What Donald Trump Said He Would Do During His First 100 Days in Office

October 22nd 2016

Mike Rothschild

On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke at the Gettysburg battlefield and outlined his plans for what would be the 100 days of his administration. As with everything else involving Trump, social media pundits were divided on whether the speech was a triumphant prelude to victory or an airing of grievances that insulted the memory of Abraham Lincoln

As with most of Trump’s campaign promises, many skirt the line of what a president is actually able to unilaterally do, and others might not even be legal.

Here’s a handy guide to some of what Trump promised, and whether he could actually deliver:

1. “Propose a Constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.”

As part of his plan to “drain the swamp” of career politicians, Trump made term limits a major part of his stump speech. Most state offices have such limits, but the Constitution doesn’t mandate any for national offices. A number of such amendments have been introduced into the House, but none have ever gotten the two-thirds majority needed to move forward. Trump would be free to have a member of Congress introduce a new attempt, but with the partisanship of the current House, there’s little chance of it succeeding.

2. “Hiring freeze on all federal employees except military and public safety.”

Trump could likely do this, though there’s a case that the federal government isn’t over-staffed at all, but rather massively understaffed. The Social Security Administration has estimated that a third of its workforce could retire by 2020, but a Congressional hiring freeze has left them with numerous open positions and millions of looming retires to administer benefits to. Many of the worst offenders in the government in terms of waste and fraud operate primarily through outsourcing – a problem Trump’s hiring freeze wouldn’t fix at all.

3. “A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.”

A few weeks prior to his Gettysburg speech, Trump announced that “70% of federal regulations can go” while vowing to eliminate laws regulating everything from energy to food safety. However, repealing a regulation is a time-consuming and difficult process that involves public comment, feasibility studies, reviews of those studies by the Office of Management and Budget, and very often, lawsuits. Playing out this process over a grand scale with thousands of laws is simply beyond the scope of the limited government Trump seeks to enact.

4. Various lobbying bans

Trump wants to drastically curtail the influence of lobbyists on politics, proposing bans on elected officials and staffers entering lobbying even after leaving politics, and lifetime bans on White House officials lobbying on behalf of foreign governments, and vice versa. There’s already a “cooling off” period of 1-2 years before Congressional staffers can take jobs with lobbying firms, and Trump’s website offers scant details on how he’d enact these bans, other than “asking Congress.” Trump himself would have little power to enact the bans.

5. “Renegotiate NAFTA or withdrawal from the deal.”

Article 2205 of NAFTA does make it possible to remove the US from the deal with six months of written notice, but what happens next is totally unknown. The US hasn’t exited a trade deal since abrogating the Canadian-American Reciprocity Agreement in 1866, and NAFTA is an infinitely more complex and far-reaching agreement. Experts are divided about the outcome, with anything from to massive job losses to a full-on trade war with Mexico to not much impact at all being possible.

6. “Cancel every unconstitutional executive order by President Obama.”

Presidents have a long tradition of cancelling executive orders of the previous administration with new executive orders. Providing they don’t violate the Constitution or previously passed laws, Trump is free to scuttle as many Obama administration EO’s as he likes and replace them with his own.

7.“Build a wall on our southern border with the full understanding Mexico will reimburse the United States for the full costs.”


The legality of Trump’s massive border wall has never been resolved, and likely would tie the project up in court for years. But experts are clear that the US has no power to force Mexico to pay for it, nor does it have the power to confiscate remittances from immigrants (illegal or otherwise) living in the US.

8. “Weaken the US media power structure.”

Trump announced at Gettysburg that he would take steps to weaken the power of major US media companies, including blocking the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, and “breaking up” Comcast’s 2013 purchase of NBC. While major deals are subject to approval by the FTC, Department of Justice, and Congress due to antitrust laws, the executive branch can’t block them, nor can it “break up” mergers approved in good faith.

9. Sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault.


Before getting into his policy ideas, Trump vowed to go after the women who have come out to accuse him of sexual impropriety by suing them all after the election.

Lawsuit threats are a common tool in Trump’s rhetorical arsenal, but they’re rarely followed through on. His supposed suit against the New York Times, to be filed the night the first accusations against him were printed, has never panned out. While Trump could likely file any lawsuit he wanted, it’s doubtful that he will – no matter what happens in November.