On Thursday, Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steven Bannon spoke about their priorities after the first month of the administration at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Bannon said that Trump is “maniacally focused” on executing the promises he made during the campaign.
The facts tell a different story.
A ThinkProgress’ analysis of Trump’s statements and policy proposals prior to his swearing-in found that he made at least 663 discrete promises. After his first day in office, Trump failed to keep 34 of 36 “Day One” promises. Since then, he has also broken 30 more promises, yielding a total of 64. Trump did manage to keep five more promises, for a total of seven.
“It was those rallies and those speeches, all he’s doing right now is, he’s laid out an agenda with those speeches for the promises he made,” Bannon said. “And our job every day is just to execute on that. It’s to simply get a path to how those get executed. And he’s maniacally focused on that, and I think that’s one of the powers of the transition where many, many people try to come in and try to convince President Trump, hey, you won on this but this is what you want to do. And he’s like, no, I promised the American people this, and this is the plan we’re going to execute on.”
Bannon later said that “the mainstream media better understand something: all of those promises are going to be implemented.”
Bannon said that “every day in the Oval Office,” Trump says, “I committed this to the American people; I promised this when I ran; and I’m going to deliver on this.” Bannon then asked the CPAC attendees to “hold us accountable for delivering on what we promised.”
Trump has broken 30 promises since his first day in office (when he broke 34 promises and kept two).
Trump promised not to close borders through executive orders.
“All I’m saying is I’ll make great deals and we’ll get them done and we don’t to have use executive orders and all the stuff that Obama is using which at some point, I would imagine the courts are going to overrule in one form or another. But we’re not going to be opening our borders or closing our orders based on executive orders. We’re going to do it. We will get along well.” [Fox Special Report with Brett Baier, 1/26/16]
Trump promised to replace Obamacare “immediately after we go in.”
“You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in. Okay? Immediately. Fast. Quick.” [Las Vegas, NV, 2/22/16]
Trump supporters waiting for this promised immediate replacement of the Affordable Care Act will have to wait until 2018, the president admitted this month.
Trump promised to immediately terminate Obama’s “two illegal executive amnesties.”
“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.” [Phoenix, AZ, 8/31/16]
As of this writing, Trump has yet to terminate or rescind Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Trump promised to ask Congress to convene a special session to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“When we win on November 8th and elect a Republican congress, 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 everybody in this country because Obamacare has to be replaced and we will do it and we will do it very, very quickly.” [Valley Forge, PA, 11/1/16]
Conservatives are starting to notice that not only did Congress not convene a special session on Obamacare, but Trump also has not unveiled any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in any short timeframe. Trump made no public statements asking Congress for a special session, so if he kept his promise, it was in private, and it was ignored.
Trump promised to create reform so that for every new regulation, two old regulations eliminated.
“I will formulate a reform that says for every new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated, so important.” [Video message, 11/21/16]
While some media outlets gave Trump credit for fulfilling this promise, he actually broke it. It does not actually require that two regulations actually be repealed, only that agency heads identify “at least two prior regulations” for elimination. Federal laws are on the books that compel the executive branch to promulgate regulation to implement various laws.
Trump promised to instruct Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator and to apply tariffs.
“I’m going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China, and I like China, they’re my tenant, they buy condos all the time, they’re just fine, but you know what, they’re a currency manipulator and we’re going to apply tariffs to any country that devalues its currency to gain an unfair advantage over the United States.” [Economic Club of New York, 9/15/16]
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that “we’re not making any judgments” at this time when asked about labeling China a currency manipulator.
Trump promised to protect “religious liberty.”
“So the first priority of my administration will be to preserve and protect our religious liberty. The first amendment guarantees our right to practice our faith as we see fit, not just during the holy days, but all the time, always, wherever.” [Iowa, 9/19/15]
Trump as a candidate called for a total ban on Muslims entering the United States. Even though he subsequently walked that position back, his administration has attempted, through executive order, to implement a travel ban that is reportedly the best way for Trump to ban Muslims “legally.” His administration has promised to both fight current legal challenges facing the ban and introduce a revised order to avoid judicial scrutiny. He also declined, in three separate occasions in one week, to denounce anti-Semitism.
Trump promised to approve the Keystone pipeline and make a deal for 25 percent of profits in two minutes.
“I want like 25% of the profits. Does that make sense? I could say 50% but I wanna be nice. No seriously, I want 25% of the profits. And I am gonna approve it fast but I want 25. I am gonna negotiate a deal, it will take me about two seconds. Those guys have been so beaten up with that stupid pipeline, they have been so beaten up. I’ll get them into my office, they’ll give me whatever I want in about two minutes.” [Manchester, NH, 11/11/15]
Trump signed an executive memorandum asking TransCanada to resubmit its application for the tar sands oil pipeline, but it will take much longer than the timeframe he described to approve it, much less winning a deal with a 25 percent profit share.
