U.S. President Donald Trump made a lot of strongly-worded promises on the campaign trail. He broke from political consensus on many issues. But will he keep his promises? During his time in office, Bombs + Dollars will track how Trump’s policies live up to his rhetoric. We have selected a number of his most important promises, chosen for their importance to his message, how often he expressed them, or because they are particularly big changes from current American policy.
|Back Russia on Syria||“If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100 percent, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it. We can’t continue to be the policemen of the world.” – Source 1 – Source 2||Trump has ordered a missile strike against a Syrian airstrip manned by Russians where a chemical weapons strike by Assad allegedly was initiated. He did briefly say that regime change wasn’t the U.S.
goal, but then he changed course after the chemical weapons strike.
|Bomb the shit out of ISIS and take Iraq and Syria’s oil||“I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left. And you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there and in two months, you ever see these guys, how good they are, the great oil companies? … You put a ring around them. You put a ring.” – Source|
|Send 20,000-30,000 ground troops to fight ISIS||“We really have no choice. We have to knock out ISIS. I would listen to the generals, but I’m hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000.” – Source||The military is reportedly drawing up plans, as of late March, to send 1,000 ground troops to Syria. The general in charge is making a new plan that might include more troops. But the troops might be limited to mostly support roles for local armies and militias.|
|Send very few troops to Syria||“I am going to have very few troops on the ground. We’re going to have unbelievable intelligence, which we need; which, right now, we don’t have. We don’t have the people over there.” – Source||As noted above, the U.S. may be increasing its troop levels in Syria, although the numbers so far are not as high as many have proposed.|
|Renegotiate defense arrangements with Korea, Japan, and other U.S. allies||“I would renegotiate so much of everything. I’m going to renegotiate our trade deals where we’re losing with everybody. I’m going to renegotiate our military deals where we’re protecting countries and they’re not living up to the bargain.” – Source||South Korea’s administration claims Trump pledged to defend Korea in a post-election phone call – DW. So far Trump hasn’t done anything to withdraw troops from South Korea or try to rearrange defense agreements. He did rhetorically threaten to try to make South Korea pay for the instalment of THAAD, but then the Trump administration that same week confirmed it would pay for the system, which is meant to in large part to defend American troops and the American mainland.|
|Force NATO allies to pay more for defense||“I think NATO’s great. But it’s got to be modernized. And countries that we’re protecting have to pay what they’re supposed to be paying.” – Source||Trump attacked Germany for, in his words, “owing vast sums” of money to the United States. Trump gave German leader Merkel a piece of paper asking for 300 billion Euros, claiming that was what Germany owed for the past 12 years.|
|Place Syrian refugees in the U.S.||“I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, you have to. … But you know, it’s living in hell in Syria. There’s no question about it. They’re living in hell, and something has to be done.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-syrian-refugees-213430||Trump is expected to sign an executive order temporarily banning all refugees from any country for up to 4 months, according to aides. Another order would block visas being issued to anyone from Syria. If Trump follows through, he will have failed to allow Syrian refugees safe haven in the U.S., as he said the U.S. would have to.|
|Send Syrian refugees in the U.S. back||“I’m putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they’re going back! … A 200,000-man army maybe, or if you said 50,000 or 80,000 or 100,000, we got problems and that could be possible. I don’t know that it is, but it could be possible so they’re going back — they’re going back.” – http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-new-hampshire-syrian-refugees-are-going-back-n436616||The executive order Trump is reportedly considering that would ban refugees and ban Syrians doesn’t apparently send refugees already in the U.S. back, according to reports, but it would ban any new refugees from coming.|
|Establish “safe zones” in the Middle East for refugees||“For the price of resettling 1 refugee in the United States, 12 could be resettled in a safe zone in their home region.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-immigration-address-transcript-227614|
