August 7 marks President Donald Trump’s second 100 days in office. They were just as intense as the first 100, if not more so.
And while there were some disappointments, such as the Republican Senate’s failure to repeal and replace Obamacare; and some challenges, such as the expanding Russia investigation; Trump also scored a variety of big achievements, from economics to special elections to foreign policy.
Here are 15 highlights (and lowlights):
Jobs. Trump enjoyed better-than-expected jobs reports from April through July, at the same time that the stock market set new record highs. Though he did not make much progress toward a major infrastructure program, he secured new foreign investment in Rust Belt states and continued to roll back regulations, raising prospects for rapid economic growth. The prospect of tax reform — albeit delayed — also contributed to buoyant expectations.
Budget. Congress made little progress on budget reform, as Republicans continued to cave to Democrat threats and objections. The White House claimed it had won concessions from Democrats on defense spending, but the overall budget remained bloated, thanks in part to Republican fears of being punished by the media for any failure to reach a deal. Trump called for a “good ‘shutdown'” in September, when the next federal budget agreement would be due.
Health Care. The U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act to repeal and replace Obamacare. But the GOP-controlled Senate would not pass similar legislation, nor would it offer a straightforward repeal of Obamacare, or even part of Obamacare, thanks to the defection of three GOP moderates, including John McCain (R-AZ). Trump continued to press the GOP to honor its promises to the American electorate, though the prospects are dim for now.
Paris Climate Accords Pullout. In perhaps the boldest move of his young presidency, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the global climate agreement that had been a centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, second only to the Iran nuclear deal. Conservatives cheered Trump’s decision, which was made over objections from inside the administration itself. Democrat-controlled cities and states pledged a symbolic commitment to the Paris deal.
Overseas Trips. Trump made several overseas trips, two of particular importance: the first to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican; and the second to Poland, followed by the G-20 summit in Germany. Each trip included a major speech. In Riyadh, Trump demanded the Islamic world do more to stop terrorism; in Warsaw, he mounted a stirring defense of western civilization. He also visited the Western Wall, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
Melania Trump. The First Lady fulfilled her pledge to move to Washington following the end of the school year for Trump’s youngest son, Barron. She made a splash as she accompanied the president on his overseas trips, with stylish yet culturally relevant outfits in the Middle East, and elegant yet modest attire at the Vatican. She also began to carry out diplomatic duties on these visits, visiting hospitals and other charitable projects, as she fit into the role.
North Korea. Kim Jong-un continued to ratchet up his provocations, eventually testing several inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) theoretical capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Trump’s previous diplomatic efforts to urge China to take action against its rogue client state seemed to have gone nowhere, until the UN Security Council passed unanimous new sanctions against the North Korean regime, denting one-third of the country’s exports.
Terror. As Trump continued to accelerate the campaign against the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East, there were several terror attacks in Europe linked to the group. At home, domestic terror struck at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia on June 14, as a left-wing gunman wounded five, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), before being shot by Capitol police on the scene and Alexandria officers who arrived later.
Immigration. Enforcement brought illegal border crossings down by roughly two-thirds from the year before. The Supreme Court lifted an injunction against Trump’s executive order restricting travel from six terror-prone countries — a major victory. The House passed “Kate’s Law” to crack down on criminal illegal aliens, and the administration threatened “sanctuary cities” with cuts to federal law enforcement grants. But the border “wall” was still delayed.
Comey and Russia. Trump’s sudden decision to fire FBI director James Comey triggered a serious escalation of the Russia probe, including the appointment of a Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. No evidence of collusion surfaced, but Donald Trump, Jr. was found to have met with a Russian lawyer who he hoped would have opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Mueller’s investigation began to expand beyond the election to the Trump business empire.
Voter Fraud. Trump launched his voter fraud commission, officially the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Many states refused to cooperate with its requests for data to investigate the accuracy of voter rolls. The left continued to attack the commission as a political attempt at voter suppression, but Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the commission, vowed to press ahead with his investigations.
Transgender Ban. Trump announced on Twitter on July 26: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The decision was cheered by social conservatives, and jeered by the LGBT community, amidst some opposition within the military, and confusion about how to implement the order.
Staff Shakeup. Feuds within the White House continued among rival factions, amidst a torrent of media leaks. Trump openly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter. He brought businessman Anthony Scaramucci on as communications director, prompting Press Secretary Sean Spicer to resign. Ten days later, “The Mooch” was out. So, too, was Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who was replaced by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly.
Meme Wars. Hollywood’s assault on Trump continued, with the L.A. gay pride parade officially devoted to the “Resistance.” Comedian Kathy Griffin went too far even for some on the left when she posed for photos holding aloft a decapitated Trump head. Trump shocked the media by re-tweeting an edited World Wrestling Entertainment video that featured the CNN logo on the head of WWE CEO Vince McMahon as Trump beat him to the ground.
Special Elections. Trump continued to shut Democrats out in special elections, which the media expected them to win on a supposed wave of anti-Trump sentiment. In Montana, Republican Greg Gianforte won even after being arrested for assaulting a Guardian reporter, and in Georgia, Karen Handel won the most expensive congressional race in history after her Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, had looked like a heavy favorite just days before.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.