President Donald J. Trump’s achievements during his first 100 days in office pale in comparison to those of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first 100 days. And so do those of every other president since FDR died, early in his unprecedented fourth term on April 12, 1945.
Indeed, FDR set the tone for his “New Deal” for the American people with these stirring words in his first inaugural address, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasonable, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
FDR then announced he was calling Congress into special session to address ways to end America’s economic crisis, adding prophetically, “I shall ask Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis. Broad executive power to wage war against the emergency as great as the power that would be given me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”
FDR quickly proceeded with a panoply of programs designed to do just that, to counter attack the crisis and restore the faith of Americans in their future. From the Civilian Conservation Corps to the Tennessee Valley Authority and beyond, his first 100 days were marked by creative thinking and bold, decisive action.
In turn, FDR’s first 100 days set the stage for what would become an FDR centered resurgence of the Democratic Party, followed by the so-called “Democratic Dynasty” that lasted until Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as President in January 1953.
Although FDR’s accomplishments during his first 100 days in office have been hailed ever since, they were in response to extraordinary circumstances. They required swift and substantive federal government actions to resolve.
Therefore, it is neither fair nor relevant to compare DJT with FDR. However, comparison with his immediate predecessor BHO, is fair game for both. For example, it took President Obama and his democrats in Congress well over 100 days to enact Obamacare. As for his foreign policy, he quickly became “Apologizer in Chief” to friend and foe alike for America’s perceived misdeeds, past and present. I think we know how that turned out.
As for President Trump, his first 100 days have been a mixed bag, with setbacks on repeal and replacing Obamacare and on immigration reform. Meanwhile, Senate confirmation of his nominee for Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, is a solid accomplishment with considerable implications for the future of American justice.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at email@example.com.