The president is learning the limits of power
On his 100th day in office on Saturday, facing historically low popularity ratings, a succession of intractable foreign crises and multiple investigations of his links with Moscow, Donald Trump reminded the nation that 1 May was Loyalty Day.
The day is a US tradition dating back to the cold war, when it was a bolster to stop May Day becoming a rallying point for socialists and unionised workers, but for an embattled president learning politics on the job it has an added resonance.
In an interview with Fox News to mark the 100-day mark, he declared himself disappointed with congressional Republicans, despite his many great relationships with them.
He blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance. Its a very rough system, he said. Its an archaic system Its really a bad thing for the country.
The Loyalty Day announcement came amid a flurry of other proclamations to mark the milestone at which the early stages of American presidencies are traditionally measured. The coming seven days were named both National Charter Schools Week and Small Business Week. May has been burdened with being simultaneously: National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Older Americans Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, National Foster Care Month, as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Such announcements help a president look busy, especially at such heavily scrutinised milestones as the 100-day mark, and particularly for an inexperienced politician rapidly learning the limits of presidential power, even with a solid Republican majority in Congress.
He has failed to get any of his priorities turned into legislation in the face of party disunity, and his attempt to rule by executive order has been largely hollow. His decrees have been either meaningless, like his one-page, detail-free tax reform plan, or have been blocked by the courts, such as his travel ban for Muslim countries and refugees.
Trumps approval ratings have remained mired at historic lows for a presidency in what is supposed to be a honeymoon period, hovering around and frequently below the 40% mark, well below his recent predecessors at this stage in their presidencies.
But his core supporters have remained faithful, choosing to believe that the mainstream media are purveyors of fake news, rather than accept that the Trump presidency has not been the unrivalled success the president has claimed. They have also accommodated Trumps affinity for Vladimir Putin. The percentage of Republicans who see Russia as an unfriendly state has fallen from 82% in 2014 to 41% now, according to a CNN/ORC poll.
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