Voters who wish to hold Trump to the contract would do well to read the fine print. Rather than achieving his promises, the contract calls for his administration "to immediately pursue" three, multipoint action items intended to "clean up corruption," protect American workers and "restore security."
The White House has proven effective in selling Trump's executive orders — which are often largely symbolic or only direct agencies to review policies — as policy victories, said John Hudak, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. But he believes Trump will ultimately get judged on the "big-ticket" pledges that require congressional action — namely tax reform, health-care changes and infrastructure funding. The president promised those policies would help to boost economic growth and improve Americans' well-being.
"What people are focused on are jobs — beyond the executive orders — health care, the broader economy, taxes," Hudak said. "He can sell as many orders as he wants, but it's still going to come back to these big, flashy policy failures. It's hard to hang a presidential legacy on executive orders."
Here's a summary of how Trump has fared on some of his biggest campaign pledges:
- Repeal and replace Obamacare: The first Republican attempt to replace President Barack Obama's landmark health-care law failed in dramatic fashion last month, as the House GOP struggled to balance the wishes of its conservative and moderate members. However, Trump is now pushing for another vote on a revised bill this week. That may prove difficult if Congress wants to take action to avoid a government shutdown when the current resolution funding the government expires on Friday.
- Tax reform: Since February, the White House has set, and missed, more than one deadline for releasing its tax reform plan. Republicans appear set on addressing tax reform after they pass health-care legislation. The health-care setback led Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to say recently that passing tax reform by his original August goal could be difficult.
- Stimulating job growth: The White House says that its broader initiatives, particularly tax reform and slashing regulations, will unlock economic and job growth. It is too early to say whether the administration has improved GDP or job growth significantly. While the Trump administration has claimed credit for many corporate announcements of hiring or investment in the U.S., many of those decisions came before Trump won the election.
- Building a wall ... and getting Mexico to pay for it: Trump has signed executive orders to empower border enforcement and start the process of building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, part of his promise to crack down on illegal immigration. The White House now plans to request funding for the wall from Congress — after Trump repeatedly insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Democrats say they will not authorize funding for the wall, which creates a potential sticking point in avoiding a government shutdown.
- Secret plan to destroy ISIS: Trump promised he would have U.S. generals draft a plan to eradicate the Islamic State terror group within 30 days of taking office. So far, though, his strategy does not appear different from that of the Obama administration.
- "Extreme vetting" of immigrants: During the campaign, Trump called for a potentially unconstitutional ban against Muslims entering the United States, citing terrorism concerns. That proposal eventually changed to what Trump called "extreme vetting," and he signed an executive order temporarily restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. That measure — and a revised version — have both gotten hung up in court, partly due to previous statements by Trump and his advisors about restricting Muslims.
- Renegotiating NAFTA: Trump announced his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal among the United States, Canada and Mexico. He has repeatedly slammed Mexico, and recently even attacked Canada, for what he calls trade abuses that hurt American workers. The White House has promised to formally trigger a renegotiation process soon.