We have now passed the 100-day marker for Donald Trump’s presidency — but don’t expect the report cards to go away.
A president with no precedent and approval ratings far below any of the leaders who’ve come before him is sure to keep getting appraisals from the media, historians and political Washington as his next three months in office begin. Already, many are examining what it could hold: A showdown with North Korea. A decision on the Paris climate accord. Efforts to fund his promise for a border wall, pass tax reform and repeal the Affordable Care Act after his initial attempt ended in defeat.
But it’s not just because those rating him will keep doing it: Trump also seems to embrace it, albeit inconsistently. As we wrote last week, most presidents, with the notable exception of Bill Clinton, shied away from the 100-day marker, suggesting they should be judged on longer timeframes or avoiding the creation of deadlines for themselves. Trump, however, has both called it a “ridiculous standard” at the same time he keeps referring to it — tweeting about it, making false comparisons between his and his predecessors’ during a speech, and setting out a “contract for the American voter” on what he would deliver during his first 100 days.
That only continued in the days leading up to the milestone on Saturday. He’s reportedly putting money behind an ad campaign touting his first 100 days. He held a rally on the day the famous yardstick was hit, in which he unloaded on the press. His administration released a list of actions titled “100 days of accountability.” And of course, he tweeted about it, retweeting the founder of a conservative student group who praised the start of Trump’s term.
As the presidential historian Robert Dallek told the New York Times last week, “as with so much else, Trump is a study in inconsistency,” he said. “One minute he says his 100 days have been the best of any president, and the next minute he decries the idea of measuring a president by the 100 days.” That’s not likely to change.