Generally, the first 50 days of the Trump Administration have been an absolute joy to watch. The media and the Left have been apoplectic as President Trump largely honors his campaign promises and does exactly what he said he would do. Truthfully, Trump has been everything we hoped he would be and more.
Still, that’s not to say there haven’t been some disappointments. Here are four things I like and two things I dislike from the first 50 days:
Like: Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch
When the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away last February, many conservatives understandably panicked. Replacing Scalia, an intellectual giant and perhaps the most conservative jurist on the Court, with anything less than another conservative would shift the Court’s balance indelibly to the Left.
Thankfully, when President Obama nominated left-leaning Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, the Republican Senate wisely held the line and delayed the nomination until after the election.
Trump promised on the campaign trail to make his Supreme Court nomination from a list of 21 conservative justices approved by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society. This promise gave conservatives a genuine, tangible reason to vote for Donald Trump, even if, at times, they weren’t sure about the man himself. “Protect the Court” became something of a mantra on the right.
And on January 31st, Trump followed through on this critical promise by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was on the list and has been universally lauded by conservatives.
Dislike: Common Core Is Still a Thing
It’s March 10th, 2017, and President Trump still hasn’t said the words “Common Core” this year. This is especially concerning given his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and her past support for the low quality Common Core standards that lock children into an inferior education.
Furthermore, DeVos is advancing blatant falsehoods about the state of Common Core, as Jane Robbins explained earlier this week at The Daily Caller. DeVos has claimed that the “notion of a Common Core” has already been disposed of by the new Every Student Succeeds Act (false) and that ESSA “encourages states to set forth their own levels of achievement expectation” (misleading).
The truth about ESSA, as Shane Vander Hart stated at Truth in American Education, is that “Congress did not get rid of the notion of Common Core, they codified it and pat themselves on the back while doing it.”
Trump made his opposition to Common Core a key part of his campaign. He used the unpopular standards as a way to undermine Jeb Bush’s candidacy, and it worked. Let’s hope he remembers this promise and makes ending Common Core a key part of his Year One agenda.
Like: Trump’s Pro-life Agenda
Trump made four pro-life promises on the campaign trail:
I am committed to:
- Nominating pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Signing into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide.
- Defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they continue to perform abortions, and reallocating their funding to community health centers that provide comprehensive health care for women.
- Making the Hyde Amendment permanent law to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.
So far? He’s doing about as well as he can. He nominated a pro-life justice in Gorsuch, who appears likely to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. There has been no action on the 20-week abortion ban yet, and that might be difficult to pass without 60 votes in the Senate. Planned Parenthood is set to lose its funding in the Obamacare replacement bill, and as we speak, conservatives in Congress are working to apply Hyde Amendment language to the bill as well.
In addition to those four promises, Trump signed a “Mexico City” executive order much stronger than previous “Mexico City” orders, preventing U.S. tax dollars from going to organizations that facilitate abortions overseas.
And let’s not forget Trump’s public advocacy for the March for Life. He’s been incredibly good on this issue. It remains to be seen how successful Congress will be in enacting his agenda.
Like: Trump’s De-regulation Culture
Kevin Dawson mentioned this today, and I also wrote about it in my CPAC Bannon/Priebus piece: how do you not love this new Trump Administration culture on regulation? One of Trump’s first executive orders was to require his Departments to eliminate two regulations for every new regulation they want to implement. What a change from the regulation-happy Obama Administration!
Perhaps more than any president previously, Trump appears to be serious about cutting spending, reducing onerous over-regulation, and eliminating unnecessary government bureaucracy. He’s done an incredible job at leading on this in his first 50 days.
Dislike: The Obamacare Repeal-and-Replace Effort
I could get into specifics about the newly proposed American Health Care Act, which has both its positives and its negatives, and I could also express frustration with the Trump administration’s apparent “hands off” approach to health care. However, most of my frustration stems from everyone’s failure to get on the same page.
Why did it take so long to have a replacement bill ready? We have been talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare for seven years.
Why were conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation left out of the drafting process?
Why was a bill released to the public as “the replacement bill” without having anywhere near the votes needed to pass it in the House, let alone the Senate?
And why are Republicans attempting to ram through an unpopular bill in the same way Democrats rammed through Obamacare?
Like: The War on #FakeNews
I think President Trump has been at his best when dealing with the mainstream news media, which Stephen Bannon astutely calls “the opposition party.”
If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch this mid-February press conference at the time, enjoy:
If Trump were to take the same tact President George W. Bush did when dealing with a hostile media — being “above it all” and essentially surrendering the narrative — he would already have an approval rating down in the low 30s. Thankfully, he is fighting back and exposing the media’s blatant bias for what it is. Whether it be promulgating baseless conspiracy theories about Russia or blasting Kellyanne Conway for sitting on a couch, it’s clear that the media has become much more focused on “resisting” Trump than covering him.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore