January 20, 2018

This time last year, Americans were waiting for a new president to take office.

Donald Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20, 2017, came after a presidential campaign in which he made a laundry list of big promises, from repealing Obamacare to getting Mexico to pay for a border wall. And since then, fact-checkers have been keeping tabs on the details.

PolitiFact, The Washington Post Fact Checker and Factcheck.org all published report cards this week for the Trump administration’s promises thus far. While they highlighted some big victories for the president, notably slashing federal regulations and cracking down on immigration, there were also plenty of unkept promises.

Here’s the status of all Trump’s major campaign promises after one year in office, according to the Big Three.

The Washington Post Fact Checker

Promises kept: 11

Promises broken: 15

Launched: 16

Stuck: 11

Compromises: 7

WP Fact Checker
Screenshot from The Washington Post Fact Checker.

“During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump made more than 280 promises, though many were contradictory or just uttered in a single campaign event,” Glenn Kessler, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, and Leslie Shapiro write in the report. “But on Oct. 22, Trump issued what he called his ‘Contract with the American Voter.’ This was a specific plan of action that would guide his administration, starting from the first day, and listed 60 promises. He even signed it with his distinctive signature.”

The Fact Checker’s report, published Wednesday, earned more than 11,500 shares on social media as of publication, according to BuzzSumo.


Promises kept: 9

Compromises: 6

In the works: 47

Broken: 7

Stalled: 32

Screenshot from PolitiFact.

PolitiFact Editor Angie Holan authored the fact-checking organization’s promise tracker this year (PolitiFact is a project of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times). She told Poynter in an email that the results were mixed.

“Trump found the most success in year one when he used his executive power on things like immigration policy or rolling back regulations,” she said. “The courts and Congress threw obstacles in his way, too, though. Trump tried to deliver on some variation of a travel ban but faced pushback from the courts. He could not fulfill his pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, because the latest attempt died in the Senate.”

Some of the challenges marking Trump’s first year are related to governing, Holan said. Fulfilling campaign pledges like releasing his tax returns and declaring China a currency manipulator have proven harder for the president now that he’s in the Oval Office.

That’s not for lack of trying, though.

“Overall, we find that presidents and governors do tend to try to keep their promises; they don't ignore them once they win office,” Holan said. “We see the most variation in how effective they are at getting a legislature to cooperate with them.”

PolitiFact’s report, published Tuesday, had accumulated more than 650 shares on social media as of publication, according to BuzzSumo.


Instead of tracking individual Trump promises and rating them like PolitiFact and the Fact Checker, Factcheck.org simply placed them in context with key facts and figures from the president’s first year in office.

Screenshot from Factcheck.org.

“One of the major issues of the campaign was immigration, and the data show border apprehensions are down 48 percent and refugee admissions are down 70 percent. That’s a direct result of his policies,” Eugene Kiely, director of Factcheck.org, told Poynter in an email. “The trade deficit was also a major issue; he criticized Mexico and promised to improve (or get out of) NAFTA. He also promised to label China a currency manipulator. He hasn’t done either yet.”

Trump also promised to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” Kiely said it’s too early to tell whether or not that claim will hold up.

“His first year was respectable but not as strong as the previous four years,” he said. “Under Clinton, the economy added more than 20 million in eight years. We’ll have to wait to see what happens under Trump.”

Factcheck.org’s report, published Friday, had received more than 700 social media shares as of publication, according to BuzzSumo.

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Daniel Funke is a staff writer covering online misinformation for PolitiFact. He previously reported for Poynter as a fact-checking reporter and a Google News Lab…
Daniel Funke

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