TRUMP'S FIRST 100 DAYS: Here's how they compare with Obama's, Bush's, and Clinton's – Business Insider

2x1Skye Gould/Business Insider

Franklin D. Roosevelt got more done in his first 100 days in office than any president before him or any since. He took office in the depths of the Great Depression, enacting a dizzying number of laws and signing executive orders to stabilize the economy with the New Deal.

Roosevelt is the reason people focus on the first 100 days. When presidents take office, they have the most political capital to enact their agenda. Studies have found that it’s the most productive time for legislative action.

Of course, presidents don’t have total control over their time in office. Ronald Reagan was shot during his first 100 days and spent the last month in the hospital. Bill Clinton’s first months were distracted by the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy, then the fatal raid in Waco, Texas. George W. Bush bombed Iraq, and Barack Obama had to save Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

Donald Trump’s 100th day in office is Saturday. How has his tenure compared with that of the last three presidents?

We looked at how many executive orders they signed, how many laws they enacted, how the economy performed, where they traveled, what their approval ratings were, and, for fun, how often they golfed.

Here’s how they stack up:

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More laws, fewer words

More laws, fewer words

Skye Gould/Business Insider

The number of bills signed into law is just part of the story. The vast differences between the number of pages or words those bills contained start to reveal what types of laws they were and what effects they ultimately had.

According to Josh Tauberer, founder of the legislative database GovTrack, bills with more words generally create government programs, and those with fewer are often rolling back regulations or programs. Obama’s stimulus package to keep the government funded had 358,113, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had 294,307.

Trump signed a NASA bill to send humans to Mars, and a resolution to keep the government funded and prevent a shutdown for another week. The bill tied to his effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) failed to get a vote in the House.

“Either way, it helps to keep in mind that neither Trump nor Obama wrote the laws they signed,” Tauberer told Business Insider. “They can only sign the bills that Congress gives them, and although presidents like to take lots of credit, they actually have an insignificant role in the passage of most of them.”

(The White House’s press release touting Trump’s accomplishments in 100 days versus those of his predecessors cited the wrong number of laws for Obama and Clinton. It may have relied on a FiveThirtyEight article that used data from a study that measured laws passed during Congress’s first 100 days, not the presidents’.)

A heavy use of executive power

A heavy use of executive power

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Trump said Obama was abusing his power by signing so many executive orders. But in just 100 days, Trump has signed nearly as many as Obama averaged in a year.

Most of Trump’s executive actions have reversed Obama-era regulations and efforts to protect the environment.

Scholars have typically used the number of executive orders per term to measure how much presidents have exercised their power. George Washington signed only eight in his entire time in office, according to the American Presidency Project, while FDR penned over 3,700.

Here’s a quick guide to every executive order Trump signed in his first 100 days »

A nearly full Cabinet

A nearly full Cabinet

Skye Gould/Business Insider

While Trump complained on Twitter in February that “obstruction by Democrats” had left his Cabinet unfilled, he has more members confirmed than Clinton did at 100 days.

But Trump hasn’t nominated 465 of the 556 executive-branch jobs that require Senate confirmation, leaving acting officials in those posts. The Senate can’t vote to confirm his officials until Trump appoints them, and experts warn that Trump may not be able to enact his agenda until he has his appointees in place.

Here’s who Trump has chosen for senior leadership positions »

See the roles still left unfilled here »

The lowest approval ratings

The lowest approval ratings

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Presidents, coming off successful campaigns, typically enter office with high approval ratings that erode over time. For most of his first 100 days, Trump’s approval rating was the worst for a US commander-in-chief in recent history.

His popular-vote loss of nearly 3 million, controversial travel ban barring people from majority-Muslim countries, and bombastic tweets all contributed to Trump’s lower approval rating.

It started ticking back up, however, earlier this month after he ordered a missile strike in Syria after a chemical attack in the country and after the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” on ISIS in Afghanistan.

A good unemployment rate

A good unemployment rate

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Presidents inherit economic circumstances, including unemployment rates, which are a lagging indicator.

Clinton took office at the tail end of a modest recession, while Bush came in at the end of the ’90s boom. Obama’s term began amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And Trump entered the Oval Office as the long, slow recovery from the Great Recession finally began to show signs of economic normality — the March unemployment rate, the most recently published in the first 100 days, was at a postcrisis low.

The lowest initial unemployment claims

The lowest initial unemployment claims

Andy Kiersz/Skye Gould/Business Insider

Another big jobs-market indicator is the weekly count of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the first time. Economists and market watchers say this number is a good proxy for the rate of layoffs in the economy, as people who have recently lost their jobs tend to quickly apply for benefits.

As with the unemployment rate, the initial unemployment claims metric reflects the economic conditions facing a new president. During the first 100 days of Obama’s term, about 640,000 people on average per week were applying for benefits. Under Trump so far, that average number has dropped to a more manageable 250,000.

The Trump Trade

The Trump Trade

Andy Kiersz/Skye Gould/Business Insider

After the 2016 election, stocks shot up dramatically as investors looked forward to the incoming administration’s presumably more business-friendly policies and expected tax cuts. Since Trump’s inauguration, stocks have risen, but at a more measured clip.

