ANALYSIS: How Trump accomplished so little yet so much in first 100 days

Trump has failed to deliver on most of the commitments of his candidacy.

ByABC News
April 24, 2017, 4:00 AM

— -- Amid the chaos and disruption that have defined President Trump's first 100 days, a giant contradiction breaks through.

Few modern presidents have accomplished so little in the opening months of their time in office. And yet few modern presidents have done more.

Trump has so far failed to deliver on most of the cornerstone commitments of his candidacy. His legislative agenda is stalled, his foreign-policy evolutions have brought more tensions, not fewer, and his travel ban and border wall have been effectively blocked by the other branches of government.

In terms of basic governance, Trump may even struggle to avoid a government shutdown right around Day 100. He has conducted himself in a way that has veered wildly from facts — with time wasted on unsubstantiated accusations that threaten to diminish the power of the presidency.

Yet while the swamp has not been drained, Trump can claim credit for delivering on a more basic promise to the voters who supported him during the campaign.

He has redefined the office of president. He has shaken government institutions to their core with a freewheeling, hard-charging style that can only be labeled Trumpian.

As he approaches the critical milestone of 100 days in office, Washington stands remade far more than Trump has been changed by Washington.

His impact stretches far beyond, with a White House that dominates headlines every day, in multiple directions. Allies are still figuring Trump out, and hostile nations are only hoping to understand his triggers — when bluster turns to action.

Trump has said he likes surprises, and both supporters and those who loathe him are still hanging on every word. What he says and what he tweets drive conversations in all realms of life, with Trump seemingly comfortable with creating chaos wherever he weighs in.

Last week he was seeming to contradict himself on the import of the 100-day mark. He predicted that he won't get credit for what he did during the "ridiculous standard of the first 100 days," even while launching late pushes to get his agenda moving ahead.

He has a typically audacious, if unrealistic, vision of congressional votes on health care and tax reform in the coming days — all while keeping funding for the government flowing.

    Overall, public perceptions of his first 100 days seem grim. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday, 53 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Trump's performance as president, and 56 percent say he's accomplished little or nothing in his first 100 days.

    Yet the survey finds not a hint of buyer's remorse among his backers. Ninety-six percent of those who report having voted for him in November say it was the right thing to do. If the election were held again today, the poll even shows the possibility of a Trump victory in the popular vote.

    Nothing has come easy for this president, but he does seem to enjoy the fight. Virtually every move or statement has brought an immediate and aggressive reaction, not just from political opponents but also from the judicial branch, Congress and even bureaucrats in the agencies he leads.

    Democrats and others who oppose Trump call it resistance, but it has brought governing to a virtual halt. The president stars in this reality show, one that happens to have real-world consequences.

    Trump has also contradicted himself on the question of whether he evolves. That argument is settled, though: He moves when it suits him, either because he's learning or because it's advantageous — or maybe just because it feels right to him at the time.

    He might yet grow into the presidency, to a point where he could start to notch real accomplishments. But the changes he's brought to Washington and to the office he holds figure to outlast his presidency.

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