Welcome to Trumpdate, your weekly look at all the things you need to know about what Trump's been up to so that you can hang in a conversation about politics without also wanting to gouge out your eyes from political overload. It's a delicate balance! This week, we put things in historical context...
TRUMP THINKS "FIRST 100 DAYS" IS ARBITRARY STANDARD, CARES DEEPLY ABOUT "FIRST 100 DAYS" STANDARD
It’s an historical milestone every Presidency is judged upon: How did the first 100 days of your administration go? Are you making good on your campaign promises? How many rounds of gold did you play? And yes, on some level it is arbitrary: Historians admit that Presidencies are better evaluated in a retrospective longview, and that legislative intentions often pale in comparison to Presidents’ responses to the sorts of unexpected events which truly define an administration. But ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt came in hot and took on the Great Depression with the radical initiatives of his New Deal, coining the phrase "First 100 Days" in the process, this has become an unavoidable benchmark. So Trump, who is obsessed with reputation and legacy, is clearly preoccupied with being viewed as a 100 Day success, even though he’s tweeted that it is a "ridiculous standard."
This could be because he is capping his First 100 Days with the lowest approval rating in modern history: 39%, compared to Obama’s 65%, W. Bush’s 62%, and Clinton’s 55%. He’s also beating Obama in golf outings 19-0, and in executive orders 28-11. He’s received high marks from his base for lobbing missiles at Syria, and low marks across the board for his bungled stab at healthcare reform, as well as persistent Russia-related scandals with former NSA Director Mike Flynn and attorney general Jeff Sessions, and no real movement on his promises of a wall with Mexico and meaningful tax reform. His approval rating can only really go up, though not if he keeps saying things like...
"I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASIER"
Well, Trump’s first 100 Days is obviously this week’s major political story from an historical standpoint, but today's most discussed quote? That has gotta be our President’s real talk about how being the leader of the free world has been more work than he expected, and how he really did enjoy all those years not being President.
“I loved my previous life,” Mr. Trump told Reuters. “I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
The headline from the left about this story that threw the most shade? Probably the Washington Post analysis piece by Philip Bump: "Trump now agrees with majority of Americans: He was not ready to be President." [Burn.] I'm still looking at right-wing outlets for a counterpoint headline, not finding any stories on this quote so far though. This is not surprising! I’ll keep looking and update this if one pops up.
WAR WITH NORTH KOREA IS HERE (IF YOU WANT IT)
TRUMP TO SKIP WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORRESPONDENT’S DINNER TO RALLY INSTEAD
This weekend is the first White House Press Correspondent’s Dinner with Trump as President. It also will be the first WHPC Dinner without a sitting President attending in 36 years. (Members of his administration are abstaining, too. Instead Trump will hold a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.) It’s ironic to see Trump skip the very event which many credit for fueling his Presidential aspirations; in 2011, Obama spent a few minutes of his speech at the dinner roasting Trump, which may have lit Donald’s political fire/certainly stoked his anti-Obama ire. Trump says he will "certainly" attend in 2018. This year, hosting duties go to the ascendant Daily Show comedian Hasan Minhaj, who would probably rather have Trump sitting in the room for maximum courage-points, but will now likely have a nerd-prom that feels more like a typical Daily Show crowd. Expect his monologue to go viral, in any event; Hasan is very internettable.