|Bring back waterboarding||He also said on that show he would bring back waterboarding. At a debate in February, he doubled down, saying he would do “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”||The Trump administration has drafted an executive order that would call for the Guantanamo Bay military prison to remain open and direct foreign combatants and suspects captured to be sent there. The draft includes a ban on “torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as proscribed by U.S. law.” However civil libertarians are concerned that the draft, by calling for a “review” of detention policies, could harken a redefinition of “torture” that would exclude waterboarding. – CBS, The Guardian
Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have both testified that they think waterboarding is illegal. Vice president Mike Pence, however, refused to rule out waterboarding in a post-election appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
|Kill civilian family members of suspected terrorists||At the same debate Trump defended his previously-stated plane to kill family members of terrorists.|
|Keep the Guantanamo Bay military prison open||In February, Trump issued a statement promising to keep “Gitmo” open: http://www.donaldjtrump.com/media/donald-trump-vows-to-keep-gitmo-open-while-in-hanahan At a campaign rally around that time, he said, “Guantanamo Bay — which by the way, we are keeping open! And we’re going to load it up with some bad dudes. We’re going to load it up.”||Trump has signed an executive order to keep the prison open.|
|Consider imprisoning American citizens in Guantanamo Bay||Trump said in August 2016 that he’d be open to the idea of holding American citizens accused of terrorism at the Guantanamo Bay prison and trying them in military tribunals. “Well, I know that they want to try them in our regular court systems, and I don’t like that at all, I don’t like that at all. I would say they could be tried there, that’ll be fine,” he said in an interview with the Miami Herald. – Source||The executive order Trump signed to keep the prison open didn’t address sending Americans to Gitmo. It specifically mentioned sending foreign combatants and foreign suspects to Gitmo. It also included language to the effect that the U.S. would have to follow the law with regard to Gitmo. According to the law, American civilians cannot be imprisoned in Gitmo or other military prisons where they are denied due process.|
|Ban Muslim’s from enterring the U.S.||“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” – https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration||Trump is reportedly planning on signing an executive order that would ban all immigrants or visitors from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, Muslim majority countries. However, such an order would also ban non-Muslims from those countries, and it would also allow hundreds of millions of Muslims from other countries not covered by the ban to apply for visas to visit or immigrate to the U.S.
At his confirmation hearing, Trump’s choice for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said he opposed the proposal made by Trump to ban Muslims from coming to the United States.
|Ban immigration from “terrorist countries”||“He also promised as president to “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.” – NBC News http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-scotland-muslim-ban-i-dont-want-people-terror-n598956||Trump signed an executive order calling for a “temporary” ban on all travel and immigration from 7 majority Muslim countries, as well as a “temporary” ban on refugees and a complete ban on Syrian refugees. The executive order has been challenged in court, and there is currently a stay against its implementation.|
|Institute an ideological screening test for immigrants||“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is long overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting.” – http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/14/politics/donald-trump-isis-fight/index.html “Another reform involves new screening tests for all applicants that include an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-immigration-address-transcript-227614||During Kris Kobach’s November 21 meeting with Trump, the document Kobach shared included a proposal to “add extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens.” The questions would ask them about “support for Sharia law, jihad, equality of men and women, the United States Constitution.” – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/11/21/trump-adviser-accidentally-reveals-border-wall-immigrant-tracking-ideas/|
|Build a wall||The highlight of his platform, he noted he would “build a wall” at the Mexican border at most of his campaign events. He often said it would be a “big, beautiful wall” and emphasized how tall it would be. At a primary debate, he said, “The wall just got 10 feet higher” in response to Mexico’s president’s refusal to pay for it. On August 25, 2015, his campaign issued the following statement: “Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a ‘fence.’ It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference.”||
The Trump administration relies on a 2006 law authorizing a fence as justification for his attempts to build a border barrier. However, Congress has not appropriated funds for a border wall in its appropriations bills. The Trump administration is left arguing that funds to repair sections of the existing wall constitute a “downpayment” on the wall.
