in schools.)

Update: By April 1, President Trump had signed 11 measures from Congress revoking regulations that took effect during the final months of the Obama administration, including limitations on gun purchases by 75,000 mentally ill people determined by the Social Security Administration to be incapable of handling their own finances. He has not, however, taken any action or made any comments regarding his promise to get rid of gun-free zones.  On April 25, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing 60 percent of gun owners believe firearms should not be allowed in schools.

     32. Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cutting benefits 

Background: Trump promised repeatedly during his White House bid not to touch entitlements. "I'm not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid." He added, "Have to do it.  Get rid of the fraud.  Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it." Before entering the race he tweeted, "I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid."  He also tweeted, in 2015, "The Republicans who want to cut (Social Security) & Medicaid are wrong."

Update: On March 6 the House leadership introduced a repeal and replace bill for Obamacare that would cut, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $880 billion from federal Medicaid funds over the next 10 years.  In all, CBO projected that total Medicaid spending would be 25 percent less in 2026 than under current law. The program would insure 14,000,000 fewer Americans. And on March 16, the House Budget Committee voted to recommend further cuts to Medicaid beyond the $880 billion already targeted. On March 24, House Speaker Ryan and President Trump, who called the bill "wonderful," pulled the repeal and replace bill after Republicans in the House declined support. However, on May 4, the House passed the bill - the American Health Care Act - which includes the $880 billion cut to Medicaid. President Trump on May 22 released his 2018 budget proposal which, in fact, would cut Medicaid and several Social Security programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance, by over $850 billion over the next ten years. Medicaid currently covers about 73 million Americans. SSDI covers approximately 10 million Americans. 

     33. Fire "the corrupt and incompetent" leaders of the Department of Veterans Affairs - STATUS - First steps taken

Background: And dramatically reform the agency, including investigating "the fraud, cover-ups and wrongdoing" at the VA and allowing veterans to access any medical facility that accepts Medicaid patients. Trump's 10-point plan to fix the VA focuses, in part, on the firing and disciplining "corrupt and incompetent VA executives that let our veterans down. New leadership will focus the VA staff on delivering timely, top quality care and other services to our nation's veterans."

Update: The House of Representatives on June 13 passed a bill that will make it easier for the Veterans Affairs Department to fire managers accused of misconduct.  The bill passed the Senate June 6. President Trump signed the bill June 22. The bill, which was supported overwhelmingly by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, will make it easier for the department to fire employees.  The bill was backed by VA Secretary David Shulkin, an Obama administration holdover, who called the department's employee accountability process "clearly broken." The new law will lower the burden of proof to fire employees. On July 9, Joe Davidson at the Washington Post reported that 525 VA doctors, nurses, housekeepers, grave diggers and others have been fired since Trump was inaugurated. 

Benchmarks: According to the Washington Post, there were more than 77,000 federal employees fired for performance or conduct issues from 2000 to 2014, an average of more than 5,000 a year.

     34. Defund Planned Parenthood

Update:  On April 13, President Trump signed a resolution that will allow states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  The resolution overturns a rule enacted by the Obama administration last year that prevented states from defunding Planned Parenthood.  Now, states can withhold federal family planning grants. On April 30, House and Senate leaders approved a 2017 budget that continues to fund Planned Parenthood. However, on May 4, the House passed the American Health Care Act, which would de-fund Planned Parenthood, and sent the bill to the Senate. On July 27, the Senate failed, for a third time in a week, to approve a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.     

     35. Gut, if not eliminate, the Environmental Protection Agency - STATUS - First steps taken

Background:  Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, a key foe of EPA regulations, to lead the agency. Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the federal government over the agency's Clear Power Plan, the Obama administration's principal policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas admissions. He also sued, along with others, the federal government over regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane.

Update: On April 30, House and Senate negotiators agreed to a 2017 budget that would trim the EPA budget just one percent, with no staff cuts. But on May 23, President Trump released his 2018 budget which cuts the EPA budget by 30.5%. On July 2, the New York Times reported that Pruitt has "moved to undo, delay or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules, a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency's 47-year history."  Actions include proposals to undo or weaken Obama's climate change regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, efforts to undo Obama-era rules curbing pollution in the nation's waterways, delaying rules that would require fossil fuel companies to rein in leaks of methane from oil and gas wells (NOTE: A federal appeals court on July 4 ruled that Pruitt overstepped his authority on this matter.) and reversing a ban on the use of a pesticide that the E.P.A.'s own scientists have said is linked to damage of children's nervous systems.  Said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard, "(Pruitt) is much more organized, much more focused than the other cabinet-level officials, who have not really taken charge of their agencies.  It's very striking how much they've done." 

Commentary:  Alex Guillen at Politico wrote on June 18,  "The Trump administration isn't just pushing to dramatically shrink the Environmental Protection Agency, chop a third of its budget and hobble its regulatory powers.  It's also trying to permanently limit the EPA's mission - while portraying doing so as a return to the agency's roots. What Administrator Scott Pruitt calls his 'Back to Basics' agenda would refocus the agency on narrow goals such as cleaning up toxic waste and providing safe drinking water. But it would abandon the Obama administrator's climate regulations, along with other efforts that Pruitt argues exceed the agency's legal authority." 

       36. Move forward with the Keystone Pipeline - STATUS - first steps taken

Background: The Obama administration rejected the application for the Keystone SL pipeline in 2015, arguing, in part, that it encourage the use of fossil fuels and would harm the U.S.'s standing in the world as a leader in fighting climate change. Trump promised during the 2016 campaign to overturn the Obama administration's rulings and barriers.

Update:  On March 24, the Trump administration gave the pipeline its key federal permits.  The 875-mile line would carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of heavy oil sands petroleum from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, where the oil would continue through existing lines to the Gulf Coast to be refined. Environmentalists have vowed to fight the decision "in the streets and in the courts." The final decision on whether to actually build the pipeline is due before the end of the year. 

      37. Rebuild and fix the inner cities - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  After complaining about the lack of jobs and an alleged increase in crime in American cities, Trump promised, "I'm going to fix it." 

"I'll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you're not gonna be shot."  He promised to stop the crime in Chicago within "one week."

UPDATE: At his inauguration, President Trump said, "For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

On April 24, the Chicago Tribune reported: "The number of people shot in Chicago this year is nearing 1,000 after a violent weekend left seven dead and 31 others wounded.  As of Monday morning, at least 992 people had been shot in Chicago this year.  Last year, the city passed the 1,000 marked on April 20 and had reached 1,054 by this time." The Associated Press reported August 1 that the total killed in Chicago is more than 400 "and puts the city on pace to eclipse last year's total." In the first 200 days of 2017, U.S. gun deaths were up more than 12 percent over 2016. Firearms injuries were up nearly eight percent. In the first eight months of his presidency, Trump or Congress has made no effort to address this issue.

