President Donald Trump touted himself as the ultimate deal-maker. His deal-making skills were not only a part of his presidential campaign in 2016 they are a part of his brand and have been for decades. But now that those deal-making skills are being put to the test the truth is becoming known.
“We need someone with great energy, with great passion, with great deal-making skills,” Trump told a rally in Sept. 2015.
Unfortunately for Trump, nearly every attempt at scoring a deal has failed.
1. North Korea
One of the biggest promises Trump has failed at is getting a denuclearization deal with North Korea. Not only has he failed to get an agreement, North Korea shot off another short-range missile over the weekend. To make matters worse, it wasn’t a military test outside of Kim Jong Un’s purview. He was actually present and gave the order.
“I’m going to make great deals for our country,” Trump proclaimed in May 2016.
So far, Trump has met with Kim twice and has had two embarrassing failures. In the second meeting, Trump staff was forced to cancel a huge ceremony that was to take place when Kim signed the deal.
After spending nearly a decade complaining about the Affordable Care Act and doing everything they could to undermine the landmark law, Republicans failed to repeal and replace it.
Trump was elected with a Republican House and Senate and the majority of those members campaigned on the “repeal and replace” rhetoric. Despite complaining about the law for 10 years, Republicans never thought it was important to craft their own alternative. When Trump tried to pass a slap-dash repeal with no replacement, he couldn’t get his own party to agree.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ultimately told Trump that he should give up on the Obamacare repeal because it will never happen.
The White House has struggled to have an “infrastructure week” over the past two years, but no law has ever been crafted with legislators. One Trump official did create the administration’s version of the bill, but the president hated it because it involves a public-private partnership and he wants a larger plan akin to The New Deal.
Trump might have a deal that will pass Congress and get Democratic votes in the Senate. However, McConnell and the GOP are putting the hammer down on the $2 trillion price-tag. So Trump is being faced with a big showdown. Either he must whip his own party into supporting the bill or convince McConnell to bring it to the floor regardless of the votes.
So far they haven’t been able to come to a deal, but there will likely be a conflict over whether Trump is in charge or McConnell is.
4. The wall
Perhaps one of Trump’s biggest promises in 2016 was that he would build a border wall and that Mexico would pay for it. Not only has Mexico consistently refused to pay for it, but Congress also has as well.
Trump has tried to use the power of his office to take the money from the military by declaring a national emergency. Lawsuits have put everything on pause. Still, Trump tells his supporters it’s already being built, it is not. He’s also attempted to take credit for the fence repairs that were funded more than 10 years ago.
5. Trade war deals
Trump promised to have a grand deal with North American countries and with China, but the reality has been a joke. The “new” NAFTA is essentially the same as the old NAFTA, Trump simply changed the name of it.
China has already decided everything Trump is threatening is a bluff, giving him zero leverage over the manufacturing giant. The best thing that could happen to Trump at this point is he walks away slowly and hopes no one brings it up ever again.
Trump proclaimed he would personally be involved in negotiating deals with corporations who would ensure jobs stayed in the United States. He promised supporters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania he would bring back manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the decades.
The same can be said for Trump’s promise to revive the entire coal industry. The problem Trump never understood is that even if he was able to give tax cuts to coal companies and remove regulations, it’s still cheaper to use other forms of energy. Coal is never coming back and Trump’s lies to his supporters have left them with nothing but false hopes as unemployment runs out.
7. Shutdown flop
Perhaps the best example of Trump’s bad deal-making skills is the huge flop over the funding of his wall that shutdown the federal government.
“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said Jan. 2019. “After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside — I think — and put the security of the American people first.”
The so-called “deal,” was really Trump caving on his demands and trying to find other ways to get what he wanted. It was a costly miscalculation, both politically for Trump and financially for the government.
In the end, Trump’s deal-making skills certainly lack what was promised. Perhaps if he read “The Art of the Deal” he could figure out how to perfect his proficiency.