Trump promised to protect Muslims from profiling.
“Don’t worry about profiling. I promise I will defend from you profiling. I promise.” [Mt. Pleasant, SC, 12/7/15]
Later in the campaign, Trump said racial profiling “is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.” During the transition, a Trump policy adviser recommended that the incoming administration could adopt a registry targeting Muslim immigrants. Another surrogate cited the Japanese internment camps from WWII as precedent for such a registry. The Trump administration wants the Department of Homeland Security to focus less on white supremacists and more on Islamic extremism. Rex Tillerson, before he was confirmed as Secretary of State, would not rule out a Muslim registry when asked about it during his confirmation hearings.
Trump promised a death penalty for cop killers by executive order.
“One of the first things I’d do in terms of executive orders, if I win, will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that anybody killing a policeman, a policewoman, a police officer, anybody killing a police officer: Death penalty is going to happen, okay?” [Portsmouth, NH, 12/10/15]
Trump’s executive order, signed on February 9, does not mention the death penalty, though it does direct the Justice Department to prosecute crimes against police officers and pursue legislation to make such attacks a federal crime — even though FiveThirtyEight noted that some former police officers doubted the order’s efficacy. Still, Trump did not, and could not, issue the executive order he promised to issue.
Trump promised to tell the Dept. of Commerce to immediately review foreign trade practices that hurt the American worker.
“I’m going to instruct the Dept of Commerce to immediately begin a review of all foreign trade practices that unfairly hurt American manufacturing.”
Trump has issued no executive order or memo about this, and there are no public statements signifying he has told the Commerce Department to do this.
Trump promised to make policy decisions transparent.
“Policy decisions will be public and very, very transparent. They won’t be made on Hillary’s private email account.” [Anaheim, CA, 5/25/16]
International transparency watchdog groups have “serious concerns” over the approach already taken by the Trump administration when it comes to conflicts of interest. Other watchdog groups have flagged the secretive nature of Trump’s CEO advisory boards. The first law Trump signed removed a transparency rule for Big Oil. Not to mention the subversion of transparency norms signaled by Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and his campaign and administration’s dealings with Russia.
Trump promised to rarely leave the White House and not take vacation.
“Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump (R) says he wouldn’t get out much if he wins the Oval Office next year. ‘I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,’ Trump, 69, tells ITK. ‘I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off. … You don’t have time to take time off,’ Trump adds.” [The Hill, 6/23/15]
Trump has left the White House for three (sometimes long) weekends in a row to stay at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, FL in the first month of his presidency.
Trump promised to have great negotiators for diplomats, not nice people who gave political contributions.
“Carl Icahn’s one of the best. If I put Carl in charge of Japan, ‘Carl, handle Japan trade deals.’ It’s over, just walk away let him run the- oh forget it. They even know that they don’t have a chance. Okay? It’s over. You understand. Not Caroline Kennedy, I love her, but not Caroline. .. I want the great negotiators negotiating our deals I don’t want these nice people that got there because they gave political contributions.” [Greenville, SC, 8/27/15]
Trump picked a big political donor, NY Jets owner Woody Johnson, to be the ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Trump promised to apologize if wrong.
“I will absolutely apologize sometime in the hopefully distant future if I’m ever wrong.” [New York, NY, NBC Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, 9/11/15]
Trump and his administration lied at least 40 times in the first three weeks of his presidency. During a press conference last week, Trump overstated the scope of his electoral college victory. When given the opportunity in real time to at least acknowledge, if not apologize for, his wrong statement, he blamed someone else for the bad information, and did not apologize. The only time Trump publicly apologized for something during the campaign was when the video was released of him bragging about groping women using foul language, and Trump used the apology to pivot to an attack on Hillary Clinton.
Trump promised that his kids won’t do business deals during his term(s) in office.
Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2016
Trump promised in January that his companies would not commit to new deals while he is in office. The Trump organization moved forward with a plan to expand its resort in Scotland a few days before Trump’s inauguration, and this month, Trump’s sons attended a lavish opening of a golf course in Dubai. The deal had been in the works before Trump’s election, but it was not necessarily a done deal by the time he was sworn in. There is not much difference between renegotiating an existing deal, as in the Scottish example, and signing a new deal. Trump has deals still moving forward all over the world — in India and Indonesia, Uruguay and Canada — and the Trump organization can also revive deals that were previously dormant. Because Trump has not released his tax returns, it is impossible to know what deals Trump’s businesses actually have in place.
Trump promised not to make crazy comments as president.
