Here’s a look back at how some of the most notable promises Trump made during his campaigns and throughout his time in office stack up against reality.
Throughout his presidency, Trump acted as if this was one accomplishment he had successfully crossed off the list, continuing to tout the hundreds of miles of wall his administration had built.
But the figures he threw out, as recently as in his recorded farewell video, were misleading and didn’t live up to what he initially promised. As of January 8, 2021, 453 miles of border barriers were built under the Trump administration, just 47 of which were erected where no barriers had existed before.
Of the other 406 miles: 22 miles replaced previously existing dilapidated or outdated secondary barriers, 33 miles were new secondary barriers where there had previously been only primary barriers and 351 miles replaced previously existing primary barriers that the government considered dilapidated or outdated. While these replacement barriers are not insignificant, it’s worth noting that Trump did not build a new wall.
Furthermore, during the campaign, Trump insisted that Americans would not pay for the wall or any new barriers his administration constructed. According to Trump, Mexico would pay for the wall, but both the former and current Mexican president have refused to do so (the former President was more explicit while the current President, who has been less critical of Trump and has just avoided the topic). In the end, the US government spent billions in federal funds on the wall. Since January 2017, approximately $15 billion has been allocated to construct both new and replacement structures for the border wall through a combination of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense funding combined with the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, according to a January 2021 report from Customs and Border Protection.
As the coronavirus pandemic dominated the final year of Trump’s presidency, he made a series of promises regarding a vaccine.
In countless rallies and other speeches, Trump claimed he and his administration would always protect people with pre-existing conditions.
4% GDP growth
At different times throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump said he was going to “bring back” coal and “put the miners back to work.”
Leaving the White House
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story oversimplified what Republicans did to the individual mandate in 2017. They effectively eliminated it by reducing the penalty for not having insurance to zero.