A president’s place in history often emerges beyond the 100-day mark, through marquee achievements (healthcare, Barack Obama, day 428) or defining events (September 11 attacks, George W Bush, day 235).
But the 100 days rubric has proven irresistible, ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt used it to frame the intense hustle of his administration in the face of global economic catastrophe. Roosevelt signed 15 major laws in his honeymoon period, scrapped the gold standard, set up multiple major jobs programs and saved the banking system. “Congress doesn’t pass legislation any more – they just wave at the bills as they go by,” Will Rogers, the cowboy cutup, is said to have joked at the time.
Not to be outdone, Donald Trump suggested last week that he was a step ahead of FDR – indeed of all his predecessors. “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days,” Trump told a rally in Wisconsin. That was a month after he made the excuse, for the failed effort to undo “Obamacare”: “I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days.”
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