“BARTIROMO: So, in that vein, I mean, do you think sometimes that maybe you need to pull in some of the comments, some of the rhetoric that so many people talk about? For example, this weekend, at your campaign stop, you said, ‘I could literally go on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose support.’ Do you want to rein that — would you say things like that if you were — TRUMP: As a president I wouldn’t, no. As a president, I wouldn’t; but as a campaigner, running against, you know, I had 17 people total.” [FBN, Mornings with Maria, 1/26/16]
Trump promised to set up a “private trust,” where he doesn’t know anything about his business.
“HANNITY: Yes. Would you, if president, would you go to the private trust, a secret trust where you don’t know anything about your business? TRUMP: I would do that. And you know, my children are very capable and I have great executives. So I would do that. And my executives and my children would run my companies.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/8/16]
Trump agreed to place some of his assets into a trust, but it is not blind, secret, independent, nor private. He will receive reports on how his companies are doing and can revoke the trustees at any time.
Trump promised not to settle the Trump University lawsuit.
“Now just so you understand, I could have settled this case a long time ago. I chose not — I’m going to win the case in court, because I do that. I win cases in court. It’s a lawsuit. … I don’t believe in settling cases. I believe in winning cases.” [West Palm Beach, FL, 2/28/16]
In November, Trump agreed to settle the case for $25 million.
Trump promised to restart Trump University.
“You have the wins and all of that, and Trump University, we are going to start it up as soon as I win the lawsuit. Does that make sense? I mean that’s it, OK?” [Jupiter, FL, 3/8/16]
Trump settled the lawsuit, and has not signaled any intention to restart the university.
Trump promised to be “so presidential you won’t even recognize me.”
“My natural inclination is to win. And after I win, I will be so presidential that you won’t even recognize me. You’ll be falling asleep, you’ll be so bored.” [Washington Post, 4/2/16]
Whatever one may say about the president’s first month in office, it cannot be said that it has been a boring month, with Trump putting the nation to sleep with his presidential behavior. Millions of people around the world protested the day after his inauguration, and each new action by his administration has prompted even more civic engagement and protests.
Trump promised not to tweet anymore because it’s “not presidential.”
“I tweeted today. At ‘realdonaldtrump,’ I tweet. You know it… don’t worry, I’ll give it up after I’m president. We won’t tweet anymore, I don’t think. Not presidential.”
— POLITICO (@politico) April 25, 2016
Trump has continued to use his personal Twitter account, frequently hijacking the news cycle, and the stock market, with his characteristic early-morning bizarre tweets that would be difficult to describe as presidential.
Trump promised to cut ties to his companies.
“Q: Seven in ten voters told us in a CNN poll they want to see you cut ties with your business while you are running for president — TRUMP: I will do that. Q: Will you do that while — TRUMP: Oh yea, I’ll do that. Q: — while you’re running though? TRUMP: I will do that.” [Turnburry, Scotland, 6/24/16]
Trump promised not to redecorate the White House.
“TAPPER: If you win, or, in your construct, when you win, you’re going to move into the White House, yes? TRUMP: Yes. Yes. TAPPER: Will you redecorate it Trump-style? TRUMP: No, I wouldn’t. I would — I just want a place — honestly, look, it’s a very special place. It’s a very special building.A lot of people say I’m going to move into the hotel that I’m building two blocks away. No. The White House represents something so important. TAPPER: So, no big Trump sign on top of the White House? TRUMP: It’s going to be clean. It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be well-maintained. It’s going to be just like it is. I’m going to be working. I’m not going to be decorating.” [CNN , State of the Union, 6/5/16]
The first photos of Trump in the Oval Office show that the drapes in the Oval Office, red during Obama’s term, are now colored gold.
Trump promised not to dodge questions.
President Obama refuses to answer question about Iran terror funding. I won't dodge questions as your President. https://t.co/jsAMGO3s4P
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2016
During his most recent press conference, Trump dodged a yes-or-no question about whether his campaign was in contact with Russia for three minutes. He dodged a similar question during his first press conference as president-elect. He routinely dodges questions in interviews.
Trump promised to always tell the truth.
“But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell you the truth.” [Charlotte, NC, 8/18/16]
Trump promised not to be involved with his business.
“I won’t be involved in my business at all, even though I have a legal right to be under the laws, as you know, because the president has a certain doctrine that he can do things. But I just don’t want to do it. Even if I could do it, which I’m allowed to, I wouldn’t want to. I want to devote my time…” [Fox News Sunday, 12/11/16]
Trump still owns his businesses, and will receive reports on how they are doing. In addition, his sons have been present in the White House for major events, even though they are meant to be independently running the Trump businesses.
Trump promised to hand over his businesses to his sons and resign from all positions.
