White House, Democrats to hammer ‘promises’ as 100-day mark nears

Democrats and Republicans agree the word of the week will be “promises.” As President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office nears, the battle will be over whether they’ve been kept or broken.

After angst from the president and senior aides over the 100-day mark — and anticipation that press coverage will be dominated by his failure to change Obamacare — the White House plans to spend the week telling Americans he has kept his promises from the 2016 campaign, according to senior administration officials and a planning document reviewed by POLITICO.

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The White House has a packed schedule for the president. With reelection in 2020 already on their minds, aides said believe that even though recent polls show Trump has a lower approval rating than any modern president at the same point, polls also show his base believes he is delivering.

Meanwhile, Democrats’ theme for the week will be “100 Days of Broken Promises to American Families,” a strategy party leaders say will focus on contrasting the “bold commitments” of Trump’s campaign with what they consider a “historic lack of accomplishment” in office.

Democrats so far have been divided on how to peel supporters away from Trump, but this week’s strategy will launch a broader effort heading into the midterm election cycle to convince voters he is a phony, congressional aides said.

“So far, the president’s first 100 days have been defined by broken promises to America’s working class,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Democrats will center their attacks on Trump’s record on jobs and trade, health care, “draining the swamp” and their perception that he has boosted the wealthy at the expense of the working class, beginning with a joint news conference Monday and daily events all week.

Trump has packed his next six days with meetings and meals with prominent senators, ambassadors from United Nations Security Council countries, and U.S. Supreme Court justices. Higher-profile Cabinet secretaries will hit the road to promote his agenda, and the president plans to woo his base with a White House reception for conservative media figures and a speech at the National Rifle Association conference.

The White House hopes the hectic schedule drowns out coverage of the misfires and highlights his successes. Administration officials spent much of the weekend huddling on a strategy and are shooting for a week of “us being busy every day,” one administration official said.

His administration plans to particularly tout the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a name chosen from a list of potential justices he released during the 2016 campaign. He’ll also tout the elimination of regulations and a vow to grow the military.

The fight will play out online as well: The White House will launch a 100-days web page, with graphics and videos that officials hope his followers will share.

Trump will cap off his first 100 days in office with something he enjoys: a rally on Saturday evening in Pennsylvania, scheduled to conflict with the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which he is making a point of boycotting this year. The point of the rally is to highlight kept promises and his continued support outside Washington, administration officials said.

He tested out that message at a rally in Nashville last month, where volunteers handed out blue signs: “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”

Seeing the signs delighted the president, he told the crowd, urging them to keep waving them. “We’re keeping our promises,” he said, praising the signs.

But following through on the pledges has been difficult for the first-time politician.

During the campaign, Trump released a “Contract with the American Voter,” a list of things he said he’d accomplish in office. But of 18 pledges in the “100-day action plan” that didn’t require movement by Congress, Trump has achieved roughly seven. Of the 10 legislative measures he pledged to introduce and fight for, he’s at not-quite-one, depending on how one grades the stalled effort to repeal Obamacare.

Among the changes he promised but hasn’t touched: a Constitutional amendment for term limits for members of Congress, a full ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections, and legislation to address violent crime. He has not released a plan on cybersecurity, as he said he’d do within 90 days.

The White House said Trump will be “outlining principles for tax reform” on Wednesday, but there’s been little substantive work so far on what would be extremely complex legislation.

Last week, the White House began a last-minute push to revive health care legislation — an effort that seemed doomed from the start. Speaker Paul Ryan told lawmakers on Saturday not to expect a vote this week, several people who were on the conference call said.

Trump is also arguing for funding for his proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, an early campaign pledge, as Congress comes back to town. But Hill leaders say that push could backfire, leading to a government shutdown on the 100-day mark.

At the Trump rally in Nashville in March, Trump quietly dropped his pledge that Mexico would pay for the wall. (He tweeted Sunday that the U.S. neighbor would pay “at a later date.”) He didn’t mention that he’d hired lobbyists despite pledging to “drain the swamp” of Washington, nor did he explain that he’d made no moves to jail former rival Hillary Clinton when the crowd chanted “lock her up.”

But he did brag, just one week before the effort fell apart, that he would keep his promise and overturn the 2010 Obamacare law.

“Remember all the broken promises?” he said of Democrats who voted for Obamacare. “Those in Congress who made these promises have no credibility whatsoever.”

Read more : http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/23/white-house-democrats-promises-trump-100-days-237504

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