During Obama’s first 100 days, stocks were crashing in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis before turning around in early March. Obama told reporters at a press conference on March 3, 2009, that buying stocks was “a potentially good deal” — three days later, the S&P 500 hit its intraday low and began to turn around.

No international travel

No international travel

Skye Gould/Business Insider

While Clinton made one international trip in his first 100 days and Bush made two, Obama jet-set to nine countries. Trump has yet to travel anywhere outside the US. He has a NATO meeting planned in Brussels, Belgium, in May.

No travel west of the Mississippi

No travel west of the Mississippi

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Since taking office, Trump hasn’t stayed overnight anywhere except the White House or Mar-a-Lago, his private club in South Beach, Florida. His day trips to US states haven’t ventured west of the Mississippi River.

A lot more golf

A lot more golf

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Obama’s golf outings were another favorite target of Trump’s before he took office, and Trump once said that, as president, he was “not going to have time to go play golf.”

Once in office, he clearly found more time than his predecessors had.

Clinton played more golf than Obama did in the first 100 days, according to his official daily schedules.

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Trump floods the zone for 100-day anniversary – The Hill

President Trump has been flooding the zone at the end of his first 100 days in office, generating a final burst of activity meant to send signal a vibrant White House.

Trump has signed a flurry of new executive orders while sending policy signals on trade, taxes and North Korea.

The president conducted a string of interviews with major publications and his top aides have summoned small groups of reporters for evening briefings in the West Wing and Eisenhower Executive Office Building to push their 100-day narrative.

Journalists were bombarded with fact sheets boasting of Trump’s accomplishments, such as passing 13 measures rolling back Obama-era regulations and confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. 

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Speaking to a gathering of reporters in his office this week, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus touted the 28 pieces of legislation Trump has signed, though most were small-scale measures that appoint personnel or modify existing programs.  

“I think the narrative that somehow or another a signature piece of legislation must be brought out of the House and Senate is a ridiculous standard,” he said.  

He will end his 100th day in office Saturday by staging a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, Pa., his third such event during his first three months in office.  

The frenetic pace of action is meant to generate momentum for Trump’s agenda, but it’s not clear it will have the desired effect.

The White House pushed House Republicans to hold a vote on ObamaCare repeal legislation before Saturday, but that possibility was ruled out late Thursday when it became apparent the measure still lacked the support to pass.

The administration released a massive tax cut proposal that is likely to dominate its next 100 days, but was criticized for a lack of detail that some suspected was the result of the plan being rushed. 

And Trump teased the possibility of withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), only to say the same day he had decided instead to renegotiate the pact because he learned withdrawing would have caused too big of a “shock to the system.” 

Trump has downplayed the 100-day benchmark, which has traditionally been used to measure the early success of presidents, as “ridiculous,” even though he reportedly exerted heavy pressure on his staff to show progress ahead of the milestone. 

“I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this. It’s a false standard, 100 days, but I have to tell you, I don’t think anybody has done what we we’ve been able to do in 100 days. So we’re very happy,” Trump said Friday.

Trump and his aides have also acknowledged it was perhaps too ambitious to accomplish all of Trump’s promises in the first 100 days and that he is still finding his sea legs in the biggest job he has ever held.  

In a candid moment during an interview with Reuters, Trump said the presidency is harder than he expected. 

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Still, it was clear that the White House’s No. 1 imperative of the week was to maintain a constant hum of activity.

Trump approved five executive actions this week: one designed to help farmers and ranchers, a second to kick-start an overhaul of education guidelines, a third to strengthen protections for whistleblowers at the Veterans Affairs department and a pair that review rules that closed off lands and waters to development and oil and gas exploration.

The image-conscious president made he signed each one at ceremonies in the Oval Office and Cabinet departments that resembled bill signings. 

Trump also hosted a briefing on North Korea for nearly every member of the Senate at the White House complex, then personally stopped by to assure senators he is confronting the nuclear threat.  

“I know there’s narratives out there that say otherwise, but we look at it and see a president who is working at breakneck speed and somebody who is doing, as fast as he can, in the confines of the law, running through that punch list of promises that he made during the campaign,” Priebus said.

Critics say the frenzy of activity sends a mixed message about the expectations Trump has for himself and what standard the public should hold him to. 

Brandon Rottinghaus, a presidential historian at the University of Houston, said presidents who notched major legislative victories in their first 100 days, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump floods the zone for 100-day anniversaryTrump team did background check on Flynn, knew of Turkey ties: reportTrump: ‘I couldn’t care less about golf’MORE, are the exception rather than the rule. 

“The White House looks a little desperate in trying to push all these policies,” Rottingahus said. “It all looks like they are grasping for some kind of victory while trying to tamp down expectations that there should be a victory.”

The president is also facing pressure to boost his standing with the public. Gallup’s daily tracking poll showed Trump’s approval rating at 43 percent heading into his 100th day in office. It could be an uphill battle, as presidents tend to lose, not gain, political capital over time.  

But Trump’s core supporters appear to be firmly behind him, despite some of his campaign-trail promises remaining unfulfilled.

Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of State who served on Trump’s transition team, likened the president’s first 100 days to a Marine Corps boot camp. 

“It’s a way to think about the way the president approaches these things, he’s a classic overloader, and he’s preparing in a way folks would prepare to go to battle to get things done,” he said.  

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How the world sees Trump, 100 days in – CNN

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