US & Canada

Trump tracker: How much has the president achieved so far?

Trump at the White House Image copyright Getty Images

Donald Trump came into office promising to change the face of American politics and transfer power "back to the people". So what has he achieved so far, at the six-month mark?

We're tracking the president's progress on his agenda and how it is received by the American public.


How are his approval ratings?

Donald Trump is one of the most unpopular presidents in the modern era. His approval rating is languishing at 39% after six months in office, according to Gallup.

Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush were both on 56% at the same juncture. One has to go back to Gerald Ford in 1975 to find a president with such low numbers.

Ford was also on 39% after six months in office, according to Gallup, following his politically radioactive pardon of predecessor Richard Nixon for the Watergate scandal.

But Mr Trump's disapproval rating (56%) is far higher than Ford's (45%) after the half-year mark.

When Mr Trump assumed office on 20 January he had the lowest approval rating of any incoming president. He won the election with anaemic numbers, so it's unsurprising they're still poor.

What may alarm the White House is some opinion polls indicate support is slipping for Mr Trump among his core voters, including white men without a college degree and rural Americans.

If his ratings continue to feel gravity's pull, expect mutinous murmurs to be heard in the Republican ranks as Congress gears up for the November 2018 midterms.


Has Trump moved to cut illegal immigration?

Immigration was President Trump's signature issue during the election campaign and he has signed a number of executive orders designed to fulfil his promises.

One of his first orders declared that the US would build a "physical wall" or "impassable physical barrier" along the border with Mexico, which already has some 650 miles of fencing.

But Mr Trump needs congressional approval for funding before construction can begin and that is yet to happen. He insists the costs will be recouped from Mexico, despite its leaders saying otherwise.

While President Trump is yet to change US immigration laws, he has signed two executive memos that instruct immigration officers to take a much tougher approach towards enforcing existing measures.

Six things that could topple Trump's border wall

There are signs that this change in immigration enforcement - and President Trump's tough rhetoric - may have led to a drop in the number of people trying to cross illegally into the US.

In March, the number of people apprehended while crossing from Mexico fell to its lowest level for 17 years, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Mr Kelly said the drop was "no accident" and the Customs and Border Protection agency said President Trump's executive orders had led to a "marked change in trends".

The new president's talk of a crackdown on illegal immigrants makes it sound as if they had an easy ride under President Obama, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest the opposite is true.

Between 2009-15, the Obama administration deported more than 2.5 million people - most of whom had been convicted of some form of criminal offence or were recent arrivals - leading some to label President Obama the "deporter-in-chief".

But an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants still live in the US, many from Mexico.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has launched a series of raids across the country since Mr Trump was elected, leading to a 40% monthly increase over the latter part of the Obama administration.

That hasn't led to more deportations yet, however. Instead, there is now a backlog of more than 600,000 cases awaiting final review by immigration judges.

Living in fear of Trump's deportation


How is the economy faring under Trump?

During the campaign, Mr Trump vowed to create 25 million jobs over 10 years and become "the greatest jobs president... ever".

He used to claim the actual unemployment rate was more than 40%. Now he's America's CEO, he's embracing the same jobless figures he once dismissed as "phony".

The basic trajectory of the economy under President Trump remains the same as it did under President Obama.

The jobless rate edged lower to 4.3%, matching May's figure which was the lowest since 2001 and putting the labour market at or close to so-called full employment after 81 consecutive months of growth.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy added 209,000 in July, which was more than expected.

Stock markets have hit record highs, oil prices remain low, consumer confidence is buoyant and inflation is under control.

However, car and retail sales have been falling, while wage growth remains sluggish.

The White House has set a growth target of 3%, but the US Federal Reserve chairwoman has sounded sceptical.

Growth has only averaged less than 2% a year since 2001; the American economy grew 1.4% in the first quarter of this year.

Latest news on the US economy


What has been done on healthcare?

Healthcare was always going to be an early test for President Trump after he made it a centrepiece of his election campaign.

President Obama's Affordable Care Act helped more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans to finally get health cover, but it has suffered from rising premiums and Mr Trump said he would "immediately repeal and replace" it.

The House Republican bill eventually passed despite a damning assessment from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan federal agency, which said it would result in 24 million more uninsured Americans by 2026. It was also opposed by doctors' groups, hospitals and other parts of the medical industry, amid fears that millions would lose insurance.

The Senate version faced similar criticism, and was hampered by opposition on both flanks of the party - moderates worried about cuts to Medicaid, a programme for the poor, and conservatives unhappy that the plan kept too much of Obamacare.

The Senate bill did not even have enough support to bring it to the floor for a vote. The president said he was "disappointed" and called on the party to let the existing legislation die.

Any White House moves to cut funding for the programme's subsidie would be a risky strategy ahead of mid-term elections next year, especially as recent polls suggest support for Obamacare is actually growing.

It has been an embarrassing episode for President Trump and the Republican Party, which controls the presidency and both chambers of Congress for the first time in 11 years.

Death blow for Obamacare repeal


What bills has Trump signed into law or passed on his own?

"We've signed more bills - and I'm talking about through the legislature - than any president, ever," said Mr Trump recently.

"For a while, Harry Truman had us. And now, I think, we have everybody."

According to the White House website, the president has so far signed off 42 bills. The New York Times has calculated the average of his six predecessors to be 43.

President Trump is way ahead of George W Bush (20) and a little ahead of Barack Obama (39), but the latter did sign off on an $800bn stimulus programme as the country tried to clamber out of recession.

Many of the current president's bills appear to be nationally insignificant, like renaming a building in Nashville or appointing individuals to a museum board.

President Trump also exercises political power through unilateral executive orders and memoranda, which allow him to bypass the legislative process in Congress in certain policy areas.

He wasted little time in using this tool, moving to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, cut business regulations and push ahead with the construction of two controversial pipelines.

But executive orders are limited in their power, because they cannot assign those agencies new funds or introduce new laws. Both of those powers are held by Congress.

One of the president's most consequential actions was neither bill nor executive order - his announcement to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Global dismay at US climate deal pullout

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