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Sizing Up President Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CBSMiami/CBS News) — President Donald Trump has signed more laws and executive orders than recent presidents in his first 100 days, but he hasn’t been remarkably more — or shockingly less — successful than most past presidents, according to experts in presidential history.

“It hasn’t been that much different — it’s been more controversial more tumultuous because he’s not only battling with his political opponents, whoever he perceives to be his political opponents, he’s battling with the press,” Richard Benedetto told CBS News. Benedetto is an adjunct journalism professor at American University who covered four presidents as a White House reporter.

Mr. Trump recently said he didn’t think any president has accomplished more in the first 100 days than his administration has, but that’s hard to square, presidential historians said. Mr. Trump has signed more pieces of legislation than most recent presidents, but paling in comparison to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and Harry Truman. Here’s how they stack up:

  • Trump: 28 laws
  • FDR: 76 laws in first 100 days
  • Truman: 55 laws in first 100 days

Out of the 28 laws created by Mr. Trump, not one is a major law.

  • Thirteen of the laws he signed repeal Obama-era regulations, dispensing with them quickly under the Congressional Review Act;
  • Two of the laws name VA clinics —  one in Pago Pago and another in Pennsylvania;
  • Five are personnel appointments.

“The notion that he’s accomplished a great deal is just obviously not true,” said David Greenberg, professor of history and journalism and media studies at Rutgers University. “I don’t think there’s really any way to say that with a straight face.”

But critics’ claims that he is the least successful president thus far aren’t very accurate either, mostly because presidents don’t tend to have monumental accomplishments in their first 100 days, Benedetto said. Even when the House, Senate and White House are of the same party, unity can be troublesome. That is where executive orders come in for Mr. Trump, who has signed more than any president in recent history, according to the Federal Register.

FIRST 100 DAYS EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

  • Trump 29
  • Obama 19
  • G.W. Bush 11
  • Clinton 13

Whatever his accomplishments — or lack thereof — Mr. Trump’s approval ratings, according to Gallup, are the lowest any president has had at 100 days in recent memory.

Mr. Trump has also come under fire for his numerous trip to the southern White House, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.  He’s made seven weekend trips, for a total of 25 days, to his resort in Florida at a cost of about $3 million a trip.

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