The First 100 Days: 'A Standard That Not Even Roosevelt Achieved' – NPR

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Emergency Banking Act into law on March 9, 1933. Roosevelt signed a record 15 major pieces of legislation in the first 100 days of his presidency.

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The idea of measuring an American president by the accomplishments of his first 100 days in office goes back to 1933 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s dash to staunch a banking crisis and pull America out of the Great Depression.

In a July 24, 1933, fireside chat, he assessed the early months of his administration.

“I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal,” Roosevelt said.

He had signed a record 15 major pieces of legislation in those first 100 days. But it’s not as simple as the legend would make it seem.

“Presidents since Roosevelt have been held up to a standard that not even Roosevelt achieved,” said historian Patrick Maney, a professor at Boston College who has written books about Presidents Clinton and FDR.

So Maney is on something of a quixotic mission to set the record straight. The idea of Roosevelt coming into office with a big agenda and a compliant Congress is a myth, he says.

President Trump signs an executive order in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Friday.

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“Only two or, at most, three of those measures actually originated in the White House,” Maney said of the 15 major pieces of legislation signed by Roosevelt. “Almost all the rest had originated in Congress and many — including federal relief for the unemployed, the Tennessee Valley Authority — had been up for debate for years.”

Roosevelt, initially at least, opposed the creation of the FDIC. Now it is one of the enduring legacies of his first 100 days.

So in Maney’s view it wasn’t just about the president; it was about Congress too. And that’s a lesson many presidents have learned over time — that their greatest domestic achievements come not from the White House but from their ability to work with the 535 people down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And often it takes a long time.

Social Security was created two years after Roosevelt took office. The major immigration and tax legislation during President Reagan’s administration didn’t come until nearly 6 years in. Welfare reform happened in President Clinton’s second term.

Put another way, the presidency is a long game. That’s what President Kennedy argued in his inaugural address after laying out an ambitious agenda.

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“All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days,” Kennedy said. “Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

During his first 100 days, Kennedy authorized the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Reagan was nearly killed in an assassination attempt after little more than two months in office.

Clinton’s first 100 days were almost universally seen as a disaster. There were withdrawn nominations, an economic stimulus plan that died before it got off the ground and a debate over gays in the military that distracted from the rest of his agenda.

Yet, when Clinton left office eight years later, he had a 66 percent approval rating.

For President George W. Bush the first 100 days ended as a work in progress, with his education and tax legislation still awaiting congressional approval.

“We’ve had some good debates, we’ve made some good progress, and it looks like we’re going to pass some good law,” he said at a luncheon for lawmakers to mark the 100-day marker — though he had mightily resisted what he considered the arbitrary milestone.

At that point, the late journalist Daniel Schorr summed up Bush this way on NPR’s Talk of the Nation: “If you say, what has he done in 100 days, not much.”

Of course, Bush’s time in office isn’t defined by laws or taxes, but by events no one could have predicted at the end of his first 100 days.

Like Bush, Trump has resisted the 100-day mark.

No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017

But that tweet belied a frantic effort by the president and his administration to prove they’ve had a successful first 100 days (complete with a press release describing his accomplishments as “historic”). The problem for Trump is not that he’s come up short of Roosevelt, but that he’s come up short of his own promises made during the campaign, with a specific reference to achieving those things within the first 100 days.

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How the world sees Trump, 100 days in – CNN

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North Korea's missile test fails, US military says – CNN

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North Korea test-fires ballistic missile in defiance of world pressure – Reuters

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017. KCNA/Handout via REUTERS
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this handout photo by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) made available on April 26, 2017. KCNA/Handout via

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By Jack Kim and Ju-min Park| SEOUL

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that failure to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs could lead to “catastrophic consequences”.

U.S. and South Korean officials said the test, from an area north of the North Korean capital, appeared to have failed, in what would be the North’s fourth straight unsuccessful missile test since March.

The test came as the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group arrived in waters near the Korean peninsula, where it will join the USS Michigan, a guided missile submarine that docked in South Korea on Tuesday.

Tillerson, in a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea on Friday, repeated the Trump administration’s position that all options were on the table if Pyongyang persisted with its nuclear and missile development.

“The threat of a nuclear attack on Seoul, or Tokyo, is real, and it’s only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. mainland,” Tillerson said.

“Failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who told Reuters in an interview on Thursday North Korea was his biggest global challenge, said the launch was an affront to China, the North’s sole main ally.

“North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!,” Trump said in a post on Twitter after the launch.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the U.N. meeting it was not only up to China to solve the North Korean problem.

“The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side,” Wang said.

In a commentary on Saturday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said both North Korea and the United States needed to tread cautiously.

“If both sides fail to make such necessary concessions, then not only will the two countries, but the whole region and the whole world end up paying a heavy price for a possible confrontation.”

Trump, in his interview with Reuters, said he had praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping for “trying very hard” on North Korea but warned a “major, major conflict” between the United States and North Korea was possible.

The North has been conducting missile and nuclear weapons related activities at an unprecedented rate and is believed to have made some progress in developing intermediate-range and submarine-launched missiles.

Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for weeks over fears the North may conduct a long-range missile test, or its sixth nuclear test, around the time of the April 15 anniversary of its state founder’s birth.

FAILED TEST

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the North Koreans had probably tested a medium-range missile known as a KN-17 and it appeared to have broken up within minutes of taking off.

The South Korean military said the missile, fired from the Pukchang region, reached an altitude of 71 km (44 miles) before disintegrating. It said the launch was a clear violation of U.N. resolutions and warned the North not to act rashly.

With North Korea acting in defiance of the pressure, the United States could conduct new naval drills and deploy more ships and aircraft in the region, a U.S. official told Reuters.

Japan condemned the launch as unacceptable and authorities stopped some train services in Japan as a precaution, in case the missile had been fired at Japan, a transit system spokesman said.

A Japanese military official said its navy on Saturday completed an exercise with the Carl Vinson in the channel separating the Korean peninsula from Japan, meaning the U.S. carrier had arrived in the Sea of Japan.

The dispatch of Carl Vinson to the waters off the Korean peninsula is a “reckless action of the war maniacs aimed at an extremely dangerous nuclear war,” the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a commentary on Saturday.

Inter-continental ballistic rockets will fly into the United States “if the U.S. shows any slight sign of provocation,” the newspaper said.

MORE SANCTIONS MOOTED

Kim Dong-yub, an expert at Kyungnam University’s Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said North Korea might have got the data it wanted with the missile’s short flight, then blown it up in a bid to limit the anger of China, which warned Pyongyang against further provocation.

North Korea rattled world powers in February when it successfully launched a new intermediate-range ballistic missile that it said could carry a nuclear weapon. It also successfully tested ballistic missiles on March 6.

It is not clear what has caused the series of failed missile tests since then.

The Trump administration could respond to the test by speeding up its plans for new U.S. sanctions, including possible measures against specific North Korean and Chinese entities, said the U.S. official, who declined to be identified.

“Something that’s ready to go could be taken from the larger package and expedited,” said the official.

The U.N. Security Council, which traditionally condemns all missile launches by Pyongyang, is likely to start discussing a statement to condemn the missile launch, said diplomats. 

But condemnations and sanctions resolutions since 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test, have done little to impede its push for ballistic missiles and nuclear arms.

The South Korean politician expected to win a May 9 presidential election, Moon Jae-in, called the test an “exercise in futility”.

“We urge again the Kim Jong Un regime to immediately stop reckless provocative acts and choose the path to cooperate with the international community,” Park Kwang-on, a spokesman for Moon, said in a statement, referring to the North Korean leader.

Moon has advocated a more moderate policy on the North and been critical of the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defence system in the South intended to counter North Korea’s missile threat, which China also strongly objects to.

(Additional reporting by Soyoung Kim in SEOUL, Idrees Ali, David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick in WASHINGTON, Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo in TOKYO, John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI and Michelle Nichols and Lesley Wroughton at the UNITED NATIONS; Editing Lincoln Feast and Robert Birsel)

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100 Days Of Nepotism, Ignoring Ethics And Making The Trumps Richer – Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump has left a trail of broken promises and unaccomplished goals in his first 100 days in office. Yet Trump has changed the White House in one major way: He has used the pomp and prestige of the presidency to serve his own bottom line.

When Trump announced on Jan. 11 that he would not divest from his multibillion-dollar international business, he broke with decades of ethical norms. Dollars flowing into his business during his time in the White House will accrue to his personal benefit. More than that, the Trump brand has gotten a permanent makeover thanks to the intangible assets the Office of the President of the United States bestows.

