Trump at 100 days in

Pres­i­dent seems both out­sider and in­sider

Cape Breton Post - - World - BY LAU­RIE KELL­MAN

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is turn­ing from his dra­matic de­but as an out­sider pres­i­dent to fo­cus on ad­vanc­ing his plans to cut taxes and get tough on trade deals.

“We are not go­ing to let other coun­tries take ad­van­tage of us any­more,’’ he said Satur­day in Har­ris­burg at the Penn­syl­va­nia Farm Show Com­plex and Expo Cen­ter. “From now on it’s go­ing to be Amer­ica first.’’

But even as he re­turned to friendly po­lit­i­cal turf in Penn­syl­va­nia, Trump seems caught be­tween his role as an out­sider can­di­date and that of a now-elected ne­go­tia­tor.

He’s still fig­ur­ing out how to deal with the very in­sid­ers he vowed to drain from Wash­ing­ton’s “swamp.’’ He’s spent 100 days be­ing ed­u­cated on the slow grind of gov­ern­ment even in a Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated cap­i­tal, and watch­ing some of his prom­ises — from re­peal­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health-care law to tem­po­rar­ily ban­ning peo­ple from some Mus­lim na­tions — fiz­zle.

Even with his re­turn to Penn­syl­va­nia, Trump seemed torn be­tween who he was court­ing. He opened the rally with an ex­tended at­tack on the me­dia, point­ing out that he was choos­ing to stay away from the an­nual White House Cor­re­spon­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion din­ner.

“I could not pos­si­bly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles way from Wash­ing­ton’s swamp,’’ he said, “spend­ing my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much bet­ter peo­ple, right?’’

He then sug­gested that he might at­tend the din­ner next year — but added that he’d also con­sider re­turn­ing to Penn­syl­va­nia.

The state was crit­i­cal to Trump’s vic­tory over Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton in Novem­ber. Trump won Penn­syl­va­nia with 48 per cent of the vote, the first time the state had voted for a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date since Ge­orge H.W. Bush in 1988.

Trump vis­ited the AMES Com­pa­nies in Penn­syl­va­nia’s Cum­ber­land County, a shovel man­u­fac­turer since 1774. With that back­drop he signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der di­rect­ing the Com­merce De­part­ment and the U.S. trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive to con­duct a study of U.S. trade agree­ments. The goal is to de­ter­mine whether Amer­ica is be­ing treated fairly by its trad­ing part­ners and the 164-na­tion World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Trump’s rally Satur­day night in Har­ris­burg of­fered a fa­mil­iar re­ca­pit­u­la­tion of what he and aides have ar­gued for days are ad­min­is­tra­tion suc­cesses, in­clud­ing the suc­cess­ful con­fir­ma­tion of Neil Gor­such to the Supreme Court, his Cab­i­net choices and the ap­proval of con­struc­tion of the Key­stone XL pipe­line.

At the 100-day mark, polls sug­gest that Trump’s sup­port­ers dur­ing the cam­paign re­main largely in his cor­ner. Though the White House cre­ated a web­site tout­ing its ac­com­plish­ments of the first 100 days, Trump has tried to down­play the im­por­tance of the marker, per­haps out of recog­ni­tion that many of his cam­paign prom­ises have gone un­ful­filled.

“It’s a false stan­dard, 100 days,’’ Trump said while sign­ing an ex­ec­u­tive or­der on Fri­day, “but I have to tell you, I don’t think any­body has done what we’ve been able to do in 100 days, so we’re very happy.’’

Trump is turn­ing to what he’s billed as the na­tion’s big­gest tax cut. It ap­par­ently falls short of Rea­gan’s in 1981, and tax ex­perts are skep­ti­cal that the plan would pay for it­self, as Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin has claimed.

AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pats a U.S. Marine on the back af­ter he and first lady Me­la­nia Trump walked Ar­gen­tine Pres­i­dent Mauri­cio Macri and his wife Ju­liana Awada to their ve­hi­cle out­side the West Wing of the White House in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day.

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