    US Military  

38.  Strengthen the military - STATUS - First steps taken

Background: So that it's "so big and so strong and so great" that "nobody's going to mess with us." First step: ask Congress to repeal the defense sequester.  Other related promises: Grow the Naval fleet to 350 ships and subs and increase both the size of Army and Marine Corps. 

Update: On May 22, President Trump submitted his 2018 budget to Congress, seeking a 10 percent increase - $54 billion - in the Pentagon's base budget, with some of the money going toward new jets and ships. On September 18, Politico reported that the Senate "overwhelmingly" passed a $692 billion defense policy bill for the next fiscal year, "well above the $603 billion requested by the administration."  

Pushback: The Washington Examiner reported on February 5, "There's only one big problem:  Congress, specifically, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which created across-the-board spending caps for 10 years.  Democrats have insisted that any increase in Pentagon spending must also include hikes in non-defense spending.  Republican deficit hawks also believe the military wastes too much money to warrant opening the federal checkbook. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain argues it will take about $430 billion increase above current Pentagon spending plans for fiscal 2018 - 2022 to make up for the limitation of the sequestration spending caps." 

     International Relations  
      39. Find an "out" clause in the Iran deal - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  And then "totally" renegotiate the whole thing.  On April 5, President Trump described the deal as "one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed." On April 20, he said, "Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement, and they have to do that. It's a terrible agreement."

At his confirmation hearing in January, Gen. James Mattis, Donald Trump's secretary of defense nominee, said he believed the United States should stick with the Iran deal.  "I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement -- it's not a friendship treaty.  But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."  However, just days later, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said in a Sunday morning TV show that the Iran deal is "on life support" and "it's yet to be seen" if President Trump will uphold or scrap it. 

Update: On February 3, House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged the Iran nuclear deal is likely to stay in place. "I don't think you're going to go back and reconstitute the multilateral sanctions that were in place," he told Meet the Press. David Andelman, the editor emeritus of World Policy Journal, wrote on March 3, "You don't hear that 'rip it up' language any longer. And you won't. Indeed, in his landmark message to Congress on Tuesday, the President touched only once on Iran. It was becoming increasingly clear that if Trump were to follow through on his ill-considered threat to 'tear up' the agreement, he would be doing so alone.  None of the other signatories to the pack - Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - have made any move to follow him." 

On April 5, Nasser Karimi and John Gambrel of the Associated Press reported the Boeing Co. had signed a $3 billion deal with an Iranian airline for 30 new aircraft, with an option for another 30, forcing "Trump to choose between two major campaign promises: Taking a harder line against Iran or defending American manufacturing jobs.  'On the one hand, there's the attraction of jobs and export orders for American goods.  On the other hand, of course, they were elected partly on the promise of getting tough on Iran,' said Richard Aboulafia, an aircraft analyst and vice president of analysis at the Virginia-based Tel Group. ' They'll have to make tough decisions.'"  Boeing says the deal will create 18,000 U.S. jobs. On April 29, Boeing ran ads in major U.S. newspapers congratulation President Trump on his first 100 days in office.  "Thank you, President Trump, for your commitment to U.S. manufacturing and to making American businesses more globally competitive." 

The New York Times reported that in April and May President Trump "quietly signed crucial waivers to certain sanctions that allow the (Boeing) deal to remain in place and let Iran conduct international business and gain access to funds long frozen by the U.S."  NBC News' First Read commented, "The Trump administration admitting that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal - despite so much GOP rhetoric to the contrary - is another reminder that, besides its rhetoric and firing off some cruise missiles in Syria, Team Trump is still pretty much following the Obama playbook, at least when it comes to actions." On July 17, the Trump administration again certified to Congress that Iran is still complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. However, in late July Foreign Policy reported that Trump is fed up with Secretary of State Tillerson's position on Iran and has created a White House panel charged with making the case that Tehran is not upholding its side of the nuclear deal.  Sources say Trump has asked Tillerson to lay the groundwork for allowing Trump to declare Tehran was not in compliance and "Tillerson did not do this, and Trump is infuriated."

On September 15, the New York Times reported, "President Trump kept the Iran nuclear deal alive on Thursday as a critical deadline lapsed, a sign that he is stepping back from his threat to abandon an agreement he repeatedly disparaged...Thursday's congressionally imposed deadline, to renew an exemption to sanctions on Iran suspended under the 2015 deal, was significant because had the president reimposed economic punishments on Iran, he would have effectively violated the accord."     

      40.  Allow Russia to deal with the Islamic State in Syria - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: In 2013, when President Obama was mulling a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's first use of chemical weapons, citizen Trump tweeted, "We should stay the hell out of Syria!" Two years later, candidate Trump told CNN's Erin Burnett in September, 2015, that the U.S. should let Russia fight it out against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.  "You have Russia that's now there. Russia's on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don't want 'em coming into Russia. Let them fight, take over the remnants.  Let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight 'em..in Syria. Let Syria and ISIS fight. What do we care?" A year later, on October 26, 2016, candidate Trump said, "What we should do is focus on ISIS.  We should not be focusing on Syria.  You're going to end up in World War III over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton...You're not fighting Syria anymore, you're fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?  Russia is a nuclear country."

Update: On April 6, President Trump ordered a military attack on a Syrian airfield in response to an April 4 chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on a rebel-held town. The U.S. military, after notifying the Russians, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into the airfield. On June 19, Nahal Toosi at Politico.com reported that U.S. forces are actively involved in the Syrian civil war and, in fact, "shot down a Syrian regime jet suspected of dropping bombs near U.S.-backed fighters, and Russia threatened to target aircraft flown by the U.S. and its allies in the region."  Wrote David French in National Review Online, "We're not only raising the risk of direct and sustained confrontation with Syria (and its chief ally, Russia), we're inching toward an outright invasion and extended occupation of northern Syria.  Let's put this in plain English. American forces and American allies are not only taking territory from ISIS, they're holding that territory against regime forces.  There's a word for what happens when a foreign power takes and holds territory without the consent of the sovereign state - that word is 'invasion'."

Jeet Heer in NewRepublic.com commented that as a candidate, Trump vowed to stay out of Syria's messy war.  "Yet through sheer impulsiveness, he has dramatically escalated U.S. involvement - repeatedly striking Assad's forces in recent weeks in defense of U.S.-backed rebel groups fighting ISIS. With Russia now threatening to target U.S. warplanes flying in the Syrian regime's airspace, Trump could be sleepwalking into a major war." On July 26, the Washington Post reported the U.S. is negotiating with Russia over who operates within what parts of Syria. "According to lines being drawn on a map of the conflict, the United States and its proxies would concede Assad's control of most of central and southern Syria to just west of the Euphrates River, with a few agreed deviations, said U.S. officials. In exchange, once Raqqa, the Islamic State's de facto capital is retaken, U.S.-backed forces would move downriver to control the militant-populated villages alongside it, to the Iraqi border."  