As of March, Trump is asking for Congress to appropriate $1 billion for the first section of the barrier. His administration says the “wall” will cost over $20 billion in all. Outside estimates put it at $30 billion or more.
|Get Mexico to pay for it||The other highlight of his platform, which always followed his refrain about building a wall.||Broken promise. Trump asked Congress to appropriate funds for his wall in the first spending bill that took place during his term. Congress refused to include funds for the wall in the bill. Mexico says they won’t pay for it either. The Trump administration continues to argue that Mexico will pay for it “later.”|
|Deport all 11-12 million illegal immigrants from U.S.||Trump signed an executive order to step up deportations, but the executive order said nothing about deporting all illegal immigrants.|
|Deport millions of illegal immigrants who committed crimes||In August Trump began focusing primarily on deporting illegal immigrants convicted or suspected of crimes. He identified the number being in the millions.||Trump has signed executive orders to broaden the scope of people the government deports.|
|Pass mandatory minimum sentence law for illegal immigrants||“On my first day in office, I am also going to ask Congress to pass “Kate’s Law” – named for Kate Steinle – to ensure that criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry face receive strong mandatory minimum sentences.” – Source||On his first day in office, Trump did not ask Congress to pass “Kate’s Law.” In fact, after more than 100 days in office, he still hasn’t. Trump has thus broken this promise.|
|Triple the size of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement force||“We are going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-immigration-address-transcript-227614||Trump has signed an executive order to increase ICE’s staff by 5,000. As of 2014, ICE had 19,300 staff. In order to triple ICE’s staff, Trump would have to increase its staff by 38,600.|
|Create a Deportation Task Force||“Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-immigration-address-transcript-227614|
|Rescind executive orders giving temporary legal status to some young illegal immigrants||“We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.” – http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-immigration-address-transcript-227614||Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said that Trump would prioritize other things besides rescinding Obama’s executive orders on “Dreamers.” So far Trump has taken no action on Dreamers. Having not done so, and having had the administration spokesman not say there is any action forthcoming, Trump has violated his pledge to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties.”|
|Renegotiate the national debt||“I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal…And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.” – http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/us/politics/donald-trumps-idea-to-cut-national-debt-get-creditors-to-accept-less.html|
|Repay the national debt in 8 years||https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-turmoil-or-triumph-donald-trump-stands-alone/2016/04/02/8c0619b6-f8d6-11e5-a3ce-f06b5ba21f33_story.html – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/04/02/transcript-donald-trump-interview-with-bob-woodward-and-robert-costa/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumppresidency-7pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory||The budget Trump proposed cut spending on many non-military discretionary programs. It also cut Social Security Disability, while leaving non-disability Social Security and Medicare untouched, which are bigger factors of spending than discretionary. Trump and the Republicans are planning to use the budget cut savings to push for tax cuts.|
|Would sell off government assets||“The United States government owns more real estate than anybody else, more land than anybody else, more energy than anybody else. We can get rid of government buildings we’re not using, we can extract the energy from government lands, we can do all kinds of things to extract value from the assets that we hold.” – Trump economic advisor Barry Bennet http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-s-unusual-plan-lower-national-debt-sell-government-n549946|
|Threaten to raise tariffs to between 30-45 percent||” I would do a tax, and the tax — let me tell you what the tax should be. The tax should be 45 percent.” – http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2016/01/07/donald-trump-says-he-favors-big-tariffs-on-chinese-exports/ “What I said to the New York Times, is that, we have great power, economic power over China and if we wanted to use that and the amount — where the 45 percent comes in, that would be the amount they saw their devaluations that we should get.” – http://bombsdollars.com/index/index.php/2016/01/15/donald-trump-is-wrong-chinese-imports-to-the-u-s-are-taxed/ – http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-trump-trade-idUSKCN0WQ0WG||Congressional Republicans haven’t been talking about the border tax anymore, and Trump didn’t include the border tax or any other kind of tariffs in his summary tax plan.|
|Renegotiate trade deals||“I’m renegotiating all of our deals, the big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on.” – https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-turmoil-or-triumph-donald-trump-stands-alone/2016/04/02/8c0619b6-f8d6-11e5-a3ce-f06b5ba21f33_story.html||Trump has raised the specter of “renegotiating” NAFTA and the South Korea – US Free Trade Agreement.|
On April 27, he said he would negotiate NAFTA, after rumors of the US pulling out of NAFTA were circulated.
