Trump would keep his promises

Donald Trump made great promises in 2016 to be elected. According to data from the non-partisan fact-checking site Politifact.com, Trump did not hold about half of them. Now he is running for a second term. A good reason to check out what has become of eleven of his most important promises:

1. A wall to Mexico that Mexico will pay for

The promise:"I'm going to build a great wall and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'm going to build them very cheaply. I'm going to build a great wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it." (Trump on June 16, 2015)

The result: So far it has not been possible for Trump to substantially expand the border fortifications with Mexico. The border is about 3,200 kilometers long. When Trump took office in early 2017, there were structural barriers over 1,052.5 kilometers. Now it is just 1083.3 kilometers 26 kilometers more. As of October 16, 2020, the Trump administration had only 600 kilometers of mostly existing border installations in need of renovation renewed. It is also not a wall, but a steel fence, which has also been overcome several times.

The question remains, who paid for it? It wasn't Mexico. Trump also had difficulties from the beginning in getting money from Congress for his wall plans. He therefore had a few billion dollars extracted from other projects in order to reallocate the money for the fence construction. Whether that was unconstitutional is currently being negotiated in the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States.

So he broke that promise.

2. Abolition of Obamacare

The promise:"Real change begins with the immediate abolition and replacement of the disaster known as Obamacare." (Trump on November 7, 2016)

The result: Trump has made many attempts to undermine the Obama administration's health reforms summarized in the Affordable Care Act. The law has given more than 20 million Americans access to health insurance, some for the first time in their lives. And that even if there were previous illnesses.

The Republicans have taken Obamacare by storm from the start. Trump has made abolishing the law his personal mission. Despite several attempts, he did not succeed in eliminating Obamacare. The highlight was the vote in the Senate on July 28, 2017, in which Obamacare was to be deleted without replacement. At that time, Republican Senator John McCain canceled the attempt with his no.

In the 2018 midterm election campaign, it turned out that more and more people in the United States actually understood that the Republicans are trying to take away their health insurance. The Republicans lost a majority in the House of Representatives in the midterms. Trump couldn't keep the promise. Shortly after the election, however, he could still achieve his goal. Then the "Affordable Care Act" will be heard in the Supreme Court. The Democrats fear that their law could be annulled by the new conservative majority expected there.

He broke that promise too.

3. Tax cuts for everyone

The promise:"Everyone gets a tax cut, especially the middle class." (Trump on May 9, 2016)

The result: Trump's major tax reform passed by Congress in December 2017 and was signed by Trump shortly afterwards. It was the first major law that the Trump administration had passed by then, despite a double majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is now clear that the tax reform was above all else: expensive for the state and beneficial especially for the rich. According to data from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, 60 percent of tax savings have benefited people in the top 20 percent of the income ladder. In some cases, people with lower incomes even paid higher taxes than before.

Another promise was that the estimated cost of reform of roughly $ 1 trillion would be offset with a reform-triggered economic boom. Keyword: "The reform pays for itself." As expected by many experts, the effect did not occur. US economic growth was 2.9 percent in 2018, just as high as in 2015. In 2019, it was even slightly lower at 2.3 percent. Trump pushed through a tax reform as promised. But one that primarily favors the rich and will have to pay for the coming generations.

He has thus partially kept this promise.

4. Massively restrict immigration

The promise:"When Mexico sends its people, they don't send the best. They send people who have a lot of problems. They bring drugs, they bring crime. They are rapists. (...) They don't just come from Mexico. They come from all over South and Latin America and probably - probably - the Middle East. But we don't know. Because we have no protection and no competence, we don't know what is happening. And it has to stop and it has to stop quickly. " (Trump on June 16, 2015)

The result: In his opinion, Trump has been very successful in massively restricting illegal and, above all, legal immigration to the USA. With the entry ban imposed at the beginning of 2017 for people from seven Muslim countries, for example. In the beginning it caused chaos at airports and entry points. And the Trump administration had to revise it twice before it was deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States. But ultimately, it has been in force in a scaled-down form since June 2018. Trump has also lowered the maximum entry limit for refugees from 110,000 people annually under President Obama to 18,000. As low as never before. He promoted the separation of families on the southern border as a deterrent. Some of the children were locked in cages while their parents waited in special prisons for their asylum hearings. The proceedings have been terminated by the courts. To this day, however, there are children who were not reunited with their parents.

To reduce the number of people traveling to the US through Mexico, Trump has put pressure on the Mexican government by threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican goods. Mexico has therefore agreed to more closely control its border with Guatemala, arrest more transit immigrants and take in asylum seekers who have been turned away at the US border.

Since January 2018, asylum seekers on the southern border have to wait for their procedures, which can take years, on the Mexican side of the border. Since July 2018, no one has been allowed to apply for asylum at all who has not traveled to the USA directly from their home country - which in fact amounts to an asylum ban for people from Latin America with the exception of Mexico.

Trump has also restricted the issuance of all kinds of visas and slowed the process down to such an extent that some have to wait years for visa applications to be approved or denied. With the pandemic, Trump has banned all forms of immigration to the United States. Now even student and journalist visas are on the brink. The latter should be limited to less than a year. Which makes continuous reporting from the USA almost impossible. Even China has better conditions there.