On July 11, The Daily Beast reported, that satellites reveal U.S. military bases emerging in the Syrian desert. "We've located what appear to be another two bases - one in Jordan near the border with Syria, and another a short distance across the same border in southern Syria.  The two airstrips could support drones, helicopters and special operations airplanes."

U.S. involvement in Syria, reported the Washington Post on July 20, has been reduced by President Trump who has decided to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government.  "With the end of the CIA program, U.S. involvement in Syria now consists of a vigorous air campaign against the Islamic State and a Pentagon-run train-and-equip program in support of the largely Kurdish rebel force that is advancing on the Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and along the Euphrates River Valley."

On August 31, the New York Times reported U.S. airstrikes blocked a convoy of ISIS fighters in the middle of Syria trying to flee to safety in Iraq.

      41.  Alter the US role with NATO and Asian allies 

Background: In his first 100 days, Trump told the Washington Post, he would cut taxes, “renegotiate trade deals and renegotiate military deals,” including altering the U.S. role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Trump expects Germany, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to pay more for US security protection. He had called NATO "obsolete" and wants to update "NATO's outdated mission and structure."  NATO members, Trump has complained, do not pay "what they should" for their defense. (The U.S. foots the bill for about 22 percent of the 28-nation NATO spending.)

Update:  On January 27, British Prime Minister Theresa May put President Trump on the record as being "100 percent" behind NATO.  "Mr. President, I think you said, you confirmed, that you're 100 percent behind NATO," May said at a press conference following their first meeting. Trump responded quietly to her, "It's true." On April 12, President Trump, in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, announced that he no longer believes that NATO is obsolete.  "I said it was obsolete.  It is no longer obsolete," citing the group's recent anti-terror efforts.  Stoltenberg, however, noted that NATO soldiers have fought terror for many years, in including in Afghanistan and against ISIS. President Trump called NATO a "great alliance" and the "bulwark of international peace and security." On May 25, President Trump, visiting NATO headquarters, "scolded NATO allies for not paying their fair share for defense", according to The Hill. "Trump pointed out that 23 of the 28 member nations are not meeting NATO's target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense." Franco Ordonez of McClatchy's Washington Bureau pointed out, "It was Trump's undiplomatic rhetoric that got the issue to the top of the group's agenda this week, when NATO's members are expected to accept the idea of public report cards to make sure everyone's meeting the requirements of the alliance." On June 9, USA Today reported that "President Trump gave what was perhaps his most unequivocal support for the U.S. pledge to provide a common defense to other NATO allies...ending months of ambiguity on his commitment to the treaty obligation." Trump has met with the leaders of the major Asian nations, as, as of August, 2017, has not spoken of or taken action to make any changes in the relationship.

        42.  Cancel the 2015 Paris climate change accord  - STATUS - PROMISE KEPT
Background: Climate change allegations and science are a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, Trump said on the campaign trail. In a March, 2016 interview with the Washington Post's editorial board, he said, "I think there's a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I'm not a great believer...I'm not a big believer in man-made climate change." Speaking to a crowd of oil-rig workers in May 2016, Trump vowed to "cancel" the agreement.

The Paris accord, which seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century with a shift from fossil fuels, states in Article 28 that any country wanting to pull out after joining has to wait four years. The accord has been endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change. The U.S. committed to cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.   

Update: On June 1, President Trump announced he's pulling the United States out of the 195-nation agreement.  "The bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest levels to the United States," the president said.  "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg, not Paris." Negotiations, he said, will begin to re-enter "on terms that are fairer to the Unites States, its business, its workers, its people, its taxpayers."  The United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only members of the United Nations not part of the accord.   The leaders of Germany, France and Italy responded by stating the accord cannot be renegotiated. Said French president Emmanuel Macron, "On climate, there is no Plan B because there is no planet B." The New York Times also reported on June 1, "But he (Trump) will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified.  That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election." In August, President Trump's team gave notice to the United Nations of his plan to withdraw. On September 18, following a report from the Wall Street Journal that the Trump administration was considering reversing its decision, White House economic advisor Gary Cohn told allies at a breakfast meeting at the United Nations that the Trump administration "still plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement." 

In August, 2017, the New York Times reported on a draft climate change report by scientists from 13 federal agencies that showed "the average temperature in the U.S. has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years." and that "it directly contradicts claims by President Donald Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain and that the ability to predict the effects is limited." 

Is China the beneficiary?  On June 2, David E. Sanger and Jane Perlez of the New York Times wrote: "President Trump has managed to turn America First into America Isolated.  In pulling out of the Paris climate accord, Mr. Trump has created a vacuum of global leadership that presents ripe opportunities to allies and adversaries alike to reorder the world's power structure.  His decision is perhaps the greatest strategic gift to the Chinese, who are eager to fill the void that Washington is leaving around the world on everything from setting the rules of trade and environmental standards to financing the infrastructure projects that give Beijing vast influence."  

      43. Repeal President Obama's executive orders regarding Cuba - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered 

Background:  Trump promised to reverse Obama's Cuba-related executive orders - including opening a U.S. embassy and lifting restrictions on trade and tourism - if Cuba did not meet his "demands," including religious and political freedom and the freeing of political prisoners.  "All the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them - and that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands.  Not my demands. Our demands," Trump told supporters in Miami during the campaign. Vice President-elect Pence told supporters in Florida: "We will support continuing the embargo until real political and religious freedoms are a reality for all the people of Cuba. Donald Trump will stand with freedom-loving Cubans in the fight against Communist oppression."

Update: On June 16, President Trump visited Miami to announce a partial rollback of President Obama's policy of normalizing relations with Cuba. Trump's action will not affect the new embassy in Havana or the Cuban embassy in Washington but will, possibly, reduce the number of American tourists allowed to visit. Americans visiting Cuba will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with any entity owned by the Cuban military but will be allowed to buy the country's popular rum and cigars.  U.S. companies will be allowed to continue to do business in Cuba and Cuban-Americans can continue to travel freely to the island and send money to family on the island. The U.S. will continue to keep Cuba off a list of state sponsors of terror and will allow commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba to continue. On July 22, Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politico reported, "A month since Trump flew to Miami and stood at a theater named after a Bay of Pigs veteran to announce he'd thrown in with the hardliners, the administration has yet to explain exactly what will happen, when it's going to be announced, how it's going to be enforced, or when any of it will take effect. The new policy is supposed to come within 90 days - after the Treasury and Commerce departments draft new regulations - though it's not clear if September is when the new policy will be announced, or be in effect, or even if that's just when the actual process of developing it would begin." There have been no reported changes in the Cuban regime's behavior or policies in regard to religious and political freedoms. 

