Summary List Placement
President Donald Trump is campaigning that he’s kept “every single one” of his promises. He said as much during the recent Republican National Convention.
“I did what our political establishment never expected and could never forgive, breaking the cardinal rule of Washington politics: I kept my promise,” he said during his acceptance speech of the GOP nomination.
But Trump’s record since assuming office in January 2017 is not as straightforward as he makes it appear.
The president has indeed kept several key promises: Trump has appointed scores of conservative judges and renegotiated trade deals. He also moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.
But on other domestic fronts, he’s broken other pledges and sometimes acted in the opposite direction. Here are five kitchen-table promises related to the economy he has failed to keep.
Raise the minimum wage
Promise: The president said during a November 2015 Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News that he supported raising the minimum wage to $US15 an hour. Before that, however, he gave contradictory statements and flip-flopped between opposing and supporting a wage bump.
Outcome: Trump hasn’t moved to implement a wage increase for workers. The federal minimum wage stands at $US7.25 an hour and it hasn’t been raised since 2009.
On July 1, Trump said he would issue a statement on the minimum wage within two weeks, Reuters reported. “I feel differently than lot of people on minimum wage, some people in my own party,” he said. Nothing ever came.
Strengthen healthcare so it provides “insurance for everybody”
Promise: Trump vowed in a September 2015 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he would create a universal healthcare system. “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not,” he said, adding, “the government is going to pay for it.”
He doubled down on the pledge in a January 2017 interview with The Washington Post before his inauguration. Trump said at the time he was about to finish designing a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, aiming to provide “insurance for everybody.”
Outcome: Trump went the opposite direction in his drive to scrap Obamacare. He supported GOP legislation that would have left an estimated 22 million Americans without health insurance, per a Congressional Budget Office estimate at the time.
Republican efforts to undo President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement collapsed in the Senate in 2017. The administration now supports a GOP-led lawsuit to undo Obamacare entirely, and it’s headed to the Supreme Court next year.
Around 21 million Americans could lose their health insurance if the law is scrapped, according to projections from the left-leaning Urban Institute.
Deliver “massive tax relief for all working people” that wouldn’t rack up more federal debt
Promise: In 2016, Trump said he would usher in “massive tax relief for all working people” as president. A year earlier, he told Bloomberg that he wouldn’t “mind paying some taxes” and raise them on the rich.
Outcome: The president approved a law that many experts say was a windfall for the wealthiest people.
Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was approved by a Republican-controlled Congress in December 2017. While most people saw their tax bills get smaller through larger refunds or reduced taxes, a disproportionate amount of the benefits went towards the wealthy, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Centre.
Trump, alongside many Republicans, said the law would “pay for itself” with robust economic growth, but it hadn’t, even before the pandemic wrecked the economy. The TCJA is also projected to add nearly $US2 trillion onto the debt over the next decade.
Implement six weeks of paid maternity leave for every mother
Promise: Trump said in September 2016 he would seek to “provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.”
Outcome: Trump hasn’t kept this promise. In December 2019, he signed a law to extend 12 weeks of paid parental leave to 2.1 million federal workers.
But the measure doesn’t extend to working mothers in the private sector, rendering its scope limited.
Pass a $US1 trillion infrastructure plan
Promise: Trump said he wanted to pump $US1 trillion of new infrastructure spending into the economy for new roads, highways, and bridges, along with shoring up the nation’s electricity grid and telecommunications structure.
“We’re going to go out with a fund,” he said in a Fox Business Interview. “We’ll get a fund, make a phenomenal deal with low interest rates and rebuild our infrastructure.”
Outcome: The president never signed an infrastructure plan into law – and it became a Washington punchline instead.
He didn’t pursue it early on in his presidency given staunch opposition from Republicans averse to new federal spending. But an opening appeared when Democrats – who do back infrastructure spending – regained control of the House in the 2018 midterms.
He initially backed efforts to pursue a $US2 trillion infrastructure bill in April 2019. But he ended the negotiations and refused to strike any deals until they ended their investigations into his administration.
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