“I will say that never has there been a president — with few exceptions, in the case of FDR he had a major Depression to handle — who's passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done,” President Donald Trump boasted on Monday morning, touting his executive orders, Supreme Court judge appointment, and rate of bill signing. “We’ve achieved tremendous success. I think we’ve been about as active as you can possibly be at a just about record-setting pace.”
Like many of Trump’s claims, there’s a grain of truth here: The president has signed a lot of bills.
In his first 100 days, Trump signed more bills into law than all but two presidents in the last 84 years; since that point, he’s continued to add to that number, signing a total of 39 bills, according to GovTrack (actually, five more than he bragged Monday when he said it was more than 34.)
But a stack of paper does not productivity make: As PolitiFact noted previously, “None of the bills Trump has signed into law are particularly significant.”
Three of those bills were appointing three members to the Smithsonian's board, another approved a war memorial, a fifth promoted women in entrepreneurship, and a sixth encouraged the display of the American flag on Vietnam War Veterans Day.
While their bill signings may trail Trump's, many of his predecessors won significant legislative achievements in their first 100 days.
Obama signed an $800 billion stimulus. Bill Clinton inked the Family Medical Leave Act. Lyndon Johnson championed the stalled Civil Rights Act. John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps.
Trump has indeed taken early steps on a slew of his promises, but he's struggled to make substantive advancements on nearly all.
A federal appeals court refused to reinstate his travel ban on residents of a group of Muslim-majority nations, dealing his second order barring certain travelers yet another legal blow. He’s yet to fully repeal and replace Obamacare or secure funding from Mexico or Congress to begin any kind of meaningful border wall construction.
He has made good on his promises to pull the nation out of a climate deal and one of the two trade deals he said he'd ax. He's unraveled many of his predecessor’s regulations — something nearly all presidents do, when taking office from the opposing party — but he’s had little legislative action on the slew of vague plans he’s released on issues like infrastructure and tax reform.
Most of his agenda remains just that: Plans that have yet to be accomplished.
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