Commentary: Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald commented after the Trump visit to Miami on June 16, "President Trump is right that the Obama administration's opening to Cuba has failed to produce any human rights or democratic changes on the island, but I'm afraid that Trump's plan to partially reverse the current U.S. policy will make things worse.  Trump's limited reversal of Obama's opening to Cuba is political theater for domestic consumption.  It will not achieve what U.S. sanctions against Cuba failed to achieve in the past five decades.  Worse, it may backfire, by shifting world attention away from the Cuban regime's oppression of its people to what Cuba will now claim is new 'U.S. aggression' against the island."

      44. Move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to do it "fairly quickly."  Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox lawyer who advised candidate Trump, told the press after the election that the president-elect was "going to do it" because he was "a man who keeps his word." One day before his inauguration, Trump reiterated his promise in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, noting, "You know I'm not a person who breaks promises." 

Update: David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.  "I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US Embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."

On April 24, Politico reported that GOP mega-donor and Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson had privately complained about Trump's failure to fulfill his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. On the day President Trump landed in Israel for his first state visit,  May 22, the Associated Press reported, "While Israeli officials cheered Trump's election, some are now wary of the tougher line he has taken on settlements: urging restraints but not a full halt to construction.  Trump has retreated from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same diplomatic and security concerns as other presidents." Trump made no mention of moving the U.S. Embassy during his visit.  A Trump administration official said, "We don't think it would be wise to do it at this time.  We've been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we're not looking to provoke anyone when everyone's playing really nice." On June 1, President Trump signed an order keeping the American embassy in Tel Aviv.  The New York Times reported, "Aides said that the decision was just a delay and that he still planned to eventually move the embassy to Jerusalem."  On June 5, the Senate voted 90-0 in favor of a resolution reaffirming the 1995 law urging the State Department to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.   

War on Terrorism 

45.  Bring back waterboarding - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised the U.S. will use interrogation techniques that go even further than waterboarding, because “torture works.” Even if such tactics don't work, "they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."

“Don't tell me it doesn't work – torture works. Okay, folks? Believe me, it works. Okay."

Change of mind: On November 23, 2016 in an interview with the New York Times, Trump "suggested" he had changed his mind about the usefulness of waterboarding after recently talking with James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense. Mattis told Trump there were better ways of securing valuable information from prisoners. But, Trump also told the Times, "I'm not saying it changed my mind." But it did. The week after he was sworn in as the 45th President, Trump told ABC News that he would defer to Mattis and Mike Pompeo, his CIA director, both of whom indicated that torture is illegal. "I'm going to go with what they say," Mr. Trump said. 
     46.  "Bomb the shit out of ISIS" STATUS - First steps taken

Background:  After repeated promises in 2015 and 2016 that he had a "foolproof plan" to defeat ISIS and "bomb the hell out of" the terror group, Trump in September, 2016 pulled a "one-eighty" and said, at a campaign stop in North Carolina, he would give his top generals 30 days to present a plan to defeat ISIS. 

Update:  In his inauguration address, the new President pledged to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism "completely from the face of the Earth." In his first week in office, Trump signed a directive ordering the Joint Chiefs of Staff to return within 30 days with a plan to defeat ISIS. Columnist Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote on March 7, "In his speech to Congress, President Trump hardly mentioned foreign policy. But he did repeat his campaign promise to 'demolish ISIS' and 'extinguish (it) from the planet.' The battle to uproot the so-called Islamic States, which is centered in the cities of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, has been underway for months, using local forces backed by U.S. advisors and air power.  The president wants it done faster." On April 13, the U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb  - the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) - on an ISIS tunnel and cave hideout in Afghanistan, reportedly killing almost 100. The 21,600 lb. bomb is known as the "mother of all bombs." (Irony alert: The tunnels that MOAB destroyed were originally built with U.S. taxpayer dollars in the 1980s for the mujahedeen fighting, at that time, against the Soviets.)

On June 19, Nahal Toosi at Politico.com reported that the Trump administration "has followed a more aggressive version of the (Obama administration's) approach" to defeating the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. "The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, many of who are Kurdish, recently began trying to oust Islamic State fighters from Raqqa, the group's de facto capital in Syria." On July 4, Susannah George and Andrea Rosa of the Associated Press reported, that "the U.S.-led coalition unleased punishing airstrikes and artillery fire that set dozens of buildings ablaze" in the effort to drive ISIS from Mosul, Iraq.  "The tempo of airstrikes was so great Monday that coalition aircraft couldn't keep up with the requests for air support from Iraqi ground forces."

On July 20, the Washington Post reported, "U.S. involvement in Syria now consists of a vigorous air campaign against the Islamic State and a Pentagon-run train-and-equip program in support of the largely Kurdish rebel force that is advancing on Islamic State strongholds in Raqqa and along the Euphrates River valley." U.S. airstrikes in Syria have continued to gradually but steadily increase each month over the past three years, according to the website airwars.org/data.  They reached approximately 9,000 monthly in June, 2017. 

      47.  …And take their oil - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: “I would just bomb those suckers, and that's right, I'd blow up the pipes, I'd blow up the refineries, I'd blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left. And you know what, you'll get Exxon to come in there, and in two months, you ever see these guys? How good they are, the great oil companies, they'll rebuild it brand new... And I'll take the oil.”

Trump promised to seize the oil and give the profits to military veterans who were wounded while fighting.

Update: A day after his inauguration, the President visited the CIA and told a gathering of employees, "To the victor belong the spoils. We should have kept the (Iraqi) oil. But, O.K., maybe you'll have another chance." However, a month later, on February 20, Defense Secretary Mattis, while visiting Iraq, said the U.S. does not intend to seize Iraqi oil.  "I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have generally paid for our gas and oil all along, and I'm sure we will continue to do that in the future. We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."


      48.  Prosecute Hillary Clinton  - “Lock her up!”  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to appoint a special prosecutor to go after his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during his campaign, and "lock her up!" was a constant chant amongst supporters on the campaign trail. During one debate, he famously responded that if he were in charge she'd "be in jail."

Change of mind: After the election on 60 Minutes, Trump immediately walked that back: "I don't want to hurt them. They're, they're good people," he said. A senior advisor went further: Trump will not push for further criminal investigations into potential wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. “I think when the president-elect, who's also the head of your party now … tells you before he's even inaugurated he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content, to the members."

At a post-election rally in December, the crowd began chanting "lock her up!"  Trump replied, "That plays great before the election -- now we don't care, right?" And then, at his Inauguration, the Clintons not only attended but participated in the post-ceremony luncheon where the new President told the assembled crowd he was "very, very honored" that the former first couple was there and asked them to stand for a round of applause.  "There's nothing more I can say," the President added, "because I have a lot of respect for those two people, so thank you all for being here."

