Trump began his term by forcefully delivering on his vows to American voters – ordering the construction of a wall on the southern border and approving construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines, withdrawing from the unpopular Obama-era Transpacific Partnership (TPP), rescinding business-crushing regulations, and quite literally “bombing the hell out of ISIS” by dropping a 21,000 pound bomb that killed 36 militants in Afghanistan.
His single most significant achievement was his nomination of now-Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, whose confirmation will likely safeguard for decades the seat held by conservative legend Antonin Scalia.
When a judge temporarily restrained Trump’s much-promised pause on travel from countries compromised by terrorism, Trump did not relent. He issued a second order, one that he is still defending amid ongoing litigation.
Untethered from the rigid confines of hardline liberal or conservative ideology, candidate Trump showed a willingness to defy his party in word, but President Trump displayed a willingness to do it in action.
But perhaps more notable than Trump’s kept promises are the times when he broke from Republican Party doctrine. Untethered from the rigid confines of hardline liberal or conservative ideology, candidate Trump showed a willingness to defy his party in word, but President Trump displayed a willingness to do it in action.
Rather than offering a straight repeal of Obamacare, Trump extended a compromise. The American Healthcare Act offered tax credits to millions at risk of losing health care and continued two popular Obamacare policies. The deal was unpalatable to anti-entitlement conservatives, and these expensive but fair provisions deprived the president of an immediate victory, but he is still intent on crafting a replacement plan.
Trump once again disregarded ideological lines with his targeted Syrian airstrikes, but this time he defied not his party but elements of his base in a move that was commended widely. After seeing the ghastly images of children brutally murdered with chemical weapons by the Assad regime, Trump acted, sending a powerful message and warning to bad actors worldwide. Trump’s action risked angering his base, to whom he had promised tactical isolationism, but the strikes were the morally correct response to a heinous attack on humanity.
While the left will attempt to drown out Trump’s political accomplishments with unfounded allegations of Russian collusion, the voters who made Trump commander-in-chief will likely reach a different conclusion.
Trump has proven himself loyal to the voters who put him there. But more than that, he is showing himself to be one of America’s few post-partisan presidents – putting people before party.
In its early days, Trump’s presidency ought to be viewed as the arduous start to the complicated task of draining the Washington swamp. He came to Washington with the promise to change it – to rid the behemoth of special interests that seek to silence the voter, to deliver on his promises no matter the cost, and to depart from party lines when the facts demand it.
The ultimate assessment of Trump’s hundred days and the rest of his term will not be rendered now by hostile foes obsessed with the sensational, which is often the irrelevant, but four years from now by American voters who will measure Trump’s presidency by the results they see and feel in their daily lives.
Photography by David Hume Kennerly. Produced by CNN Digital Labs.