100 days of President Trump: the highs, the lows, the tweets
It’s hard to think of any leader whose first months have been so filled with bizarre incident
Since President Donald Trump is usually good at finding someone else to blame, he should look no further than Franklin D Roosevelt, who is responsible for the magical thinking that surrounds the first 100 days of every US presidency.
Sweeping into the White House in 1933 with the promise of a New Deal for Depression-era America, Roosevelt passed 15 major pieces of legislation in that period, setting a standard that every one of his successors has failed to match.
Few have failed quite so dismally, though, as Donald J Trump. Last October, he issued “my 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again”.
Of the 10 major pieces of legislation he promised then, only one has been introduced. None has been passed. Most of the highly-trumpeted executive orders are no more than braggadocious mission statements; those with real consequences, like the immigration bans, have run into legal quicksand.
And yet, it’s hard to think of any world leader in living memory whose first three months in power have been so filled with bizarre incident and jaw-dropping surprise. President Trump has dominated the global news agenda from the moment the words: “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now” left his lips on Inauguration Day.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.” – Sean Spicer
On the first full day of the administration, the world is introduced to the remarkable spectacle of the White House press secretary haranguing the media over the size of the crowd for the previous day’s inauguration. Meanwhile, four million people around the world attend the anti-Trump “Women’s March”, the largest single-day protest in US history
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving – our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to that.” – White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway
“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and…even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”@realDonaldTrump
Trump’s call for an investigation repeats unsubstantiated claims he has previously made about the number of fraudulent voters. Sean Spicer confirms in a press briefing that Trump continues to believe that “millions voted illegally in the election” based on “studies and evidence that people have presented him.
On February 10th, Federal Election Commission commissioner Ellen Weintraub calls on Trump to provide evidence of what would “constitute thousands of felony criminal offences”.
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while. The media here is the opposition party.” – White House chief strategist Stephen K Bannon
Trump signs an executive order suspending the US refugee programme for 120 days, indefinitely blocking Syrian refugees, and banning travellers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days. Legal residents and legitimate visa holders find themselves detained or turned back at airports as protests grow across the country.
Within days, the measure has been frozen by the courts.
Steve Bannon is appointed to the US’s most high-level senior national security group (he will be removed on April 5th).
A US raid against an al-Qaeda base in central Yemen leaves 30 militants and civilians dead, along with one navy commando.
In a TV interview, KellyAnne Conway cites an incident involving two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky in 2011, who she claims were the “masterminds behind Bowling Green massacre”. There was no Bowling Green massacre.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”
Michael Flynn resigns, setting a record for the shortest tenure of national security adviser. The justice department had warned the administration that Flynn, who had a “well-established history with Russia”, may have been “vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.”
Flynn’s phone calls had been recorded by a government wiretap, and several days after Flynn was named as Trump’s adviser the White House had been warned that “Flynn was susceptible to blackmail by the Russians because he had misled Mr Pence and other officials”.
As Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House, the US president says he “can live with” either a one-state or two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump holds a 77-minute press conference, with long, unstructured exchanges with White House reporters. He insists that his administration is a “running like a fine-tuned machine”.
Lieut Gen HR McMaster is appointed the 26th national security adviser as replacement for the disgraced Flynn.
February 28 th
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump is more conciliatory, focusing on job creation, national security, immigration reform and repealing Obama’s health insurance systems. The speech is hailed as a signal he is becoming “more presidential”.
“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” @realDonaldTrump,
Trump uses Twitter to issue unfounded allegations that predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign. Obama rejects the accusations.
Press secretary Sean Spicer repeats claims made by TV pundit Andrew Napolitano that Britain’s government communications headquarters conducted espionage against Donald Trump.
After frequently criticising her welcoming policies toward refugees, Trump hosts German chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. A day later, Trump tweets about a “GREAT meeting” while accusing Germany of owing “vast sums of money to Nato” and demanding that the United States “must be paid more for the powerful and very expensive defence it provides to Germany!”
President Trump issues a tweet rejecting allegations of collusion with Russia as “fake news”. On the same day, in a House intelligence committee public hearing FBI director James Comey confirms that the FBI has been conducting a broad counterintelligence investigation of Russian interference in the elections starting in July 2016, which includes investigations into possible links between Trump associates and Russia. Comey also states that the FBI has no evidence that supports Trump’s March 4th wiretapping claim.
Trump’s campaign vow to undo Obamacare unravels, with Republican leaders in the House of Representatives cancelling a vote on their own proposal amid opposition within the conservative party from both moderates and hardliners unhappy with the replacement measure.
Ivanka Trump announces that she will become an official White House employee, after plans for her to serve as an unofficial adviser prompt ethics concerns.
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn seeks immunity from the FBI in exchange for testimony on White House links to Russia
Trump orders missile strikes against a Syrian airbase in response to chemical weapons, which he accuses the Damascus regime of using against its own civilians. The strikes are carried out while he is hosting Chinese president Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, and Trump informs his visitor of the US action in Syria over “wonderful” chocolate cake.
Trump’s supreme court nominee, federal judge Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed by the Senate 54-45, after the upper chamber changes its rules to deny the Democratic minority the ability to block the vote.
The Trump administration announces that a US navy battle group headed by the USS Carl Vinson, diverting from plans to visit Australian ports, is moving towards the Korean Peninsula. This claim is later questioned following the publication four days later of photographs of the Vinson off the coast of Indonesia en route to the Indian Ocean.
The Nato alliance is “no longer obsolete”, Trump says, contradicting his previous description of the organisation after White House talks with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.
Rallies are held throughout the US, calling on President Trump to release his tax returns. He responds the following day on Twitter, saying “the election is over”.
Trump tweets that he will not declare China a currency manipulator – contrary to his campaign pledge – because Beijing is “working with us on the North Korean problem”.
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin announces his intention to cut corporate tax to 15 per cent, along with more cuts and changes for individuals, and the elimination of some taxes that particularly hit the wealthy, including – probably – Trump himself.