Irony alert: During the 2016 campaign, General Michael Flynn often led the chanting "lock her up!" at Trump rallies.  Now Flynn is being investigated by the FBI for, among other charges, failing to disclose foreign income from Russia and Turkey before being appointed Trump's national security advisor. (A post he was fired from soon after his appointment.) Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in May, 2017 when he notified the Senate Intelligence Committee he would not comply with a subpoena seeking documents. A year before, June, 2016, during the presidential campaign, Flynn promoted on Twitter news that Hillary Clinton's computer-tech was invoking the same constitutional right. "IT specialist takes 5th over 100 times," Flynn tweeted.  Said Trump at a September, 2016 campaign, "The mob takes the Fifth Amendment.  If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?" 

49.  “Drain the Swamp”  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

“The swamp is winning.”
                                                                   -          Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) on MSNBC 9/7/17

There are several potential scandals and federal investigations challenging the Trump Administration and President Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”  Those covered below include:

1.      The President of the United States decided not to divest himself of his private holdings, thus opening the door to potential conflicts of interest and ignoring the Constitution.

2.      Business is suddenly good between the Trump Family and China.  Chinese authorities are approving trademark requests benefiting the President and his family.

3.      National Security Advisor Michael Flynn spoke by phone to the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump’s inauguration and discussed U.S. sanctions but told Vice President Pence the conversations never took place. And now Flynn, who was fired, and other Trump campaign officials are being investigated for connections to Russia and other foreign nations.

4.      Federal officials, including Congress, are investigating the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign after it was revealed that regular contacts had been made during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump allies and Russian officials, agents and hackers.  

5.     As part of his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp,” candidate Trump promised to prohibit senior officials hired into the executive branch from working on “particular” government matters that involved their former clients or employers. In June, the Trump administration granted ethics waivers from that promise to lobbyists and others who now work for the Trump White House.

6.    Trump named Anthony Scaramucci – “The Mooch” – director of communications on July 21. Scaramucci attacked Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in an obscenity-laden interview a few days later. Trump then fired Priebus July 28.  On July 31, Trump fired Scaramucci and tweeted, “No WH chaos!”

7.     During the 2016, candidate Trump repeatedly applauded the business acumen of investor billionaire Carl Icahn and promised Icahn would be a key part of the Trump administration. Seven months after being named an unpaid special advisor, Icahn resigns after potential conflicts of interest come to light.

8.     President Trump pardoned former Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio of his conviction for criminal contempt but only after Trump tried early in his administration to squelch the Justice Department’s criminal case against the Arizona sheriff.

Here are some of the details on each.

President Trump                

President Trump owns or has a position in more than 500 companies, according to a CNN analysis. That includes about 150 that have done business in at least 25 foreign countries, including Turkey, India, Canada, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Because President Trump refuses to release his tax returns, the extent of his potential conflict remains unknown.  For example, loans that help finance his companies from foreign governments and banks - even on projects that are already built - could be perceived as affecting his decisions as President.

Then there’s the Trump-owned hotel in The Swamp (i.e. Washington, D.C.). Trump International Hotel is located in a building- the Old Post Office Building – owned by the federal government. Trump has a 60-year lease with the government on the property.  But the lease states no "elected official of the Government of the United States" shall be "admitted to any share or part of this Lease." Some experts say this clause should force Trump to relinquish his equity stake in the hotel since he is now President. (The hotel is valued at roughly $200 million, much of it financed by Deutsche Bank, a German company.)

Trump may, according to experts, be in conflict with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits elected officials from receiving gifts or earning profits from foreign governments.  Politico reported in December, "Diplomats from Bahrain and Kuwait have already booked events at his Washington hotel, raising questions of whether a foreign government would be making payments to Trump's businesses.”  The Emoluments Clause forbids any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under (the United States)” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state” unless Congress explicitly consents.

Update: At his mid-January press conference, Trump announced that his businesses and assets will be put into a trust run by his two sons for the duration of his presidency and that he will have "no involvement whatsoever" in the businesses.  Under his new ethics plan, Trump, his children and a longtime business associate will be barred from discussing company operations with the President. (Bobby Burchfield, a veteran Republican attorney, will serve as an outside ethics adviser. Some corporate transactions will not be undertaken without his approval. However, Trump will maintain a significant ownership stake in the company and financially benefit from its profits.) Trump’s attorney also announced Trump will "voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made by his hotels to the United States Treasury.  This way it is the American people who will profit."  (Update: On May 24, MSNBC reported that "the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump's pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure. Politico reported June 12 that the Trump Organization announced in May that it would be "impractical" to single out foreign guests so as to siphon their payments to the Treasury.) 

Pushback: On January 23, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit arguing that President Trump is violating the Constitution's ban on officials accepting benefits from foreign governments.   The suit claims Trump's business dealings with foreign countries that rent space in his buildings or lend money to his real estate venture run afoul of the foreign emoluments clause in the Constitution.

On February 25, Politico reported, "Despite handing over daily control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime Trump Organization executive, legal documents show that Trump himself still maintains significant power over the entire operation by holding the right to revoke at any time the entire arrangement and also because the purpose of the trust he established is really just for holding 'assets for the exclusive benefits of Donald J. Trump.'"

On March 23, Politico reported, The General Services Administration concluded that Trump's pledge not to take money from the Old Post Office project resolves concerns that language in the lease declares that no government employee should be permitted to benefit from the lease. "What this accomplishes is that the funds generated by the hotel will not flow to the President through DJT Holdings LLC," contracting officer Kevin Terry wrote.

On June 9, The Hill reported that lawyers for the Justice Department are arguing that President Trump isn’t violating a Constitutional provision that bars federal officials from accepting payments from foreign governments because the clause doesn’t apply to certain transactions.  “In a new brief asking the judge to throw out a lawsuit brought against Trump by ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), DOJ lawyers contend that the foreign emoluments clause doesn’t apply to ‘fair-market commercial transactions’ like payments for hotel rooms and golf club fees.'"

The June 19 issue of TIME magazine reported that between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, lobbyists working on behalf of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia ran up a $270,000 tab on rooms, catering and parking at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C.  "That stretch coincided with a Saudi lobbying push against legislation that would allow victims of terrorists attacks to sue foreign governments. In May, Trump chose Riyadh as his first foreign stop as President, where he announced an arms deal, gave a major foreign policy speech and participated in a traditional ceremonial sword dance." 

Trump begins to monetize his presidency

Columnist Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner on March 5 wrote:

If you pay $200,000 a year to the company Donald Trump owns, you too can have access most weekends to the president and his top officials. As an alternative, your organization could cut a $150,000 check to bring in a couple of hundred people who will have a chance to schmooze with the president and cabinet officials. Foreign moguls and dignitaries welcome.