|Have factories “moved” or built in the U.S.||“I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.” – https://www.yahoo.com/news/economists-dump-trump-boast-bring-jobs-back-china-072657240–finance.html?ref=gs “I would call up the head of Ford, who I know. If I was president, I’d say, ‘Congratulations. I understand that you’re building a nice $2.5 billion car factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States, zero tax. So I would say, ‘Congratulations. That’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news . . . we’re going to charge you a 35 percent tax.’ ” – Source||Trump held a press conference at Carrier and claimed he saved 1,100 jobs. Later the union rep pointed out that the deal Carrier struck resulted in 800 jobs remaining in Indiana, not 1,100, and a plant was still being opened in Mexico. Trump attacked the union rep on Twitter.|
|Approve the Keystone XL pipeline and appropriate profits for the government||“When they do this pipeline, it’s going to be a very profitable thing and it’s really Canada oil coming down — so it’s not — I like Canada, I want these people to be happy, but I want the developers of the pipeline to give the United States a big, big chunk of the profits or even ownership rights, like I do in business.” – https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/01/24/donald-trump-demands-big-chunk-of-keystone-xl-profits-for-the-us.html||Mixed. Trump signed an executive order to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It didn’t include a renegotiation of the terms or taking a share of profits.|
|Massive infrastructure program||In August 2016, Trump promised to spend over $500 billion over five years on new infrastructure. “We have a great plan and we are going to rebuild our infrastructure. By the way, her [Hillary Clinton] numbers is a fraction of what we’re talking about, we need much more money than that to rebuild our infrastructure. Well I would say at least double her numbers and you’re going to really need more than that. We have bridges that are falling down,” Trump said.||Trump has proposed $200 billion in new infrastructure in his budget,
less than the $250 billion Clinton had proposed.
|Repeal Obamacare||Mixed. House Republicans passed a “repeal and replace” bill that cut Medicaid, replaced Obamacare subsidies with smaller non-means tested tax credits, and allowed states to apply for and be granted exemptions to insurance regulations. Trump supported the bill. The Republicans are presenting the bill as “repeal” of Obamacare, but the bill wouldn’t actually repeal Obamacare; rather it would cut the scope of Obamacare while keeping much of the framework of Obamacare in tact.
The bill must be passed by the Senate before it can arrive on Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
|Mandate health insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions||At the CNN-Telemundo primary debate on February 25, 2016, Trump said, “The insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep preexisting conditions, and that would be a great thing.” He continued to state that his plan would cover people with pre-existing conditions for the entire campaign. At a late campaign rally, Mike Pence said, “Donald Trump and I will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions so that they’re not charged more or denied treatment just because they’ve been sick. As long as they pay their premiums consistently.”||Mostly broken promise. The healthcare bill the House Republicans passed would weaken the protections on insurance consumers with preexisting conditions. It would allow states to apply for exemptions to the regulation that requires that insurance companies price people with preexisting conditions similarly to people without. That would specifically break Pence’s promise that they will “not [be] charged more … just because they’ve been sick.”|
|Cover everyone||On “60 Minutes” in September 2015, Trump argued for universal coverage: “Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, ‘No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private.’ But… … I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” On multiple occasions thereafter, including at a debate and on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, he said, “We’re not going to let people die in the streets.”||Broken promise.The Republican healthcare bill would cut Medicare and cut subsidies to the poor, making it harder for some people to afford healthcare. The CBO estimated an earlier version of the bill would have resulted in 24 million less people being covered over 10 years. The Republicans voted on the latest version, which was similar, before the CBO put out a new score.|
|Allow consumers to purchase health insurance plans outside their home state||At the CNN-Telemundo debate, Trump also said, “We should have gotten rid of the lines around the state so there’s competition. … You get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York, or Texas, you’ll have many. They’ll compete, and it’ll be a beautiful thing.”||Broken promise. The healthcare bill Trump supported included no provisions allowing for consumers to purchase healthcare sold in other states.|
