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Trump has fulfilled two promises, two are incomplete and one is broken

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson

Staff Writer

When Donald Trump was running for president he said that he would do lots of things if elected president. This inspired me to look at the promises he made during his campaign to be president and if he followed through on his promises.

Campaign Promise 1: “The Wall”

The biggest promise made by Donald Trump was that he would build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. So far there has been some progress on building the wall however, it seems unlikely that Mexico will pay for the wall.

450 companies so far have submitted proposals for the wall to Customs and Border Protection. After narrowing down the proposals to eight companies, the companies chosen have submitted prototypes.

There are two types of wall prototypes concrete and non-concrete. In a report by Reuters it talks about the financials of Trump’s wall “President Donald Trump’s ‘wall’ along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a series of fences and walls that would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report seen by Reuters on Thursday. The report’s estimated price-tag is much higher than a $12-billion figure cited by Trump in his campaign and estimates as high as $15 billion from Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” 

Cost of Wall Chart
Estimations of the Cost of Building Trump’s Wall

The wall’s estimated cost is significantly higher than the original claims from Donald Trump and Trump has seemed to have given up on making Mexico pay for the wall. Instead Trump has been saying “The wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars–many times what it is going to cost.” Overall due to the lack of progress from Trump on the border wall means his grade for this promise is incomplete.

Campaign Promise 2: “Muslim Ban”

The next thing we will grade will be Trump’s promise for a Muslim ban. Trump first issued an executive order on Jan. 27 2017 which prevented foreign nationals from seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days. In addition, the executive order prevented Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely and prevented all refugees from entering the country for 120 days.

On Mar. 3 2017 judge James Robart temporarily suspended the travel ban. The Department of Justice appealed the decision the next day on the 4th. The appeals court rejected the appeal by the Department of Justice and two days later Trump signed a new executive order which was a slightly modified version of the previous executive order.

The only differences were that those who had a green card or visas were allowed in and Iraq was removed from the list of banned countries. On Mar. 15 the ban was blocked by a district judge in Hawaii and a day later on the 16th the ban was blocked by a federal judge in Maryland. The Trump administration appealed against the preliminary ruling in Maryland the next day, the ruling was upheld by the 4th circuit of appeals on May 25 and is currently pending in the 9th circuit of appeals.

The Supreme Court then on June 27 agreed to hear a challenge against the ban and allowed the government to keep certain aspects of the ban in place. On the 19th of July the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that made family of a US citizen exempt from the ban. The ruling also said that refugees are allowed to be banned unless they have ties to people or organizations in the US.

On Sep. 24th Trump created his third version of the ban and, like before, it blocked travel from six Muslim majority countries in addition to North Korea and some Venezuelan government officials. Because of the creation of the third Muslim ban the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments about the second ban. On Oct. 16th the ACLU requested to halt the ban in Federal court in Maryland. The next day, on the 17th, a federal court temporarily blocked Trump’s third attempt at a travel ban in a case brought forward by Hawaii.

On Dec. 4, the Supreme Court temporarily allowed Trump’s ban to take full effect while the case is litigated. On Dec. 22, the Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling of the lower court to block Trump’s third ban, but because of the prior Supreme Court ruling, the ban remained in effect. On Jan. 19 of this year the Supreme Court announced they would be hearing arguments on Trump’s third muslim ban, the arguments are scheduled for Spring of 2018. This means that the third travel ban is still in effect but the refugee ban is blocked.

On Feb. 15 of this year, the 4th circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling that blocked the third Muslim ban but the ban remained in effect because the supreme court is considering the challenges. For more information about the timeline you can go to the ACLU’s timeline of the ban. Overall Trump has faced many hurdles in instituting his travel ban, that being said he has stuck with it and followed through on his promise. For this one he passes.

Campaign Promise 3: “Bring Back Jobs”

Next we will look at Trump’s promise to bring back manufacturing jobs. Trump promised to bring back jobs and to create 25 million jobs the most of any president. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.”

Trump also said that he would back out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US has in fact backed out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It was one of his first executive orders. Now Trump has said that he would be willing to consider re-entering the deal if the US could get a “substantially better deal.” 

Trump has also been trying to bring back coal jobs by deregulating the industry. In an article from NPR titled “Coal Jobs Have Gone Up Under Trump, But Not Because Of His Policies” the author, Jennifer Ludden, talks about the increase in coal jobs and the impact Trump’s policies had on them. “A review of the data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies,”. Instead the article attributes the increase in coal jobs to “Tropical Cyclone Debbie” which was a cyclone in Australia that impacted Australia’s coal producers.

Unemployment Under Trump Graph (1)
Unemployment Under Trump

Trump has also imposed tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. And Century Aluminum CEO Michael Bless said “We’re bringing back 300 jobs thanks to Trump tariffs.”

Based on this information it appears that Trump has indeed brought back jobs to America (though the ways he got these jobs may damage America in the long term) and for this one he passes.

Campaign Promise 4: “Repeal and Replace Obama Care”

Another major promise Trump has made during the campaign was to repeal and replace Obamacare. Over the course of the Obama Administration the republican house and senate repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare but President Obama repeatedly vetoed the repeals. After Trump came into office republicans tried twice to repeal and replace Obamacare and twice failed in their attempts once in July and once in September. However, in Dec. of 2017 the republicans repealed the individual mandate in Obamacare which required Americans to purchase health insurance or else face paying a penalty.

After repealing the individual mandate Trump claimed to have defeated Obamacare. In an article in Politico by Michael Grunwald, Grunwald interviews Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation; “The death of Obamacare has been exaggerated,”. There are still many parts of Obamacare that remain, like the condition that children can stay on their parent’s health insurance until they are 26 and the removal of lifetime cap. Trump has repealed certain parts of Obamacare but he has been unable to replace it so for this one Trump has failed.

Campaign Promise 5: “Withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal”

The last campaign promise that Trump made and we are looking at is Trump’s promise to renegotiate the Iran Nuclear deal. Trump has criticized the deal on multiple occasions saying of the deal and Obama’s legacy on the deal “It is hard to believe a president of the United States would actually put his name on an agreement with the terrorist state Iran that is so bad, so poorly constructed and so terribly negotiated that it increases uncertainty and reduces security for America and our allies, including Israel.”

Trump has recently given a deadline of mid-may to the European allies of the US to make changes to the Iran deal and according to Brian Hook “Then he will make a decision on whether he wants to remain in the deal.” We have to wait until the deadline for the European nations until we can fully grade the deal and promise, for this reason it is an incomplete.

Overall of the five major promises that we looked atm Trump passed two, had an incomplete for two and failed one. If we only look at the promises that he failed and passed, he receives a D, but his grade depends on how he does with his incompletes. 

Related Reading:

Author’s Note: I did not directly cite these sources but they are important to understanding the subject and are good sources if want more information on the issue.

Staff, TIME. “Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech.” Time, Time, 16 June 2015,  

Qui, Linda. “Donald Trump’s Top 10 Campaign Promises.” PolitiFact, PolitiFact, 15 July 2016,

Valverde, Miriam. “Updated – Trump-O-Meter: Build a Wall, and Make Mexico Pay for It.”PolitiFact, 19 Jan. 2018,

Graham, David A. “Trump’s Quietly Growing List of Victories.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 Jan. 2018,

Alvarez, Priscilla. “What’s Next for Trump’s Border Wall?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 Mar. 2018,

Woodward | AP, Calvin. “AP FACT CHECK: Trump and the Attack of the Bowling Balls.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Mar. 2018,

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