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Promises, Promises: What Trump Said He Would Do But Hasn't

President Donald Trump made hundreds of campaign promises, many of which he said he would accomplish within his first 100 days. But when it comes to the pledges that helped Trump get elected - big-ticket items like reforming the immigration system and repealing and replacing Obamacare - the president has struggled to make a dent.
Image: Donald Trump Delivers Address To Joint Session Of Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump enters the House Chamber to speak before a joint session of Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress is expected to focus on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has made little progress on some of his key campaign promises in his first 100 days as president.

Of the 10 core goals for his presidency tracked by NBC News, Trump made progress on two, faltered on four, and did little or nothing on the rest.

Trump's tangible progress is mostly confined to headline-grabbing executive orders that tackle parts of his promises from the campaign by undertaking regulatory or administrative reviews, or green lighting permits.

"I don't think there's any question that the president has done a significant amount on the issues that he put forward in the campaign," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters ahead of the 100-day mark, touting "a record number" of executive orders. "We are very proud."

RELATED: Tracking Donald Trump's Promises

But when it comes to the pledges that helped Trump get elected — the big-ticket items that require Congressional input like reforming immigration and revamping health care — the president has struggled to make a dent.

“He’s issued executive orders in line with what he’s said and appointments as well, but at the same time … to a remarkable degree, he doesn’t feel his previous statements bind him to anything," presidential historian Michael Beschloss told NBC News.

Here's where things stand:

1. Promise: Create 25 million jobs, rebuild industry

Status: Some direct action, progress

Job creators have applauded Trump’s “pro business” policies, and he’s taken some action aimed at job creation through executive orders. He rolled back regulations on the coal industry and ordered federal agencies to rescind regulations that “unduly burden” domestic energy development. Sources in the coal industry say the jobs are unlikely to come back, though his actions may stave off further losses.

He's blasted Canadian dairy farmers as a "disgrace" because their government-subsidized farms are charging low prices that undercut some American farmers, and he declared that the Canadian government's protection of its dairy industry through import tariffs and other measures is unfair.

The president also ordered a review of foreign-worker visa programs in hopes of encouraging domestic corporations to hire more Americans, though the details of implementation are unclear; effects on the H1-B visa program won’t be immediately known, as this year’s visa process won’t be affected.

Trump has been quick to take credit for the state of the economy, including claiming credit for job gains that came under President Barack Obama. He's also celebrated the very monthly jobs reports he had suggested were fraudulent under the Obama administration.

What's more, Trump's anecdotal claims of success have repeatedly been found to be exaggerated or had been announced months and sometimes years ahead of his presidency, like when he touted 900 new or saved jobs in Michigan that were part of a larger effort that saw a net loss of 200 jobs, or when he boasted of saving a Ford plant in Indiana that was not up for relocation.

2. Promise: Unite a divided nation

Status: No tangible progress or efforts

Trump has not taken any direct action that we can evaluate here, and divisions he has decried — a record-high 77 percent of Americans said in late November they see the nation as divided — persist. His legislative attempts have yet to attract bipartisan support, and his executive orders rolling back protections for transgender students and women in workplaces have been criticized as divisive.

The nation is sharply split in its view of Trump, too. Nearly 100 days in, more Americans disapprove of the president’s leadership than approve of it: The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 48 percent of Americans disapproving of his presidency, with 44 percent approving.

He reiterated his goal to unite the nation in a February interview, but insisted the problem wasn't his fault.

“It’s very important to me," he said in a press conference. “But this isn’t Donald Trump that divided a nation. We went eight years with President Obama, and we went many years before President Obama. We lived in a divided nation. And I’m gonna try, I will do everything within my power to fix that.”

3. Promise: Deport undocumented immigrants, build the wall

Status: Limited direct action, some early progress

Trump has made some progress but the results are mixed: Deportations are up and southern border crossings are down, but the oft-promised "big, beautiful wall" between the U.S. and Mexico lacks funding. Despite Trump's promises on the campaign trail, Mexico says IT will not pay.