In his first 100 days, Trump has routinely advertised the link between the presidency and his brand. He has stated that ethics and conflict-of-interest laws and constitutional provisions do not apply to him. He has embraced the nepotistic practices more typically seen in pseudo-democracies and dictatorships by installing Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump as senior White House advisers.

This casual attitude about ethics has trickled down in his administration. His aides promoted his family’s business on television, U.S. embassies promoted his properties on government websites and his unpaid advisers have advocated for their self-interest. This is not even to mention his disgraced former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, lying about payments from foreign governments and meetings with foreign diplomats.

Trump’s subversion of the presidency to serve his interests came after he campaigned on a decidedly anti-corruption message to “drain the swamp” and called his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton “the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency.”

Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images

Trump International Hotel employees cheer during the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20. His hotel has seen a boom in business from visiting dignitaries.

Fred Wertheimer, an expert in ethics and campaign funding, helped pass and institute the regime of ethics and campaign finance laws and norms that Trump now barely acknowledges as applying to him. From his work at the nonprofit Common Cause in the 1970s to his current role as head of Democracy 21, Wertheimer has seen and fought against many forms of Washington corruption, including Watergate, the campaign finance abuses of the 1990s, Jack Abramoff’s corrupt lobbying and the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

“President Trump is the worst president we have had in modern times in terms of issues involving ethics, conflicts of interest, protecting the integrity of the presidency and the government,” Wertheimer told HuffPost.

Wertheimer explains the situation like this: “The president maintains a worldwide business that licenses his name for fees. At the same time, he’s serving as president. His family members, his daughter, his son-in-law maintain their business operations. This is what happens in countries all over the world where leaders use their office to enrich themselves and open the door to corruption and influence buying.”

Trump’s family business specializes in one thing: brand management. Trump says he’s a dealmaker, but his true skills lie in advertising and marketing. He has licensed his name to more than 50 real estate properties around the world, earning him tens of millions of dollars in revenue. And he has already turned the presidency into a marketing tool for his for-profit interests.

I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.Eric Trump, the Trump Organization

“Everything he owns has increased value not as a result of him but as a result of the presidency, and they have said so,” Wertheimer said. “His brand is no longer Donald Trump. His brand is President Donald Trump.”

Eric Trump, who now runs the Trump Organization with his brother Donald Trump, Jr., told the New York Times in March, “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.”

As he did on the NBC reality TV show “The Apprentice,” Trump makes sure his properties are advertised to his supporters and cable news viewers on a regular basis, permanently imbuing his business with the presidential brand.

Trump has visited a Trump-owned property on 31 of his first 100 days in office ― and on some days he’s visited more than one. The press reports on each visit, essentially advertising the property to the public as the federal government pays money directly to the property to rent space, rooms and even golf carts. The State Department and at least three U.S. embassies even advertised one of his properties online in April when a blog post about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort was shared on government websites and on their social media accounts.

He has spent seven of his first 14 weekends as president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, using the resort to conduct official presidential business. He hosted an open-air situation room when he consulted with Japanese President Shinzo Abe on how to respond to a North Korean missile test launch on the resort’s wide-open outdoor patio.

On another Mar-a-Lago weekend, this time when Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting, Trump made the decision to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in Syria.

Trump’s visits make his for-profit resort a permanent part of presidential history, which wouldn’t matter except that he’s the one who benefits financially.

NICHOLAS KAMM via Getty Images

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, first lady Melania Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Donald Trump and Abe’s wife, Akie Abe, dine together at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Feb. 10.

The presidential visits to Mar-a-Lago also afford members unprecedented access to the president ― for a fee. (The resort doubled its initial membership fees from $100,000 to $200,000 days after Trump assumed the presidency.) Members can also bring guests hoping to get the president’s ear.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) ― who was a bitter rival of Trump’s during the GOP primaries ― helped facilitate a meeting between Trump and Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana, two former conservative presidents of Colombia, at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, where they lobbied Trump to oppose the peace deal between the current Colombian government and the country’s left-wing FARC rebels. The two former presidents were able to secure a private meeting with him at Mar-a-Lago when a member reportedly brought them in as guests.

