United States President Donald Trump loves a boast, as we well know.
One of his recent favourites has been on the topic of legislation.
He's sought to project an image that he is cracking on with his slogan to "Make America Great Again", by citing the number of bills he has signed.
The number stands at 42 as of this week.
He previously conceded he was further behind Franklin D. Roosevelt, who "had a major depression to handle," when he boasted to his cabinet after the first 100 days of his administration:
I will say that never has there been a President -- with few exceptions; in the case of FDR, he had a major depression to handle -- who's passed more legislation, who's done more things than what we've done, between the executive orders and the job-killing regulations that have been terminated.
We've achieved tremendous success.
Trump on Monday expanded the claim, saying at a 'Made in America' event:
We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.
For a while, Harry Truman had us.
And now, I think, we have everybody.
This claim was at 100 days, and remains now, utter rubbish.
He's signed 42 bills at the six month point. He's behind the average of the last six Presidents, as the New York Times pointed out:
- At this point Obama has signed 39 bills.
- George W. Bush had signed 20.
- Bill Clinton had signed 50.
- Jimmy Carter had signed 70.
In addition, he's signed legislation but little of it is significant.
Sarah Binder, a George Washington University political scientist who specialises in Congress, told Politifact:
The absence of significant legislative movement is glaring.
Contrary to Trump's statement, this is a Republican government struggling to legislate, despite control of both chambers and the White House.
The most glaring recent example of this is the embarrassing climbdown on the Republican health care plan, as two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the party's overhaul.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced he would carry out Trump's calls to simply repeal Obamacare and begin work on a new health care plan:
Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.
In their first 100 days former Presidents have:
- Signed a $800 billion stimulus package to combat recession and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Also implemented the Troubled Asset Relief program and Auto industry bailout passed by the previous Presidency (Obama)
- Signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (Clinton)
- Established the Peace Corps (Kennedy)
- Submitted a plan to bail out savings and loans (Bush Snr)
- Ended World War II in Europe and written the UN charter (Truman)
Trump has signed an executive order to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and announcing he will pull out of the Paris Accord.
His six month approval rating is also the worst for a United States President in 70 years.
There's positive spin, and then there's what the 45th President regularly breaks out.