Trump signed an executive order authorizing construction to begin, but the government has just $20 million — enough for about seven miles of the wall — in its coffers, according to ProPublica. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t include the money for it either, signaling that the president may struggle to get his own party on board.

Meanwhile, border apprehensions are down an unprecedented 70 percent over two months, according to Homeland Secretary John Kelly, who credits Trump’s tough rhetoric for adding “enough confusion” to slow crossings.

“To a remarkable degree, [Trump] doesn’t feel his previous statements bind him to anything" —presidential historian Michael Beschloss

Domestically, the administration is more aggressively deporting undocumented immigrants, with immigration arrests rising by a third in the first weeks of Trump’s administration.

While Trump promised that he’d focus on deporting criminals, the uptick in deportations is in part fueled by the removal of twice as many immigrants without criminal records as compared to last year, according to data obtained by the Washington Post. The president has not eliminated the deferred action programs for childhood arrivals and the parents of American citizens — earning criticism from his supporters.

Trump also used an executive order to block federal funds from going to cities that limit federal immigration enforcement in their jurisdictions in January, but a judge put a temporary stop to it in late April, saying the president had overstepped his power in the order.

4. Promise: Eradicate ISIS, make the U.S. safer

Status: Some action, progress stalled or unknown

During the campaign, Trump said a Muslim ban would make America safer from terrorist threats, later walking that back slightly before his election to be a ban on people traveling from certain countries.

As president, he signed two executive orders temporarily banning refugees and citizens of several Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States, but both orders were quickly challenged on legal grounds. The first order's immediate implementation resulted in chaos at the nation's airports and borders before being stopped by the courts, while the second order was blocked by the courts before implementation.

Trump promised to "destroy" ISIS as a candidate, and his first public effort against the terror group was certainly a headline maker. The U.S.military dropped the so-called “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, where ISIS was believed to be establishing a new foothold in the border region near Pakistan. The impact on the terror group is still unknown.

5. Promise: Repeal and replace Obamacare

Status: Stalled action

Trump vowed a speedy repeal of his predecessor’s signature health care law countless times during the campaign, promising to replace it with “something better” that would lower costs, wouldn't cut Medicaid or take away anyone's insurance.

According to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and policy experts, the American Health Care Act, the House bill his Republican caucus proposed and Trump endorsed as a way to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act and replace it, would have broken all of those campaign promises. The CBO estimated that more people would lose their insurance under the GOP’s proposed replacement than if the party simply repealed Obamacare, and moderate Republicans in the House refused to support it in part because the cuts to Medicaid were too deep. More conservative Republicans, meanwhile, were frustrated that it didn't repeal the law in its entirety. With Democrats united in their opposition and Republicans divided in their support, GOP leaders pulled the bill from consideration.

Trump has said he’s not done working to get a repeal bill — he has gone as far as to threaten to deprive the the ACA of funding in order to tank the existing program — and Republican members of Congress have publicly bounced around ideas for a compromise.

Still, 100 days in, Obamacare remains law.

6. Promise: "Drain the swamp"

Status: Some action, much of it potentially detrimental

Trump promised that one of his first actions as president would be to propose a constitutional amendment imposing congressional term limits. He has failed to do so, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it won't happen.

The president used executive authority to institute some of the ethics reforms he promised from the campaign trail, imposing a lifetime ban on White House staffers lobbying for foreign governments and imposing a five-year ban on lobbying for domestic clients.

"I don't think there's any question that the president has done a significant amount on the issues that he put forward in the campaign" —White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

But he also weakened an Obama-era lobbying restriction that barred lobbyists from taking a job within an agency they had tried to influence in the last two years, which gives lobbyists more power to take jobs in the Trump White House as soon as they quit from their lobbying roles.

Meanwhile, the swamp has hardly vanished: Dozens of lobbyists were found in Trump administration hiring rolls by ProPublica, who also discovered three hires working on the issues they’d lobbied on previously, like Shahira Knight, a former Fidelity lobbyist who had lobbied on retirement and tax issues and now is the president’s special assistant for tax and retirement policy. The White House may have given Knight a waiver, the investigative outlet reported, but there’s no way to know because the administration has also ended the government’s publication of those waivers through the Office of Government Ethics.

