The Fact Checker is pleased to announce the launch of its very first presidential promise tracker: the Trump Promise Tracker.
Since the Fact Checker was relaunched in 2011, we had missed the start of President Obama’s term, and so it was too late to track his 2008 promises. But, with a new president, we can start afresh.
During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump made more than 280 promises, though many were contradictory or just uttered in a single campaign event. So that posed a conundrum: What would be a good list of promises to track that Trump was really serious about? We did not think it would be fair to rate a promise that might have been tossed out without much serious discussion by the candidate and his staff.
But Trump did issue a specific plan — what he called the “Contract with the American Voter.” He even signed it and invited supporters to sign their own copy. That plan listed 60 promises, some of which he said he would fulfill on the day he took the oath of office. Others, he said, would be implemented or launched in his first 100 days.
This list seemed so specific — and official — that we decided it represented the ideal platform to measure Trump’s claim that he would bring change to Washington and the United States.
Over the course of Trump’s presidency, we will track whether he is keeping to his pledges. Initially, all promises will be labeled with a neutral “not yet rated.” As policies are introduced, we will provide links to Washington Post news coverage of these issues and summarize the progress.
The Fact Checker will determine, over time, whether Trump has met or failed at achieving his goals, according to five metrics:
- Launched: Trump has taken some sort of action, such as proposing a bill or issuing an order, to fulfill his promise.
- Stuck: Congress or the courts have put up roadblocks.
- Promise broken: Trump failed to achieve his goal or took no action.
- Compromise: Trump did not achieve his goal but accepted a deal that partially fulfilled his promise.
- Promise kept: Trump mostly or completely achieved his goal.
We imagine that a number of promises will remain in the “stuck” category for a while before we ultimately decide whether it merits a rating of “promise broken.”
Readers will be able to sort the promises by category or rating. Of course, we welcome feedback and debate as we rate the success or failure of his pledges.