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10 big broken promises of past presidents

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Trump touted his fulfilled promises during a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday night, and the media responded by pointing out his still-unkept promises — repealing Obamacare, renegotiating NAFTA, building the wall, etc. But it's important to remember that many U.S. presidents have a long history of making daring promises to win an election, but not always following through.

Why it matters: Trump has only been in the White House a little more than 100 days. Despite his confidence and often-repeated big promises, fulfilling all of them in that time frame is a big ask. And if he does end up breaking some of his campaign promises, he won't be the first POTUS to do so. Promises are used to win elections, and sometimes are actually best unfulfilled.

  1. Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916 with the slogan "He kept us out of war," only to enter World War I a year later.
  2. Lyndon B. Johnson promised in 1964, "We are not about to send American boys 9- or 10-thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves." During his presidency, the U.S. entered the Vietnam War and Johnson did not seek reelection.
  3. Richard Nixon in 1968 claimed to "have a secret plan to end the war" and promised to find a way to "peace with honor" in Vietnam, but American troops were not withdrawn until 1973 — a little more than a year before Nixon resigned.
  4. Gerald Ford was the only president to never be elected, so he never made any campaign promises to keep or break. He gets a pass.
  5. Jimmy Carter campaigned on solving the energy crisis, but his speeches about conservation and attempts to add solar panels to the roof of the White House weren't good enough. He was unable to get support for a gas tax, and the energy problem only worsened during his presidency, according to The Atlantic.
  6. Ronald Reagan promised to make a constitutional amendment allowing school prayer during his campaign, and although he proposed the amendment in 1982, it never went anywhere.
  7. George H. W. Bush famously promised in 1988: "Read my lips: No new taxes," only to sign a bill raising taxes during his first and only term.
  8. Bill Clinton campaigned on a renovation of the health care system before he took office in 1993. Although he attempted health care reform — "Hillarycare" — it ended in failure.
  9. George W. Bush promised to "change the tone" in D.C., privatize social security and reduce government spending — none of which he succeeded with.
  10. Barack Obama: Politifact tracked 533 of Obama's promises, and found that 48% of them he managed to keep while 24% of them he broke.
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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 5 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.