This isn't Bill Clinton's Lincoln Bedroom. This isn't the Clinton Foundation during Hillary's reign at the State Department. This is Mar-a-Lago.

Donald Trump, for the fourth weekend in the past five, has gone down to his Florida resort, and once again he is mingling with guests.

As attendees danced inside the ballroom where the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute held its gala, the president was spotted nearby, shaking hands and talking with club members and guests.
Earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also took a few moments from high-level meetings to greet guests at the estate.

It's a nice setup for those who want some government favor and can afford a six-figure check. And it's a nice setup for Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported April 15 that nearly $500,000 from President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign had gone directly to Trump-owned restaurants, hotels and golf clubs. During the 2016 campaign, Trump's campaign spent more than $14 million on Trump-branded companies and family-owned businesses. On August 20, the Washington Post reported that “at least 25 congressional campaigns, state parties and the Republican Governors Association have together spent more than $473,000 at Trump hotels or golf resorts this year…Trump’s companies collected an additional $793,000 from the RNC and the president’s campaign committee.” On August 27, the New York Times reported that Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. has “cemented its status as a gathering spot” for domestic and foreign politicians, lobbyists and insiders.  Trump’s company has earned “about $20 million over 15 months, according to financial disclosure forms.”

Court date set: The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has scheduled oral arguments for October 18, 2017 to address President Trump’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against him alleging he has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution with his family businesses. The suit was filed by CREW “To stop President from violating the Constitution.”

Business is suddenly good between Trump Family and China

Questions were raised February 15 when the Chinese government announced that Trump had been granted something he had been seeking for 10 years - trademark protection for the use of the Trump name in the construction industry.  The Chinese announcement came only six days after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation, after which Trump announced he now supports the long-standing "one China" policy of the U.S. (In early December, 2016, president-elect Trump held, according to the Associated Press, a "highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect" phone call with the leader of Taiwan, congratulating her on becoming president in 2016.) 

The Associated Press reported "This may well be the first foreign trademark to be handed to Trump during his presidency, but it unlikely to be the last.  In China alone he has 49 pending trademark applications." Then on March 8, AP News reported "China has now granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services."  Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy, said he has never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously. 

On April 18, the Washington Examiner reported that on the same day Ivanka Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, her company won provisional approval for three new trademarks.   China gave Trump's company monopoly rights to sell the brand's jewelry, bags and spa services. Ivanka Trump's U.S. imports, almost all of them from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent in 2016. The week Trump dined with President Xi, 3.4 tons of her handbags, wallets and blouses arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to an April 23 story from the Associated Press.  Sales in February, 2017, spiked 771 percent from the same month in 2016, after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway exhorted Fox viewers to "Go buy Ivanka's stuff."

On May 6, The Hill reported that the sister of Trump's senior presidential advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, held a business meeting with wealthy Chinese in Beijing encouraging them to "invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States." Nicole Meyer, Jared's sister, touted her links to the Trump family and the White House and urged the audience to garner an EB-5 immigrant investor visa by investing in a New Jersey real estate project her family is involved with. Wrote Redstate columnist Allahpundit, "For cripes sake. The point of Trump's populist revolution was not to enrich the Kushner family by trading precious American immigration privileges for filthy lucre. It was to enrich the Trump family.  Eyes on the prize, people." 

On June 2, the New York Times reported that President Trump and his daughter Ivanka can now "sell jewelry and wedding dresses and provide catering services in China under new trademarks granted in recent days in Beijing.  The new trademarks expand the president's business interests in the world's second-largest economy...Mr. Trump has at least 89 trademarks registered and 28 others that have won preliminary approval.  His daughter now had 17 registered trademarks and six that have won preliminary approval.” In the July 10 issue of TIME, Charlie Campbell reports from Beijing, “(Ivanka) Trump’s firm does not publish sales figures, but its fortunes trace her father’s political rise. Company president Abigail Klem told TIME there was ‘significant year-over-year revenue growth’ in an emailed statement.” Ivanka’s company has 18 existing trademarks in China with 40 applications still pending. “Trump’s business model,” TIME points out, “mirrors that of virtually all her competitors in the apparel industry: use low foreign wages and minimal import levies to maximize profits. That’s precisely what he father railed against during his volcanic campaign when he pledged to put ‘America first’ and force U.S. companies to bring manufacturing jobs back home.”

On July 6, Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics submitted his resignation.  He told CBS News, “I can’t know what (the Trump family’s) intention is. I know that the effect is there’s an appearance that the businesses are profiting from his occupying the presidency, and appearance matters as much as reality.”

On July 20, CNN reported that Jared Kushner’s status as a top aide to President Trump was used to lure Chinese investors to his family’s New Jersey development. The promotions were aimed at bringing in investors who pay at least $500,000 apiece and in exchange get U.S. visas, and potentially green cards, for themselves and their families.    

Michael Flynn - Resigned 2/13/17

National security adviser Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States a month before President Trump took office, contrary to subsequent public assertions by Flynn and Trump officials, including Vice President Pence. In those calls with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn reassured Moscow that sanctions imposed by President Obama in late December over Russia's hacking of the 2016 U.S. election would be lifted by the incoming Trump Administration.

Days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied Flynn had discussed sanctions with the ambassador. He said he had personally spoken to Flynn, who assured him that the conversation was an informal chat that began with Flynn extending Christmas wishes.

“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Mr. Pence said on the CBS News program Face the Nation.

In late January, the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, and a senior career national security official, informed the White House that they believed Flynn had misled the new administration about the nature of his communications with the Russians.  (Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, was subsequently fired by President Trump when she refused to support, in court, Trump's Muslim ban.)

On February 11, 2017, Flynn filed a financial-disclosure statement that under-reported more than $150,000 in 2016 income, including a financial relationship with Russia.

On February 13, 2017, President Trump asked for Flynn's resignation and received it after Flynn admitted he had misled Vice President Pence.

On April 24, the Washington Post reported Flynn "likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign income he earned from Russia and Turkey." House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut) said, "As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for a violation of law."

NOTE: Flynn has the distinction of being fired by both Presidents Obama and Trump. He was fired in April, 2014 by the Democratic president after clashing with superiors over his alleged chaotic management style and vision for the agency.

The Trump Campaign and Russia

In the summer of 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies noticed a spate of curious contacts between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian intelligence, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The FBI is examining intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who served with Sessions as a member of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory council. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees are also undertaking a review of the matter. In addition, Reuters reported February 18, "This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said."

On March 2, after stories broke indicating Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not told his Senate confirmation hearings the whole truth about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, Sessions held a press conference to announce he had, contrary to his testimony, met twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and was, therefore, recusing himself from overseeing any investigation(s) by his department related to Russia's contacts with the Trump campaign.

