Trump’s Mixed Record in Keeping His Campaign Pledges

VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report.

As Democrats continue a year-long tussle to see who will get to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, the president and his supporters are laying the groundwork for a campaign that will try to sell voters on the idea that he is a man who does what he says he will do.

With the official kickoff rally for his re-election bid scheduled for Tuesday in Orlando, the president is using “Promises made. Promises Kept” as the slogan of the Trump campaign, raising the obvious question: Did Trump keep his promises?

As with any politician on the national stage, the answer is complicated. The president made any number of boasts, promises and predictions during his run for the White House. Whether he kept them all is a very different question.

FILE – President Donald Trump speaks to members of the U.S. military at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 28, 2019.

Some can be checked fairly easily. Trump vowed to pump billions of dollars in new spending into the U.S. military, and there is no denying that he can claim “mission accomplished” on that score. The Pentagon’s budget has soared under his administration. He vowed to pull the United States out of the international nuclear agreement with Iran and made good on that pledge in May 2018.

For others, it’s more difficult to come to a conclusion. Trump had promised to end federal funding for programs in “sanctuary cities” that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement agents. In the end, he announced a limited ban on funding for programs in sanctuary cities, which was quickly blocked by a federal judge. 

When Trump and his surrogates hit the campaign trail in earnest later this year and on into 2020, they’ll be pushing the idea that the president delivered for the American people, although Democrats will strongly disagree. 

“From the perspective of his supporters, Donald Trump has done exactly what he promised he would do,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster from Alexandria, Va. “And where he has failed, it has been the result of obstruction, primarily from Democrats, who have not given him the money he wanted for his wall, and not given him some of the other things that he promised during the campaign.”

Trump, Ayres added, will be able to argue, “It’s somebody else’s fault that he wasn’t able to deliver on some of those promises.”

However, a rundown of some of the president’s biggest successes, and most obvious failures, suggests that in the 2020 election, there will be plenty of ammunition for both sides.

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