Heather R. Higgins:
Most judging President Trump’s first 100 days tend to focus on key policies that have or have not passed. Surely this matters, but equally important is the way Mr. Trump has changed the office of president and the national dialogue as part of his policy initiatives.
Not only is Mr. Trump doing what he promised, but — whether we like it or not — he is doing it the way he promised. How do we know? Overwhelmingly, those who voted for him believe his first 100 days has been successful. Polling consistently shows that many of Mr. Trump’s policies are what the American people, though not the left, actually want.
Democrats and the liberal media are apoplectic over his successes and are pulling out all the stops to engage in unrelenting attacks on his policies and fitness for office. We should expect this to continue.
As in the primary, there is method to what seems (to some) like madness. Here are some ways Mr. Trump offends customary sensibilities — and in short order often accomplishes more in days than predecessors did in years:
• Disruptor: As promised, Mr. Trump’s dealings with Mexico over the wall and immigration reform (note that illegal crossings are at 17-year low), and his insistence that America’s allies pay their fair share for defense, have already changed the discussion from “if we should do it” to “how we should do it.” No small feat amid the fervent backlash.
• No more apologies: No longer does the U.S. president deride and apologize for law enforcement over the bad deeds of a few, but rather venerates those who put their lives on the line for us every day. In Syria and North Korea, Mr. Trump is making clear to the world that the United States is a country that keeps its word. Red lines drawn must be enforced. Mr. Trump never apologizes for America’s greatness and prosperity but explicitly demands respect from friends and foes alike (just ask Mexico’s president).
• America First: Mr. Trump has changed the dialogue on border security and sanctuary cities from “how we can protect those who cross our borders illegally” to “how we protect the American people first.” He has withdrawn from or is renegotiating trade deals (TPP and NAFTA) that will ultimately create a fair and level playing field, and bring jobs back for American workers. With the stroke of his pen by executive order, he has undone President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and put in place measures that will ensure both our long-term energy security and that our industries and workers can compete without onerous regulations that have little to no effect on global environmental concerns.
• Negotiator in chief: One of the least understood yet most effective skill sets of Mr. Trump is that he is the consummate dealmaker. He makes the big ask and then renegotiates to get what he wants or needs. Typical Washington insiders, pundits and political purists see this as failure or back-peddling. He does not see “failure to pass” as failure, but rather as a “back to drawing board” moment to produce a better outcome, something common in industry and rare in politics. For Mr. Trump, the back and forth on health care, tax and immigration reform, and the budget are where disagreements are aired and all views are welcome as part of the process. To the media this is infighting, to Mr. Trump it’s negotiating.