President Donald Trump promised during his State of the Union address Tuesday night that he was “extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, religion, and creed.”
Will he do it?
Trump’s 90-minute speech was light on policy, but let’s take a run through his past promises and declarations.
During the presidential campaign, Trump promised that, if elected, “With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s held this office.”
This week, he launched a Twitter war with Jay-Z.
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” promised Trump. He has been accused by at least 17 women of sexual assault and harassment, and has denied some of the allegations by claiming the women were too unattractive to him.
After being caught on audio claiming that he was able to assault women at will due to his fame, he waved it away as “locker room talk.” He has now taken to denying that it was him at all.
Trump pledged during the campaign to surround himself with “the best people,” and instead hired his son-in-law, his daughter, and a collection of conspiracy theorists and hangers-on. His national security adviser, along with three other campaign aides, have been indicted.
Just ahead of the election, Trump declared that James Comey, then the FBI director, had redeemed himself by reopening his investigation into Hillary Clinton. It was a move widely credited with pushing Clinton’s numbers down far enough to put Trump over the top. Trump is now pushing the narrative that the FBI was, in fact, attempting to elect Clinton.
Trump promised to roll back America’s involvement in overseas conflicts. As president, he has sent more troops to Afghanistan and took off whatever leash was on the air war elsewhere. Civilian casualties have soared.
Trump warned during the campaign that Goldman Sachs has “total control over Hillary Clinton.” He has stocked his administration and financial regulatory agencies with Goldman veterans, including the firm’s president, Gary Cohn.
He slammed Clinton for using a personal email account and for mishandling classified intelligence. Members of his own administration occasionally used personal accounts, and Trump himself divulged classified intelligence to Russian representatives in the Oval Office, compromising a confidential source embedded with the Islamic State.
Trump warned that Clinton’s ties to the Clinton Foundation, which took money from corporations, despots, and others seeking influence, amounted to a conflict of interest. He has gone on to lead the most ethically conflicted administration imaginable.
During the campaign, Trump promised to tackle the opioid epidemic, and after much delay, declared it a national emergency in October. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction,” he said, promising “really tough, really big, really great advertising.” The 90-day emergency declaration expired last week with virtually nothing having been done. Well more than 100 people, many of them young, are dying of overdoses every day.
Trump, in his address, did not do a much better job of making promises that aligned with his administration’s actions. Speaking about the opioid crisis, he put the number at 174 deaths a day and demanded a tougher approach to “drug dealers.” He made a non-specific promise for treatment for those who need it and paraded an Albuquerque police officer who adopted a baby from a woman living with addiction.
He promised that drug prices would be coming down. “Prices will come down substantially, watch,” he said. On Monday, Trump swore in as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a pharma executive who played a key role in driving them up.
The president promised to “embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life.” His prison reform agenda includes an expansion of private prisons, which have been found to be less safe than public facilities.
He also quickly pledged to push for “paid family leave,” a priority of Ivanka Trump, but moved on without elaborating further.
“To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together,” Trump said, while a disaster aid bill languishes in Congress, and his administration recently told Puerto Rico that it is in fact too rich for assistance. This week, FEMA announced that it was ending aid to the island.
“For the last year,” Trump said on Tuesday night, “we have sought to restore the bonds of trust between our citizens and their government.”