The First 100 Days

By Aquiles Suarez

The presidential transition period is over – President-elect Trump is now President Trump, and media attention turns toward what he might accomplish in his first 100 days in office.

The 100-day benchmark is a legacy of the Great Depression and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first term, when he coined the phrase in connection with the 100-day session of Congress that began in March, rather than as a reference to his own first 100 days as president. Regardless, it has come to be the barometer of a new president’s effectiveness during a brief honeymoon with Congress when his power is perceived to be strongest. Whether President Trump will get anything resembling a honeymoon with Democrats in Congress is debatable, but he and his team have promised quick action on several of their priorities.

The Trump White House has focused on measures the administration argues show the president is keeping true to his populist promises to protect American jobs and grow the economy. One of these promises was to pull the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he did on his third full day in office. The TPP had been supported by the Obama administration but was unlikely to get passed by the Senate. Thus, Trump’s action was more symbolic than substantive. However, because the TPP is an area of disagreement over free trade with establishment Republicans, Trump’s team believes it is an important way of showing he is willing to buck party leaders in order to keep faith with his supporters. This perceived need to show that he will do things his way is unnerving Republican leaders who are hoping to have a unified message on most big issues.

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