May 2, 2017

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a secret plan to end the war" and promised to find a way to "peace with honor" in Vietnam, but American troops were not withdrawn until 1973 — a little more than a year before Nixon resigned.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.

Go deeper

Trump slams study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 lives

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump attacked estimates from a Columbia University study on Sunday that projected that least 36,000 American lives could have been saved if lockdowns and social distancing were imposed just one week earlier.

What they're saying: Trump told Full Measure, a show broadcast by Sinclair, "It's a disgrace what I watch from this fake news media and from some of these liberal institutions. Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution to write that because all the people that they cater to were months after me, they said we shouldn't close it."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 5,344,539 — Total deaths: 342,695 — Total recoveries — 2,139,241Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,626,258 — Total deaths: 97,149 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. Public health: Officials are urging masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  4. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says that it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Small business outlook is slowly improving, but the pandemic hits minority-owned small businesses harder.
  5. World: Health officials report first death in Gaza StripCoronavirus testing is virtually nonexistent in some poor countries — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  6. 1 🏀 thing: NBA in early talks to restart season at Disney World.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports of lockdown violations

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson came out in support of top aide Dominic Cummings Sunday after a joint investigation by the Daily Mirror and The Guardian found Cummings had traveled 260 miles in April to visit his parents while exhibiting coronavirus symptoms.

The latest: "In traveling to find the right kind of child care, at a moment when both he and his wife were about to be incapacitated by coronavirus, and when he had no alternative, I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent and I do not mark him down for that," Johnson said Sunday.

Go deeper (2 min. read)ArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - World