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Promises kept, promises stalled: Rating Donald Trump's first month in office
Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg February 23, 2017

One month into his administration, President Donald Trump has begun to move forward on a fair number of his many campaign promises.

As we did with President Barack Obama, PolitiFact is tracking how well the president delivers.

We assess results, not effort. A president might promise a certain outcome, but in many cases, such as repealing the Affordable Care Act or building a wall along the Mexican border, Congress has to go along. What emerges might be very different from the vision Trump offered when he was a candidate.

In Trump’s case, the courts have already played a major role, putting on hold his effort to block travel to the United States by citizens from seven terror-prone countries.

Many of the 102 promises on the Trump-O-Meter have yet to be rated. What leaps out is that among the 19 promises we’ve examined, 11 fall in the category of In the Works. It’s an indication that even the leader of the world’s leading economic and military power can only go so far to reshape policy in the direction he likes. Policy is complicated and messy, as Trump has seen in his first month on the job.

Here’s a snapshot of how well he’s done so far.

He delivered the most on two specific items tied to trade. He had vowed he would withdraw the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership, a regional trade deal that included 12 countries struck during the Obama administration. In an Oval Office ceremony on Jan. 23, Trump signed a presidential memorandum officially directing the U.S. Trade Representative to pull out of all negotiations. The TPP was at an early enough stage that the White House held all the chips, and besides which, it was going nowhere in Congress. We rated this Promise Kept.

Trump also made a very particular promise to save jobs at a furnace-manufacturing plant in Indiana. About 1,400 workers were at risk if Carrier had followed through on plans to relocate its furnace production to Mexico.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, announced an agreement with Carrier Corp. on Nov. 29 that retained 800 jobs. The state of Indiana said it would give the company $7 million in tax incentives over a decade, and the company agreed to invest $16 million to keep the company in the state.

While the deal didn’t protect every job that was on the line, it’s not clear that Trump promised to go that far. The president of the local Steelworkers union called the results a mixed bag. Still, we rated this Promise Kept.

Trump’s biggest setback came on his commitment to stop immigration from terror-prone countries, including Syria and Libya. The president did sign an executive order suspending entry for refugees and for travelers from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries, but turmoil ensued. At first legal permanent residents were blocked from entering, then that policy was reversed. Fully vetted refugee families arrived, only to be flown back to the countries they had just left.

A federal district judge imposed a restraining order on the policy and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that judge’s ruling. As of this moment, the Trump administration reportedly is rewriting his executive order. For the time being, we rate this promise Stalled.

Some of the biggest items on Trump’s to-do list fall into the category of In the Works.

He said he would "immediately repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, the signature health care program championed by Obama. On his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order authorizing all federal agencies to defer or delay any part of the Affordable Care Act that costs anybody any money.

While that sounds sweeping, it didn’t grant agencies any new power that they didn’t have before, nor did it remove any legal requirement written in the law itself. But it was clearly in line with what Trump said he would do if he won. Only Congress can repeal the law, but Trump helped put the wheels in motion.

Trump’s vow to "stop illegal immigration and deport all criminal aliens" produced new policies and a wave of enforcement actions by the Department of Homeland Security. On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order directing the department to prioritize the removal of immigrants in the country illegally.

A DHS memo on Monday presented guidance on how the agency would implement the order. It left in place the Obama-era policy of deferred action for those who were brought to the country when they were young children and had grown up in the United States. But DHS said it would move to deport a wide range of other people.

"All of those in violation of immigration law may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States," the agency posted on its website.

As for Trump’s signature promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, the president signed an executive order and the Department of Homeland Security followed up with a memo that ordered federal workers to "immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall."

An internal Homeland Security memo reportedly estimated the price tag for the wall at over $20 billion. Congress holds the purse strings, so much work lies ahead.

The wall isn’t the most expensive item on Trump’s list of promises. He said he would put $550 billion into repairing the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure. And he said there would be no cuts the three costliest programs in Washington --  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All of those items are pending.

Here’s a look at all of the promises we’ve rated so far.

Promise Kept

Slash federal regulations

Place lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying for foreign government

Nominate someone from his list of justices to replace Antonin Scalia

Stop TPP

Save the Carrier plant in Indiana

In the Works

Impose a hiring freeze on federal employees

Defund Planned Parenthood

Approve the Keystone XL project and reap the profits

Move U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Cancel all funding of sanctuary cities

Have mandatory minimum sentences for criminals caught trying to enter the United States illegally

Triple ICE enforcement

Cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take undocumented immigrants back

Repeal Obamacare

Build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it

Remove criminal undocumented immigrants


Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton

Suspend immigration from terror-prone places


Enact 5-year ban on White House and congressional officials from lobbying


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Promises kept, promises stalled: Rating Donald Trump's first month in office