Reporters aboard Air Force One likely had to stifle more than a few laughs at Trump’s latest exaggerated claim about his first “13 weeks” in office.
Technically, Trump has only been in office for 11 weeks, but the number of weeks he’s served in office since January 20 was given to Trump in the form of a question from a reporter, so he may be forgiven for getting the number wrong. But many may balk at Trump’s glowing assessment so far of his performance as president. Just in the first two and a half months, his administration has had to deal with an unprecedented number of slip-ups and setbacks, including:
- Allegations of communicating with Russian officials during the presidential campaign, now under investigation by the FBI, the House Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Retired General Michael Flynn, whom Trump picked to be his first National Security Adviser, being forced to resign over unsanctioned communications with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. regarding sanctions levied under former President Barack Obama.
- Two executive orders meant to ban Muslims from certain countries from entering the U.S. being deemed unconstitutional by federal courts.
- Infighting within the Trump administration, with various news reports frequently describing differing factions led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, vying for stronger positions of influence in the Oval Office.
- President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s embarrassing attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which failed when he couldn’t muster enough votes from his own political party.
So why does Trump think his is one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency?
If you look at all that we’ve done and all of the jobs we’ve created, if you look at the kind of cost-cutting we’ve been able to achieve with the military and at the same time ordering vast amounts of equipment — saved hundreds of millions of dollars on airplanes, and really billions, because if you take that out over a period of years it’s many billions of dollars — I think we’ve had a tremendous success. And we’ve just begun. And we’re going to have a very interesting couple of days.
Those jobs claims, however, are dubious: many of the jobs Trump has taken credit for creating during his presidency were brokered while his predecessor was in office. And the amount of savings in costs for military equipment have been exaggerated by Trump, and were being negotiated by contractors and the government before Trump ever took office.
In other words, where Trump assumes he has done well, those successes are due in large part to Obama instead.
Chris Walker been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.