Future historians might note that by the administration’s 100-day mark, conventional patterns were replacing a shaky start as the president learned from the professionals he brought in. His appointment of two highly regarded generals, Mattis and McMaster, signaled America’s more realistic engagement with the world. Other cabinet appointments also gave comfort, as markets reflected. And long range, the nomination of Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court marked the president’s most important early success.
Yet serious personnel problems remained: There were not even nominees for most sub-cabinet positions, where real policy changes are made. Those changes remained unclear, too, as the easy promises of the campaign met the hard reality of governing on health care, tax reform, trade, and more. But on the regulatory front, President Trump had already pressed ahead: By executive order, and working with Congress through the long unused Congressional Review Act, he had rescinded several Obama-era regulations, with more to come.
Still, no over-arching vision had emerged, nor was it likely that one ever would. The future character of the Republican Party remained uncertain. Meanwhile, Democrats continued their uncompromising opposition. And the nation’s deeper problems of ever-growing deficits, debt,and unfunded liabilities remained unaddressed.