Trump has also visited the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., twice since his inauguration to dine on his favorite well-done steak with ketchup at the hotel’s BLT Steak restaurant

The hotel is the perfect symbol of how Trump has intertwined his personal business interests with the operations of the U.S. government. The federal government actually owns the historic building the hotel occupies, which means Trump is both the landlord and the tenant at a property that is actively generating profits for his family. Trump’s lease with the General Services Administration technically prohibits elected officials from taking part in it ― but now that Trump heads the executive branch, the agency has decided that provision doesn’t apply to him.

Hotel management has already taken advantage of Trump’s presidential glow to pitch foreign governments on staying there. Less than 10 days after Trump won the election, his D.C. hotel hosted a gathering for about 100 foreign diplomats and tried to convince them to book rooms there when they stayed in Washington.

“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’” one diplomat explained to The Washington Post. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’”

This is just like companies that hire the Chinese princelings as a way of getting their permits agreed on.Sarah Chayes, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Since then, the governments of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have booked rooms or hosted events at Trump’s hotel. A business group affiliated with the government of Turkey will host both Turkish and American government officials at its annual conference at the Trump hotel in May. (While Trump promised to hand over foreign profits from his hotel to the U.S. Treasury, his company has not answered questions on how it will do so.)

Sarah Chayes, an expert in government corruption at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told HuffPost that it is no surprise that foreign governments with high rates of corruption are happy to put money in the president’s pocket. That’s because they recognize the arrangement.

“What all his bombast and straight-talking hid is the fact that this is very similar to the structure of governments I’ve been looking at in places like Azerbaijan, Honduras, Serbia, Nigeria, you name it,” Chayes said.

Chayes isn’t alone in her comparison. Former U.S. diplomats to countries with high rates of corruption and nepotism agree.

“I think that by the example they’re setting you can bet that is going to filter down throughout American governance and throughout the global commercial world,” said Joseph C. Wilson IV, ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome Principe from 1992 to 1995.

The commercial enterprise Trump is most involved in ― high-end real estate ― is already known around the world for infamous cases of corruption and money laundering through shell companies. In 2015, the Department of Justice launched a pilot program requiring real estate buyers to disclose their real identities in a handful of major U.S. cities.

But that program did not apply to real estate purchases in Las Vegas, where Milan Investments, a limited liability company with anonymous owners, paid $3.1 million to buy 11 condos at the Trump International Las Vegas, which Trump co-owns. Because of the hidden ownership, it’s impossible to know if the sale was purely commercial.

Comparisons of the Trump administration to corrupt foreign regimes go beyond the many opportunities for influence that his continued ownership of his business creates. They also extend to the employment of his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner as top White House aides.

Both Ivanka Trump and Kushner maintain loose connections to their own corporate enterprises. In fact, the day Ivanka Trump sat next to China’s Xi and his wife at a Mar-a-Lago dinner, the Chinese government approved five new trademarks for her company. Her company continues to apply for trademark protection around the world as sales of her brand soar thanks to her increased publicity.

“This is just like companies that hire the Chinese princelings as a way of getting their permits agreed on,” said Chayes, who blew the whistle on corruption in Afghanistan and studies kleptocratic networks around the world.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both White House advisers to her father, have dinner with China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.

The presidential brand even extends to Trump’s adult sons, who have been assigned to run the family business in his stead. Even though the Trump Organization promised to halt any new foreign deals after Trump assumed office, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump still travel overseas to check on the family’s deals that were already underway. When they travel, as they have to Canada and Dubai, they show up with Secret Service in tow.

Not only is it costly for the taxpayers to send agents on international business trips, but the visual of the president’s sons arriving with armed government protection also serves the interests of the Trump business. “When a person shows up with a gigantic Secret Service contingent, that is a negotiating benefit,” Chayes said. “That improves his negotiating position when he’s negotiating with weaker and smaller countries, which is every other country in the world except China.”

In the U.S., the Trump sons are trying to expand their hotel business. They have so far had difficulty opening new hotels in cities where the president is unpopular. The family’s past cooperation with shady businessmen with unknown foreign sources of investment also posed problems for the Trump sons’ plans to brand a hotel in Dallas. Now they’re hoping to expand in regions of the country where their father is still popular.

“No one has ever tried to pull off what President Trump is attempting here, which is to turn the way in which our democracy functions into the way corrupt countries function to enrich their leaders,” Wertheimer said. “It’s just never been done, and the scale here is enormous.”

“But then again, we’re only 100 days in.”

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