On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 president election, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.  "This will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed," Comey told the intelligence panel.

The Washington Post in mid-May reported the FBI inquiry now “also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president.”

Blog Editor’s Note 3/6/17: The Hill has reported that two members of Trump’s campaign team spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.  J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, two of Trump’s early foreign policy advisors, met with Kislyak at a conference hosted in Cleveland during the 2016 GOP convention.  Rolling Stone has reported other members of the Trump campaign that spoke with Russian representatives include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, informal advisor and personal friend Roger Stone and former campaign manager Paul Manafort. (Stone on March 10 admitted to the Washington Times that he had private conversations and exchanged emails with a hacker who helped leak information from the Democratic National Committee during the campaign. "It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.") CNN reported that a foreign affairs advisor to the Trump campaign, Walid Phares, was also part of a meeting in July with the Russian ambassador. The New Yorker ran a list of Trump associates being investigated by the FBI for their Russian connections and included another, his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. And the Wall Street Journal reported the same day that Donald Trump, Jr. was paid $50,000 in October to speak before a French think tank in Paris whose founder and his wife are allies of the Russian government.

Update: On May 9, President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Trump first said Comey was fired for mishandling the Clinton email investigation but later told NBC that he was thinking of the Russian investigation when he fired Comey.  Commentator Charles Krauthammer wrote of Trump's decision at National Review Online, "So why did he do it? Now we know: The king asked whether no one would rid him of this troublesome priest, and got so impatient he did it himself."

On May 17, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named by the Justice Department a special counsel to oversee the federal government’s investigation of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign following reports that President Trump had asked FBI Director James Comey to back off the investigation of former National Security Advisor Flynn.   According to a memo Comey wrote after his private meeting with the President, Trump dismissed Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions from the room and told Comey, “I hope you can let this go.” It was an apparent reference to the bureau’s counterintelligence inquiry into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates – including Flynn – and Russian officials accused of seeking to influence the presidential election. White House officials and President Trump have said Comey's memo was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation."  The New York Times subsequently reported that Trump told Russian officials during a May 10 meeting in the White House, "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.  I faced great pressure because of Russia.  That's taken off."  

On May 22, the Washington Post reported that President Trump "asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government." Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, both refused to comply with the request, the paper reported.  The Washington Post’s The Fix commented, “But here’s why the latest news is particularly bad for Trump: It erases any idea that the Comey request was just a one-off. We have now learned that Comey isn’t the only top official whom Trump approached in an effort to free Flynn from his investigation.” (On June 7, Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee that while he declined to discuss conversations he’s had with the President, he never has “never felt pressured” to influence the Russian probe.)

On May 26, the Washington Post reported that Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed in December, 2016 the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring by U.S. intelligence services. On May 27, Reuters reported the FBI is investigating whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump.  The head of Russian state-owner Vnesheconombank, Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December. Wrote Taegan Goddard at Politicalwire.com, "To what extent Russian financiers - and through them, Russian President Vladimir Putin - hold power over the U.S. president is virtually impossible to determine. But that seems to be the most important focus of this investigation."

President Trump on June 16 acknowledged on his Twitter feed that he is under investigation. He has hired several attorneys to represent him in the Russia matter. Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and her husband presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner have also all hired counsel. As of July 25, twelve White House officials and former campaign aides have retained lawyers in conjunction with the Russia probes.

On June 7, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee – and 19.5 million viewers on television and the internet – that while he didn’t want to express an opinion on whether Trump was seeking to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russians meddling into the presidential election, he is “sure” the special counsel Mueller will be examining that.  He said he is sure he was fired because of “the Russian investigation.”  Comey also explained that he wrote the memos of his January, February and April private meetings with Trump because he had a “gut feeling” the president might lie about the nature of the meetings.  Comey alleges that Trump asked him to go easy on Flynn – “I hope you can let this go.”  

On June 15, the New York Times reported that Mueller's investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates, including Trump's son-in-law and special counsel, Jared Kushner.  The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff. Also on that day, it was reported that the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), was also beginning an investigation into the firing of former FBI Director Comey. On June 25, Michael Kranish at the Washington Post reported that Kushner's real estate company finalized a $285 million loan with Deutsche Bank in October, 2016, one month before the election and at about the same time "the lender was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charge from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme.”

On June 27, Politico.com reported that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, made more than $17 million working for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.  Manafort, however, failed to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent as required by law. “Trump forced Manafort to step down from his campaign last year after The Associated Press reported that Manafort and another Trump campaign official, Rick Gates, had secretly helped the Ukrainian Party of Regions steer money to two Washington lobbying firms.”

And then the entire Trump campaign/Russian collusion story exploded on July 11 when Donald Trump Jr. released emails describing an offer from Russia government officials to help dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton, the first public indication that at least some in the Trump campaign were willing to accept Russian help.  Trump admitted he, Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort held a meeting with a Russian government attorney – Natalia Veselnitshkaya – on June 9, 2016 in Trump Tower.  (It was subsequently learned that Rinat Akhmetshin, a U.S. citizen suspected of being a former Russian intelligence officer and email hacker, was also present in that meeting.) Trump Jr. had initially said the meeting was “about the adoption of Russian children.” When he finally released the emails connecting the Russian government to the meeting, Trump Jr. insisted the meeting did not result in any information about Clinton being passed to on the campaign. 

Wrote Taegan Goddard at PoliticalWire.com: “What we do know – thanks to reporting from the New York Times and newly-released emails from Trump Jr. – is explosive:  1) Trump Jr. was aware of and willing to cooperate with a Russian government effort to help his father’s presidential campaign.  2) Kushner and Manafort also knew of Russian efforts to help Trump.”   Charles Krauthammer at National Review added:  “This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks.  This is an e-mail chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. Once you said ‘I’m in,’ it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods.  What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were copied on the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.”

On July 31, the Washington Post reported, and the White House later confirmed, that President Trump “personally dictated” Donald Jr.’s initial false statement regarding his meeting with the Russians in which Donald Jr. claimed to have discussed only the issue of adoptions of Russian children. The statement was drafted by the President and staff on the Air Force One flight back to the U.S. after a G-20 summit in Europe in July. Donald Jr.’s subsequent release of the emails on July 11 highlighting the Russian government’s interest in actually helping the Trump campaign made clear the initial statement that the President helped draft was untrue. On September 9, multiple media sources reported that Special Counsel Mueller is planning to interview “up to a dozen” White House aides to determine who exactly wrote Donald Jr.’s initial (and false) statement, including Trump confidant Hope Hicks.  According to The Daily Beast, there are now efforts underway to organize a legal defense fund for White House staffers.