|Prosecute Clinton||During debate, Trump asserted that Clinton got off the hook when the FBI cleared her of any crime with regard to her use of a private email server and asserted that if he were president she would be in jail.||Since his election, Clinton has told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he “didn’t give much thought” to the question of prosecuting Clinton. In another interview with 60 Minutes he went further, saying, “I don’t want to hurt them [the Clintons]. They’re good people.” – http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-backs-off-clinton-prosecution-i-dont-want-to-hurt-them/article/2607293|
|Implement stop ‘n frisk||“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically, you understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk.” – http://www.nbcnews.com/card/trump-stop-frisk-needed-stop-violence-black-communities-n652121 Confronted at a presidential debate with Clinton about the fact that stop ‘n frisk, the practice of stopping and searching people on the street, was ruled unconstitutional, Trump defended the practice and argued that a different court might come to a different outcome.|
|Prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns||“If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week” in November 2015.|
|Keep abortion legal (Don’t change present law)||In an interview with CBS on April 1, 2016, Trump said, “I would’ve preferred states’ rights. I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set…. At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.”||Abortion remains legal, though each state has different laws, some of which are restrictive. Trump did say that he wanted to have Roe v. Wade overturned, which would result in state’s having the power to ban abortion, but he has no direct control over how the Supreme Court rules. However, he has nominated a conservative justice for appointment to the court.|
|Ban abortion||On April 1, 2016, the Trump campaign released the following statement: “Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now — until he is president. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.”||Trump nominated a conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, to the court. Gorsuch has never ruled directly on abortion, but he is conservative, and he has expressed conservative views on social issues in a book he has written. He has ruled against Planned Parenthood in a funding case. Still, it is impossible to know whether he will vote against Roe v. Wade or if he will even get the chance to do so with a case going to the court. Even if he is confirmed, he will be only the fourth (out of nine) “conservative” on the court, not enough to decide a case.|
|Allow abortion in the cases of rape and risks to life||“Ronald Reagan had those same exceptions. And many Republicans have those same exceptions,” Trump said on “Meet the Press” in August 2015.||If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the possibility exists that some states would not allow abortion in the cases of rape or risks to the life and health of the mother. It is unclear if Roe v. Wade will be overturned.|
|Appoint judges who would overturn abortion rights||In May 2016, Trump said he would appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court: “I will protect it and the biggest way to protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people in the court.” At a presidential debate with Clinton in October, Trump reaffirmed his goal of having abortion rights (Roe v. Wade) overturned at the Supreme Court: “If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.” The Roe v. Wade decision from 1971 established that the right to abortion is a constitutionally-protected right. Social conservatives have often wanted to see a new court overturn the long-established ruling. If it is overturned, state governments could ban abortion in their own state.||Trump nominated a conservative judge, Gorsuch, to the court, but he is not yet confirmed (it is almost certain that he will be), and even if he is confirmed, it is impossible to predict with certainty how he would vote on a specific case.|
|Stop government funding to Planned Parenthood||At the CNN-Telemundo primary debate on February 25, 2016, Trump said, “But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn’t fund it. I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3 percent. I don’t know what percentage it is. They say it’s 3%. But I would defund it, because I’m pro-life.”||The Republicans passed a bill that would allow states to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving reimbursements for healthcare provided. VP Mike Pence cast the deciding vote in Senate.
The Republican Party did not put any restrictions on Planned Parenthood in its first spending bill, but they did include “defund” provisions in the healthcare bill that passed the House of Representatives.
|Eliminate environmental protection agency||When asked by Sean Hannity whether he would eliminate any federal agencies, he answered, “Department of Environmental, I mean, the DEP is killing us environmentally, it’s just killing our businesses.” The federal environmental agency is the EPA.|
|Eliminate or cut the size of the Department of Education||On the same episode of Hannity’s show, Trump also mentioned eliminating the Department of Education. At a Fox News primary debate in March, he suggested the possibility of eliminating the DOE, but he was not definite: “I may cut Department of Education.” But he has often been in favor of at least cutting the DOE. He said at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention in January 2015, “You could cut that way, way, way down,” and he has also said in August 2015 that it could be left in “little pieces.”|