“And what I’m going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They’re not going to discuss it with me. Again, I don’t have to do this. They’re not going to discuss it with me. And with that, I’m going to bring up Sheri Dillon, and she’s going to go — these papers are just some of the many documents that I’ve signed turning over complete and total control to my sons. … DILLON: … President-elect Trump as well as Don, Eric and Allen are committed to ensuring that the activities of the Trump organization are beyond reproach and cannot be perceived to be exploitative of the office of the presidency. President-elect Trump will resign from all officer and other positions he holds with the Trump Organization entities.” [New York, NY, 1/11/17]
Trump did reportedly resign from all his positions, yet Donald Jr. and Eric Trump have been present in the White House for major events, even though they are meant to be independently running the Trump businesses. Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, described Trump’s plan to let his sons run his businesses while he retains ownership as “meaningless.”
Trump promised that political activists with extreme agendas won’t write the rules in his administration.
“In a Trump administration, political activists with extreme agendas will no longer write the rules because that’s what’s happening now. Instead we will work with conservationists whose only agenda is protecting nature…” [Anaheim, CA, 5/25/16]
Steve Bannon, the proprietor of a website that promotes and caters to white nationalists, is Trump’s chief strategist and won himself a seat on the National Security Council. Bannon and White House Policy Director Steven Miller are reportedly the ones writing many of the executive orders Trump signs.
Trump promised to have no involvement with management of business.
“TRUMP: Well, essentially I’m not going to have anything to do with the management of the company. WALLACE: I know, but isn’t that a huge conflict of interest, sir? TRUMP: When I ran, everybody knew that I — I was a very big owner of real estate all over the world. I mean, I’m not going to have anything to do with the management of the company. You know, when you sell real estate, that’s not like going out and selling a stock. That takes a long time. It takes — I have — I’m going to have nothing to do with it. And I’ll — I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care about it anymore. I’m so focused on doing a great job as president, I don’t care if our rent goes up a little bit or down. I couldn’t care less. WALLACE: But you hammered — TRUMP: My — my executives will run it with my children. It’s a big company. It’s a great company. But I’m going to have nothing to do with management.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/11/16]
Select SCOTUS picks from list
“So I am gonna get a list of anywhere from 5 to 10 judges and those are going to be the judges that I am going to put in, it will be one of those judges and I will guarantee it personally, like we do in the world of business, which we don’t like to do too often, but I will guarantee that those are gonna be the first judges that I put up for nomination if I win.” [ Palm Beach, FL, 3/20/16]
Trump promised to not object to Russia helping to bomb ISIS.
“If Russia wants to help us, if Russia wants to drop bombs all the hell over ISIS, who are cutting people’s heads off and drowning people, that’s OK with me.” [Fox News, Hannity, 4/4/16]
Russia has been bombing targets in Syria, including ISIS, and Trump has not publicly objected. He and Vladimir Putin discussed collaborating on fighting ISIS militants in a phone call last month. However, the White House denied a report last month that the Russian Defense Ministry said it had received bombing coordinates from a U.S.-Russian “communications channel.”
Trump promised to ask TransCanada to renew application for Keystone XL pipeline.
“I’m going to ask TransCanada to renew its permit application for the Keystone pipeline.” [Anaheim, CA, 5/25/16]
Just a few days into his term, Trump signed an executive memorandum asking the Canadian company to resubmit its application for the tar sands oil pipeline. He has also promised he will approve the application, and ensure a good deal for the United States, though the process is not there yet.
Trump promised to ask generals for plan to defeat and destroy ISIS within 30 days.
“I will ask my generals to present to me a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS.” [Philadelphia, PA, 9/7/16]
On January 29, Trump signed an executive action ordering Defense Secretary Mattis, in coordination with other cabinet officials, to develop a plan to defeat ISIS within 30 days.
Trump promised to take quick action on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.
“WALLACE: Let me ask you a couple specific questions. Will you still pull out of the Paris climate agreement, which has been signed by more than 100 countries to reduce carbon emissions? Will you restart the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Army just stopped? TRUMP: OK. Let me not answer the Dakota because perhaps that’ll be solved by the time I get there, so I don’t have to create enemies on one side or the other. But I will tell you when I get to office, if it’s not solved, I’ll have it solved very quickly. WALLACE: Meaning you’re going to start it? TRUMP: I’m not saying anything. I just say something will happen, and it’ll be quick. I think it’s very unfair. So, it’ll start one way or the other. WALLACE: And Paris? TRUMP: You’ll have a decision pretty quickly. And also, the Keystone Pipeline, you’re going to have a decision fairly quickly. And you’ll see that.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/11/16]
While Trump did not take action on the first day of his presidency, he did attempt to speed up the process for the completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which had been halted after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered a full Environmental Impact Statement for the project. Trump’s action on the defunct Keystone XL pipeline asked TransCanada to resubmit its application.