On July 20, Bloomberg.com reported that the U.S. special counsel is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses and well as those of his associates, including Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008. They are also investigating businesses dealings by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

TheGuardian.com reported in July that two of the Russians Kushner, Manafort and Trump, Jr. met with on June 9, 2016 worked for the oligarch owner of Prevezon, a Russian company that was under investigation by U.S. authorities related to money laundering through Manhattan real estate. One of Prevezon’s main business partners is Russian-born billionaire Lev leviev, from whom Kushner bought $295 million worth of Manhattan office space in 2015.  After Trump entered office, his Justice Department abruptly settled the Prevezon money-laundering case for just $6 million – a relative pittance.

In early August, Special Counsel Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C. to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. THE WEEK reported, “Mueller’s team is now reportedly reviewing financial records concerning the president, his business, his family members, and his campaign associates, with a focus on transactions involving Russians.” FBI agents “raided the house of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort last month, reportedly to search for tax documents and foreign banking records.” And in late August, The Daily Beast reported that Mueller had teamed up with the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit. “And it goes without say that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns – documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.”

Lobbyists granted ethic waivers

During the campaign, the Trump team released the "Donald J. Trump Contract with the American Voter." The "contract" included two promises:  "A five year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government" and "A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."

The White House posted on its website in early June ethics waivers granted to four ex-lobbyists and numerous others who have joined government.  In all, the White House has granted 17 ethics waivers. As part of his pledge to “drain the swamp” of Washington, President Donald Trump prohibits senior officials hired into the executive branch from working on “particular” government matters that involve their former clients or employers for two years.

From the Washington Post:  The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest.  The rate at which the Trump White House has handed out waivers is far faster than that of the Obama administration, which issued 17 exemptions for White House appointees over eight years.

Columnist Foon Rhee of the Sacramento Bee commented:  “This is shamefully cynical, even for Washington, D.C.  Make a big deal over signing an executive order limiting lobbyists.  But then give free passes to top aides.  That’s the bottom line of the latest ethics outrage by the Trump White House. Counselor Kellyanne Conway can meet former political clients of her polling firm.  Trump’s energy adviser (a former lobbyist for oil and gas companies) can work on energy and environmental policy. And his tax policy adviser (a former mutual fund executive) can handle retirement and financial services issues. So much for ‘drain the swamp.’”

Anthony Scaramucci – Fired 7/31/17

On July 27, Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker magazine, reported on an obscenity-laced call he had with the new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci.

Scaramucci’s called to find out who tipped Lizza off about a dinner at the White House.

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said of the White House chief of staff. He channeled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Former Fox executive Shine was one of the persons at the White House dinner Lizza reported on.)

Scaramucci said, unlike other White House officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

He reiterated that Priebus would resign soon, and he noted that he told Trump that he expected Priebus to launch a campaign against him.

“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”

After the interview became front-page news, Scaramucci, naturally, blamed the reporter he called.  I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again.” Priebus was fired by Trump a few days later, July 28, 2017.

Follow-up: A few days after the interview, the New York Post reported “the White House’s potty-mouthed new communication director has been dumped by his beautiful blond wife because of his ‘naked political ambition.’” Deidre Ball filed for divorce “after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.” She gave birth to their second child days before filing for divorce while Scaramucci was in West Virginia with President Trump. Scaramucci didn’t see his newborn son until five days after he was born.

President Trump, or to be exact, the President’s new Chief of Staff, John Kelly, fired Scaramucci July 31, just ten days after “The Mooch” was appointed to the key White House position.

Carl Icahn – resigned 8/18/17

During the 2016, candidate Trump repeatedly applauded the business acumen of investor billionaire Carl Icahn and publicly promised Icahn would be a key part of the Trump administration. But in August, 2017, Icahn, who was an unpaid special advisor on regulatory reform to the president, suddenly resigned.

According to an article in THE NEW YORKER, Icahn was trafficking in potential conflicts of interests and possible criminal law violations “involving obscure rules that require oil refineries to blend ethanol into gasoline,” the Associated Press reported August 20.

Icahn had invested in a Texas refinery years ago. After the Trump administration took office, Icahn struck a deal related to ethanol blending requirements that dramatically increased the value of his investment. 

Richard Painter, a former chief White House ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush, told the magazine that federal law makes it illegal for executive-branch employees to work on matters in which they have a financial interest.  Painter told the Associated Press that Icahn faces potential legal exposure to insider trading laws as well as other fraud statutes “if he took information from the White or government in violation of any relationship or trust.”

Joe Arpaio – Pardoned 8/25/17

President Trump pardoned controversial former Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio of his conviction for criminal contempt. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt in July for disregarding a 2011 court order to stop detaining people based on his suspicions they were undocumented immigrants. Critics have called Arpaio’s actions of racially profiling Latinos racist and discriminatory. His sentencing was scheduled for October 5. "Not only did (Arpaio) abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise," wrote US District Judge Susan Bolton in the July 31 order.

Arpaio, who endorsed Trump early in the 2016 election campaign, was both praised and criticized for his aggressive efforts to hunt down and detain undocumented immigrants, making him a national symbol of the divisive politics of immigration.

Arpaio and Trump were also linked years before promoting the lie that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Arizona Republican Senator John McCain commented, “No one is above the law and the individuals entrusted with the privilege of being sworn law officers should always seek to be beyond reproach in their commitment to fairly enforcing the laws they swore to uphold. Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders. The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Months before the conviction, President Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions about closing the federal government’s criminal case against Arpaio.  The Washington Post reported August 26, 2017, “The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate… After talking with Sessions, Trump decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency.” Trump’s “effort to see if the case could be dropped showed a troubling disregard for the traditional wall between the White House and the Justice Department and taken together with similar actions could undermine respect for the rule of law, experts said.”

      50. Release his tax returns  - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: After the election, on 60 Minutes, Trump again said that he would release his tax returns, despite his failure to live up to this promise for at least two years (he first made the promise in 2014 and repeatedly since.) As usual, Trump said that he couldn’t release his returns just yet because he is under routine IRS audit, even though the IRS says Trump is totally free to release his tax returns, audit or no audit.

Update: Two days after President Trump's inauguration, special assistant KellyAnne Conway told ABC's "This Week" that Trump would not be releasing his tax returns. "We litigated this all through the election.  People didn't care. They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like." On March 28, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee blocked a Democratic effort to force President Trump to submit 10 years worth of tax returns to Congress for review. On May 31, weeks after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel for the Department of Justice and given the task of investigating the Trump campaign's alleged connection to Russia, Philip Shenon wrote for Politico Magazine, "Veteran federal prosecutors and legal scholars said that Mueller, who began his investigation only last week, has clear-cut authority to obtain the president's tax returns - perhaps the most sensitive and sought-after government documents since the Pentagon Papers - from the IRS if Mueller suspects they might contain evidence of a crime."


It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while
he is in love, drunk, or running for office.

Shirley MacLaine