When asked in a July 19 Fox News interview why, 3½ years into his presidency, he had not repealed and replaced the Affordable Care Act, as he had claimed he would when he ran for president, Trump promised that it would be done within two weeks.
“We’re signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan,” he said.
But when midnight Sunday came and went, former President Barack Obama’s signature accomplishment remained unrepealed and unreplaced. It joins a laundry list of promises Trump has made as a candidate and president but failed to deliver on, including making Mexico pay for a border wall, slashing middle-class taxes by 35%, bringing jobs back from overseas, revitalizing the coal industry and increasing GDP growth by as much as 6% each year.
Trump has also failed to follow through on off-the-cuff promises he has made during media interviews and news conferences. On July 1, he told Fox Business, for example, that he would release a statement within two weeks about the minimum wage but has failed to do so. And in July 2017, he claimed he would issue a statement about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Lebanese government within 24 hours. He did not do that, either, and more than 400 days passed before he mentioned Hezbollah again, when he called it a terrorist group in a statement denouncing Iran.
Rick Tyler, a former top aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, said Trump’s willingness to promise things and then ignore them seems just part of his standard operating procedure to get through the moment.
“It’s a compulsive disorder to hide his obvious failings, but worse is he believes what he says at the time he says it,” Tyler said. “In his mind, that fact that he uttered it makes it true without any connection to the reality that it is manifestly untrue.”
The White House over the weekend responded to queries about the “full and complete” plan with a statement from press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that did not address the question but instead claimed that Trump’s various executive orders ― such as one designed to lower the cost of insulin ― was showing his commitment to health care.
On Monday, they did not respond at all to HuffPost questions about why Trump failed to deliver on his promise or why he has repeatedly made such promises and then failed to keep them.
“Trump will say whatever he has to to make it through the interview or the news cycle. He doesn’t know or care about the policy, and his narcissism means he doesn’t care about any damage he’s doing to others,” said Josh Schwerin, senior strategist and communications director at the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA. “Trump isn’t trying to solve the nation’s problems. He’s just trying to get through the day. That leads to broken promises and a badly damaged country.”
Trump and his campaign have for years been using the slogan “Promises Made, Promises Kept,” boasting about the pledges made during his campaign and codified in the “Contract with the American Voter” speech he gave in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 22, 2016, including to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, stop making payments to the United Nations to counter climate change and approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
That same “contract,” though, also listed a host of other promises that Trump has failed to keep, including ending Common Core academic standards and giving all parents private school vouchers, labeling China a “currency manipulator,” and passing an “End the Offshoring Act” to punish companies who move jobs overseas.
Of course, before Trump began that long list of promises in that Gettysburg address, he started by promising he would sue every woman who had publicly accused him of sexual assault, harassment and other misconduct. He has not followed through on that, either.