Let’s check in on Trump’s major campaign promises

Six months in, it’s a boulevard of broken dreams.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Presidential candidate Donald Trump talked at length about how he would deliver the “best” deals for America, would give his supporters “everything,” and deliver big change, quickly.

“I alone can fix it,” Trump said of Obamacare and other problems he saw plaguing the country, at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

As president, Donald Trump has been standing by that rhetorical approach. On Thursday he reached the six-month mark of his presidency, and has recently bragged about passing more bills than any past president — sometimes including and sometimes excluding Franklin Delano Roosevelt — though both claims are untrue.

After six months of Trump’s presidency, let’s look at some of the biggest promises he made to his supporters, and see how he’s doing.

Trump promised to repeal Obamacare ‘immediately’ and replace it with ‘something terrific’

Trump repeatedly promised to repeal Obamacare “immediately, fast, quick,” and replace it with a system that would provide “great health care for a fraction of the price.” He promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare with “something terrific” that helps people with “no money.” He also promised to “take care” of all Americans with health care.


Trump and Republican in Congress have nearly abandoned their Obamacare repeal efforts. The House narrowly passed a bill, but the Senate has failed to find a proposal supported by a majority of Republicans. Most recently, four Republican Senators announced they’d oppose a bill championed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump.

The Congressional Budget Office found that different versions of congressional plans to repeal Obamacare — each trumpeted by Trump in his quest to get a bill passed — would result in over 20 million people losing coverage, as well as higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for people with lower incomes and those nearing retirement.

Even though Trump promised not to simply repeal the ACA without a replacement, he has since advocated a wide range of tactics, including just letting Obamacare fail through administrative neglect and repealing with a two-year delay and no replacement.

Trump promised to ‘save’ Medicaid ‘without cuts’

Trump opened his campaign with a promise to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

However, as president, Trump has supported bills that cut Medicaid funding severely. The proposed cuts to Medicaid in various Obamacare repeal bills supported by Trump all exceeded $700 billion.

Trump promised to maintain protections for people with pre-exisiting conditions

Trump regularly promised that people with pre-existing conditions would be able to get health insurance under his health care plan.

I just want to say, I agree with that 100%, except pre-existing conditions, I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have something much better, but pre-existing conditions, when I’m referring to that, and I was referring to that very strongly on the show with Anderson Cooper, I want to keep pre-existing conditions. I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age, and I think we have to have it.

However, and despite Trump’s repeated claims that the GOP plan would not change things, most iterations of the plans moving through Congress would gut protections for people with existing conditions.

Trump promised to cuts taxes for the middle class and increase taxes on the wealthy

On the campaign, Trump promised to cut taxes mostly for the middle class, and let very rich people “pay some tax, because right now they are paying very little tax.” He also singled out “the hedge fund guys,” who would be “paying up.”

He specifically promised to drop the the tax rate to 12.5 percent for people of “middle income” and zero percent for families making under $25,000 per year.


However Trump’s tax cut proposal issued from the White House in April was a broad, vague, one-page document that cut taxes for the wealthiest bracket, and dropped the corporate tax rate considerably to just 15 percent. For middle-class families, the proposal set out an undefined group of new tax brackets, and its goal of eliminating all personal exemptions would fall heavily enough on middle-class families so as to give many an effective tax increase, according to analysis from the Center for American Progress.

Though administration staff have been negotiating with Congress on tax cuts, very little progress has been made on a plan. Trump is reportedly reining in his initial proposal, as well, boosting rates more than the one-page proposal outlined.

Trump promises to ‘dismantle’ the Iran deal

“I will renegotiate that deal,” Trump told Fox News in September 2015, referring to the Iran nuclear deal. “That’s what I do in life. I will make that deal much better for this country.”

He went much further in a speech to AIPAC later in the campaign, telling the audience he would dismantle the deal completely:

My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making. And let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole of the Middle East. The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return. I’ve studied this issue in great detail, I would say actually greater by far than anybody else.

Despite criticism of the deal, thus far, Trump as president has stayed the course. The Iranian government said recently that Trump is not fulfilling U.S. obligations in the deal, but Trump has still not dismantled or renegotiated the agreement.


In September 2015, Trump said of the Iran nuclear deal, “I will police that to a level that they will not believe even exists.” Yet Trump’s administration has recertified that Iran is complying with the deal twice (the administration is required to do so every 90 days), most recently on Monday. This follows on a letter Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued in April that reported that Iran was complying with the deal.

Trump promised to balance the budget — and not hold any state dinners until he did it

Trump promised in February 2016 not to have state dinners until the budget was balanced.

It’s going to be different, folks. It’s going to be different. We’re not going to have state dinners … I’ll have state dinners — when we break even I’ll have a state dinner, and when we start making money, I’ll have a double state dinner.

Yet less than six months into his term, with the deficit just as large as it was on Inauguration Day, the White House hosted a dinner with the president of South Korea that it referred to as a state dinner on its official Youtube channel.

Trump also promised to serve Chinese President Xi Jinping a Big Mac for budgetary as well as currency policy reasons.

I’d get him a McDonald’s hamburger and I’d say we gotta get down to work, because you can’t continue to devalue (the Chinese currency), Trump said Monday night on Fox News. “I would give him a very, yeah, but I would give him a double, probably a double size Big Mac.”

The president, hosting the Chinese leader for dinner in Florida this year, did not serve him McDonalds but rather a traditional White House dinner menu, including Chocolate cake.