Trump kept this promise.

5. Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

The promise:"We will terminate the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of US tax money to United Nations global warming programs."Trump on May 27, 2016)

The result: On June 1, 2017, Trump kept his promise and announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. His reasoning at the time: The agreement harmed the US economy. According to the rules of the agreement, the formal act of termination did not take place until November 4, 2019. However, a notice period of one year came into force thereafter. The USA will not officially leave the agreement until November 4, 2020, one day after the election. Then Trump could be voted out, from January 20, 2021 a new President Joe Biden could lead the USA back into the agreement.

Still, this is a promise that Trump kept.

6. More Conservative Supreme Court Justices

The promise:"I'm going to submit a list of judges, potential judges for the United States Supreme Court, who I will appoint from the list. (...) Some people say I may appoint a liberal judge. I am not appointing a liberal judge. "(Trump on May 27, 2016)

The result: So far, Trump has had three opportunities to nominate judges for the Supreme Court. The proceedings for Amy Coney Barrett, who is to succeed the recently deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are currently ongoing. Neil Gorsuch succeeded Antonin Scalia, who died while Barack Obama was still in office. Brett Kavanaugh nominated Trump after Judge Anthony Kennedy resigned. Two conservative judges have replaced two conservative judges, and a third conservative judge should soon follow the liberal Bader Ginsburg.

However, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have not turned out to be the conservative lawyers that Trump would have wished for. In several decisions in the Supreme Court, with the support of Gorsuch or Kavanaugh, there were tight decisions in favor of the LGBTQ community or against Trump himself. The decision, for example, that he had to hand over his tax documents to the investigative authorities, was supported by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Trump then called it "political persecution". With the appointment of Judge Barrett, Trump should make the dream of many Republicans come true: a Supreme Court dominated by conservative judges with a majority of six to three.

So Trump kept this promise.

7. Special investigation into Hillary Clinton

The promise:"If I win, I'll assign the Attorney General to have a special investigator investigate Clinton's case." (Trump on October 9, 2016)

The result: Many still ring in their ears, which drove thousands of throats at Trump rallies during the 2016 election campaign: "Lock her up!", Locks them up. What was meant was Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton, who, as Secretary of State under Obama, had saved official e-mails on private servers. In 2017, Trump attempted to get his then Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Clinton. But there had already been investigations into this that were concluded in 2016 without Clinton being charged.

In October 2019, the report by the Office for Diplomatic Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also made public. Beginning before Trump took office, the office had spent three years scrutinizing the allegations against Clinton and determined that Clinton was not to be blamed for handling classified information. Which doesn't stop Trump from calling for investigations against Clinton from time to time. And in the election campaign to extend his demands to his opponent Joe Biden. He is also "criminal", he now says at election rallies.

Trump broke this promise.

8. New trade agreements

The promise:"Hillary Clinton started a trade war against the American worker when she backed one terrible deal after another, from NAFTA to China to South Korea. (...) A Trump administration will end this war by making fair deals for the American people and American workers are negotiating. The era of economic surrender will finally be over. It will be over. " (Trump on June 28, 2016)

The result: Trump's only major success in the field of trade agreements is the newly negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Experts consider the new version to be an update of the old NAFTA. But it has a completely new name: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA or CUSMA). The most important innovations are that questions of the digital economy are now being dealt with, Trump is allowed to help automakers in the USA and Canada is opening its market for US dairy products.

Otherwise, Trump has mainly destroyed without doing anything new. The planned trade agreement with Europe (TTIP) has been put on hold. Trump terminated the Trans-Pacific Agreement (TTP) three days after he took office on January 23, 2017. Most of the remaining states have then just come together to form an agreement. And with China, Trump started an expensive trade war that still did not result in the hoped-for agreement. So it's a mixed record.

Trump kept this promise in part.

9. Withdrawal of US troops from abroad

The promise:"I will never send our best into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and I will only do it if we have a plan for victory with a big S." (Trump on April 27, 2016)

The result: Donald Trump liked to present himself as a peacemaker in the 2016 election campaign. He would rather peace and security than war and destruction, that was his mantra. One promise was to massively reduce the number of around 200,000 US soldiers stationed abroad when he took office. That only partially worked. There are currently around 176,000 soldiers stationed outside the United States. The number of 200,000 was already one of the lowest in decades. A minus of 24,000. Barack Obama had reduced the troops in his first term of office by 100,000 from 370,000 and by another 70,000 in his second term.

Take Afghanistan as an example: Trump always wanted to get out of there. Reality caught up with him. This year Trump reduced the troop strength by 7,000 soldiers. According to his National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, around 5,000 soldiers are now stationed there - 4,300 fewer than at the beginning of his term in 2017. In the meantime, however, 14,000 US soldiers were in Afghanistan under Trump. Obama had cut the troops from 63,000 at the end of 2012 to just under 9,000 at the end of his term in office. Trump doesn't seem to be quite as enthusiastic about peace as he likes to be: In the first three years of his tenure, the US Air Force dropped almost 20,000 bombs on Afghanistan