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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Every president has made promises that he couldn't deliver, but few have made them with the same casual spontaneity as Donald Trump.

What Trump is quickly learning is that running the White House is not the same as running a business, and that some of the "truthful hyperbole" he doled out on the campaign trail and in the first few months of office aren't holding up to the reality of Washington.

Tax reform
Border wall
  • Promise: Trump has repeatedly stated that Mexico would pay for the border wall.
  • Reality: Congress is now exploring funding options for the wall.
Afghanistan
  • Promise: Before the election, and dating back to as early as 2011, Trump was an outspoken critic of keeping troops in Afghanistan.
  • Reality: Trump laid out his plan to continue the Afghanistan war in August, admitting, "All my life I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk of the Oval Office."
North Korea "fire and fury"
  • Promise: Following reports that North Korea had successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead, Trump vowed to meet further attacks with "fire and fury."
  • Reality: Following Trump's warning, North Korea has since launched several other missiles into the Pacific, including one this week over Japan. But Trump has yet to unleash his "fire and fury," while administration officials continue urging for a more diplomatic approach.
Health care
  • Promise: Trump repeatedly vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act "on Day One" of his presidency.
  • Reality: After several failed efforts to repeal and replace the ACA, Trump admitted that health are is "an unbelievably complex subject," and "nobody knew health care could be so complicated." He's also acknowledged that reform will take much longer than he initially thought.
DACA
NATO
  • Promise: Trump initially said NATO was "obsolete" and pledged to ditch the agreement if other member countries didn't start pulling their weight.
  • Reality: When he hosted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House in April, Trump admitted, "I said [NATO] was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete."
China as a currency manipulator
  • Promise: Trump vowed that one of his first acts as president would be to label Beijing a "currency manipulator"
  • Reality: He later told the WSJ that they hadn't been currency manipulators for some time, while also acknowledging that a U.S. declaration of Chinese manipulation could jeopardize efforts to secure the country's help with North Korea.
Torture
  • Promise: During his campaign, Trump said he believed "torture works" and vowed to "immediately" approve waterboarding and other techniques that are "much worse" once in office.
  • Reality: Following his inauguration, the president said he would defer to the opinion of his Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Correction: The North Korea section of this article has been corrected to remove the reference to nuclear missiles. None of the missiles launched are thought to have carried a nuclear warhead.

Go deeper

37 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."