You know if Donald Trump is pushing some sort of record or achievement or a Time cover, you should probably run the numbers again, you know, just to double-check. On Wednesday, while totally not golfing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, Trump reflected on his first year in office in a way only Trump could. That is, he basically made it up. Ruminating on what he considered his achievements, Trump explained at an event with firefighters in West Palm Beach that he had set a record for the most legislation passed in a year. At least that’s what it appears he was trying to say:
We got a lot of legislation passed … I believe—and you would have to ask those folks who will know the real answer—we have more legislation passed, including the record … was Harry Truman, a long time ago. And we broke that record, so we got a lot done.”
That is, predictably, not the case. In fact, Trump’s version of history is the exact opposite of reality. Trump has signed fewer bills into law than any other president in his first year in office since Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, according to GovTrack.
The sheer number of laws passed, of course, is not a particularly good barometer of a successful presidency, but let’s not forget this is a president who likes to use stacks of paper piled next to him as visual props. NPR categorized the 96 laws signed by Trump:
More than three dozen modify or extend existing law; 16 repeal rules and regulations using a process known as the Congressional Review Act; a dozen commemorate or honor people and organizations by doing things like renaming federal buildings; and seven provide temporary government funding or one-time disaster relief funds.
A single important legislative achievement has the potential to be transformative. Trump recently signed a big piece of legislation in his tax law that will change how Americans live. But that was too nuanced for Trump, so he added a few lines to the old legislative résumé.
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