7. Promise: Rebuild America with $1 trillion infrastructure plan

Status: Little action

The White House has not yet rolled out a plan to rebuild what Trump calls America’s “crumbling” infrastructure.

The president appointed a special assistant of infrastructure with D.J. Gribbin, who has a history brokering deals between private investors and governments seeking infrastructure investment, the very kind of deal Trump says is key to funding reform without growing the deficit.Congressional leaders and infrastructure experts say they’re unsure just how feasible such funding mechanisms are; domestically, the nation has seen both successes and failures arise from such partnerships.

Trump's only action to date on an infrastructure project is his approval of permits for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. With that, Trump made good on one campaign promise while reneging on another: The Keystone XL pipeline won’t have to use American steel in construction, despite a White House order mandating pipelines do so.

8. Promise: Cut better deals globally, regain respect

Status: Some action, little progress

Trump kept his campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he said on the trail was badly negotiated and harmful to American workers.

On the other global deals, he has accomplished few of his promises: He has not withdrawn the U.S. from the trade deal NAFTA, though he announced late Wednesday that he'd begin renegotiating it. He also has not removed the U.S. from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His budget did, however, propose cancelling the billions of planned U.S. funding to United Nations climate change efforts, a step towards keeping that promise.

On the matter of global adversaries, Trump vowed to be tough on Iran and has issued sanctions on the nation over some missile tests in February. Still, he has yet to make good on his promise to unravel the nuclear deal his predecessor struck with the country — in Trump’s eyes, “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen.” His administration said in mid-April that Iran was complying with the sanctions-relieving nuclear deal at present and subsequently continued the sanctions relief the president had condemned from the campaign trail. The White House said at the time they were reviewing the deal still, and Trump argued that Iran was violating the "spirit" of the deal, which may set the stage for future action.

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Meanwhile, after promising to label China a currency manipulator within his first 100 days, he reversed himself entirely in April. "They're not currency manipulators," Trump told the the Wall Street Journal.

After an unorthodox call with the president of Taiwan in December and the suggestion that he might not abide by the One China policy, Trump agreed to honor it in February. The move came during a phone call with the Chinese president, who had reportedly only agreed to take if Trump publicly stated support for the One China policy.

Early calls with global allies have also proved problematic: A phone call with one of America's top allies, Australia, saw the president reportedly berate the Australian prime minister over a refugee deal, boast over his election win, and end a scheduled hour-long call after just 25 minutes. They have since appeared to mend ways and the Australian Prime Minister plans to meet with Trump in New York City next month.

9. Promise: Reduce crime

Status: No action

There are few indicators that crime has moved one way or another in just a few months, and Trump declined to send federal agents to Chicago to combat crime as he suggested he might in January.

What's more, law enforcement experts believe that the president’s efforts on immigration could actually drive crime up, as communities close themselves off to police — refusing to report, testify, or even acknowledge witnessing a crime or being a victim — for fear of immigration enforcement.

Trump took one direct action aimed at highlighting crimes, rather than preventing them. The Department of Homeland Security and ICE launched an office to support victims of crime perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. Critics, citing statistics that show American citizens are more likely to commit crimes than immigrants, say it's an effort to further demonize immigrants.

10. Promise: So much winning

Status: Still looking for a big win

As a candidate, the president promised big wins that would be so frequent America would get bored of it. Ahead of the 100 days benchmark, the president seemed in search of such a win, hurrying to launch his tax plan and resurrecting the health care effort just weeks after it failed spectacularly.

"We are going to have a big win soon, because we are going to have health care and that's gonna happen. And there was no lose with health care, this is just a constant negotiation and the plan is getting better and better all the time,” Trump told a Wisconsin television network in April.

The president may also still be looking for a win in his approval ratings: Gallup said April 20 that Trump's average approval rating as is the lowest since the polling firm began its survey in 1953, though the latest NBC News poll saw his approval rating begin to creep back up.