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Trump's Presidential Status Anxiety

As he approaches his hundredth day in office, Donald Trump appears to be suffering—once again—from an acute case of presidential status anxiety.

In public, of course, he has labored to play it cool, strenuously insisting (and insisting, and insisting) that he does not care about the “first hundred days” metric that historians and pundits have used to evaluate the success of new administrations since FDR. Trump has called this milestone “ridiculous” and “artificial”—a meaningless media fixation. And yet, the less-than-laudatory press reviews seem to have left him seething. For evidence, look no further than the president’s pathos-drenched Twitter feed, where he recently took to vent, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”

This explains why we are now witnessing the White House in mad-scramble mode—frantically reaching for last-minute “accomplishments” to placate the president, and pad his record. The closer Trump gets to the hundred-day marker, it seems, the more erratically he flings major legislative initiatives at the wall in hopes that something will stick.

Last week, Trump abruptly pledged to unveil a “massive” tax-cut plan in...

Analysis: How Trump Is Upending the Conventional Wisdom on Illegal Immigration

Obamacare remains the law of the land. So does NAFTA. Tax reform exists only as pixels in a tweet. Infrastructure ain’t happening. Five months after the Republicans won united control of Congress and the presidency, it seems uncertain whether one-party Washington can avoid a government shutdown over a budget dispute.

Yet as Day 100 of his presidency nears, President Donald Trump can take credit for one huge accomplishment, an accomplishment more central to his election campaign than any of the unfulfilled pledges above. Illegal immigration into the United States has slowed dramatically. The Department of Homeland Security reports that illegal crossings across the southern border plunged 40 percent in the first month of the Trump presidency, the steepest decline in illegal migration since the recession of 2009. Illegal immigration by family groups with children has dropped by over 90 percent.

This accomplishment may or may not prove enduring. It was not brought about by any decisive policy change. Trump’s wall is not funded. No new enforcement measures have been put in place. People eligible for President Obama’s delayed action continue to receive work authorization. While arrests of illegal aliens inside the country have accelerated under Trump, actual...

How Trump Fell Into His Own 100-Day Trap

Everyone knows the feeling: There’s a big deadline coming up at work, and you’re not sure you’re going to get everything you need done before it. As the end of the semester approaches at colleges around the nation, plenty of students are feeling it, and President Trump can sympathize:

The tweet is the latest whiff of panic wafting from the White House ahead of April 29, which marks the hundredth day of Trump’s presidency. Another one came on Thursday, with the administration mounting a renewed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite no indication that the politics in the House of Representatives have moved far enough to make the latest push any less Quixotic than the last catastrophic attempt.

But Trump has been eyeing the 100-day mark with dread for some time, as Shane Goldmacher reported in Politico on April 10.

“One hundred days is the marker, and we’ve got essentially two and a half weeks to turn everything around,” a White...

Trump Has Raised His Approval Ratings by Embracing His Inner Bomb

Since before he became president on Jan. 20, Donald Trump’s approval ratings have been low, to say the least: Trump has consistently registered lower than any president in recent history, even when comparing his performance with predecessors dealing with especially difficult circumstances (the Great Recession, for instance).

As of April 18,—88 days into his term—Trump’s approval rating is 39% according to the Marist Poll, 41% per Gallup, and 40% per a CBS News poll. Low as these numbers may be, there are good news for the president, significantly up from the end of March, when at 35% according to Gallup, Trump had its worst rating ever.

The trend has flipped upward for Trump. And it’s not because his record on keeping electoral promises has significantly improved. No, something else looks to be the cause of his increase in popularity—war, or the threat of it.

Since April 6, the president has turned his attention to military actions. He hit Bashar al-Assad with a Tomahawk-missile strike after the Syrian dictator unleashed a chemical attack on his own people; he threatened North Korea (and its leader—whoever that may be); his air force dropped a huge bomb...

Obama and Trump Are Proof the U.S. Needs Checks on Presidential Power — Whichever Party is in Charge

For nearly 17 years, I have been complaining about US presidents’ executive orders. First under George W. Bush, and then under Barack Obama, I was worried about the use of decrees as a substitute for legislation.

But I noticed a pattern. My Democrat friends shared my worries about Bush’s executive orders. And it’s fair to say Bush was pretty aggressive—restricting travel, authorizing domestic spying, and imposing a near-prohibition on stem cell research. But when Obama was president, they made excuses for his decrees on immigration and health care. “Congress is gridlocked!” they’d point out, noting that Republicans had blocked, and vowed to continue to block, Democratic legislation. “We have to get things done, and this is the only way.” My repeated question—“What if a tyrant ever won the presidency?”—seemed hypothetical and abstract.

After the election of Donald Trump, the question doesn’t seem so abstract to my left-leaning friends anymore. One came into my office and admitted a new interest in the Federalist Papers—the collection of essays explaining the principles that underlie the US Constitution. It’s easy to shrug off presidential power grabs when your own party is in charge. But the...