WASHINGTON (AP) — In his first 100 days, President Donald Trump has lived up to his promise to shake up Washington.
It’s been a presidency in which tweets — whether angry or boastful, accurate or not — have been the favored form of communications. Trump has suffered stunning setbacks on immigration and health care, while winning confirmation of a young, conservative justice to America’s top court.
There were moments when the weighty role of commander in chief hit home, none more so than after a chemical attack in Syria.
A look at key moments from Trump’s first 100 days:
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INAUGURAL CROWD SIZE
Rather than revel in pomp and circumstance, Trump devoted much of his first day in office focused on what he deemed was unfair reporting of the turnout for his inauguration on Jan. 20.
Trump used a trip to the CIA headquarters on Jan. 21 to blast the news media over accurate reports about the Inauguration Day crowds on the National Mall.
After that visit, Trump sent spokesman Sean Spicer to the White House briefing room to amplify the message by delivering an angry tirade that included statements that were subsequently and easily proved false.
The twin performances erased any doubt that Trump intended to behave as president the way he did as a candidate: fixated on small things, challenging perceived slights and, at times, creating his own facts.
Immigration was the core issue of Trump’s campaign and it dominated his first days as president.
A week after taking office, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning the resettlement of refugees in the U.S. and visits from citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries deemed security risks.
The move caught lawmakers off guard and triggered chaos at airports around the world. Many travelers were detained, including U.S. permanent residents known as green-card holders.
The order quickly faced legal challenges and was blocked by a federal judge.
Trump later put out a revised version that targeted six countries. Federal judges have blocked the vast majority of that ban as well.
On March 4, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”
Trump was frustrated over reports about his advisers’ alleged ties to Russia. But his tweets only intensified focus on the issue.
A spokesman for former President Barack Obama issued a denial. FBI Director James Comey and congressional and intelligence officials have said Trump’s allegation is untrue. No president can legally order a wiretap against a U.S. citizen without offering evidence.
Trump later said he never meant that Obama literally had his phone tapped. “When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes,” he told Time magazine.
Complicating matters, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes announced he had seen intelligence reports showing that communications by Trump aides were picked up through routine surveillance and that their identities may have been improperly revealed. Nunes, R-Calif., later said he reviewed the reports at the White House.
Nunes has stepped aside from leading his committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, citing complaints alleging he mishandled classified information.
It was Trump’s first big legislative effort — and it imploded spectacularly.
After pledging to quickly repeal and replace Obama’s health law, the White House and House Republican leadership failed to pass a bill that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., had made public with great fanfare.
Trump, who campaigned as a master deal-maker, tried unsuccessfully to issue an ultimatum to lawmakers. But conflicting wings of the party, having spent seven years railing against the 2010 law, could not align behind a compromise plan. Democrats celebrated the scuttled vote as an early victory.
Trump has been encouraging another attempt. But he has acknowledged it’s not so easy. About a month before the vote, Trump opined: “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
“I NOW HAVE RESPONSIBILITY”
A chemical attack that killed scores of Syrian civilians, including children, apparently helped Trump realize the weight he bears as leader of the most powerful country.
Following the April 4 attack, Trump initially blamed Obama for not acting against Syrian President Bashar Assad after Obama said the use of chemical weapons was a red line Assad should not cross. But during a news conference, Trump was asked whether he now had the responsibility to respond.
“I now have responsibility. And I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly, I will tell you that,” he said. “It is now my responsibility.”
Trump said images of “innocent children, innocent babies” who had been gassed, “crossed a lot of lines for me” and was causing him to rethink his approach to Syria’s civil war, which he had largely ignored until then.
Days later, Trump ordered a barrage of Tomahawk missiles into the Syrian airfield from which the U.S. believes the deadly attack was launched.
GORSUCH ON THE SUPREME COURT
Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was perhaps the biggest accomplishment in Trump’s first 100 days.
It amounted to wins in the legislative and judicial branches, energized Trump’s base and could be the achievement with the longest-lasting impact.
Gorsuch is 49 and his lifetime appointment means he could influence rulings on America’s highest court for decades. The former judge on the Denver-based U.S. appeals court became the fifth conservative-leaning judge on the nine-member court.
Elevating Gorsuch came with a price. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had to change Senate rules to allow Gorsuch and future Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed with just a simple majority vote in the 100-member Senate, instead of 60. Gorsuch was confirmed by a vote of 54-45 vote.
Trump, in an Associated Press interview, promoted Gorsuch’s confirmation.
“I have always heard that the selection and the affirmation of a Supreme Court judge is the biggest thing a president can do,” he said. “Don’t forget, he could be there for 40 years.”
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