WASHINGTON – In his first 100 days, President Donald Trump has signed more bills into law than the previous five presidents and has signed more executive orders than any president since Harry Truman.
But unlike many of his recent predecessors, Trump didn’t score any major legislative victories.
Trump does have one big win: The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. That hasn’t happened in a president’s first 100 days since President James Garfield did it 136 years ago.
New laws on the books, but no major legislation
Since taking office, Trump has signed 29 bills into law, according to public records. That’s more than Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. But Trump hasn’t signed any “major legislation” — a bill that delivers on a campaign promise or has a nationwide impact.
Obama, Clinton and the elder Bush all signed landmark legislation in their first 100 days in office.
Obama secured two big wins in his first 100 days. First, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which eased rules against women who sue employers for pay discrimination. Second was the nearly $800 billion stimulus package Obama said was necessary to save the economy.
Trump’s best shot at a major legislative accomplishment was the American Health Care Act. The bill that would have repealed much of Obamacare has faltered due to infighting among House Republicans.
Most executive orders since Truman
In his first 100 days in office, Trump signed more executive orders than any president in the last 72 years, dating all the way back to Truman.
That’s more than the 11 presidents before him — an ironic twist, considering Trump’s long history during the presidential campaign of attacking Obama’s use of executive actions.
“I don’t think (Obama) even tries anymore, I think he just signs executive actions,” Trump said in December 2015. “That’s the way the system is supposed to work. And then all of a sudden, I hear he tried, he can’t do it, and then, boom, and then another one, boom.”
The record dates back to Truman, who signed 57 executive orders in his first 100 days. He took office in April 1945 after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, as America was still fighting World War II. Obama had 19 in his first 100 days, the younger Bush only signed 11 and Clinton had 13.
Trump’s SCOTUS win
Trump is the fourth US president with a successful Supreme Court nomination in his first 100 days, according to Senate records.
Few presidents get the chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice upon taking office, but it’s a major achievement nonetheless. Gorsuch, at the relatively young age of 49, could sit on the high court for decades.
President Rutherford B. Hayes nominated Stanley Matthews to serve on the Supreme Court in 1880, the final years of his term. The Senate did not take up his nomination. Upon taking office the next year, Garfield re-nominated Matthews, and the Senate narrowly confirmed him during Garfield’s first 100 days. Garfield and Hayes were both Republicans. They were both from Ohio — and so was Matthews.
President Franklin Pierce nominated John Campbell for the Supreme Court shortly after taking office in 1853. The Senate confirmed him by a unanimous voice vote within two weeks of Pierce’s young presidency.
The record-holder is President Andrew Jackson, who took office in March 1829. He nominated John McLean on his second full day in office. McLean was unanimously approved by the Senate one day later.