Fourteen weeks ago, we urged Kansas Citians — and all Americans — to give their new president, Donald Trump, a chance.
That was the right approach to take.
In the 100 days since Trump’s inauguration, we have disagreed with the president over a long list of topics: health care reform, the travel ban, his approach to the budget.
We think he has been wrongheaded on several key issues. But we don’t want him to fail.
There’s some evidence, albeit limited, that Trump is growing into the office. He seems to have sidelined a few of his most abrasive advisers. He has shown some ability to learn. He may finally realize the scope of his responsibilities, even if the workload is more than he imagined.
So there is reason for hope. But let’s be clear: Taken as a whole, Trump’s first 100 days often have been disappointing.
The president launched his term in the most ridiculous way imaginable, by engaging in a pointless dispute over the size of the crowd at his inaugural address. All of Trump’s worst instincts were on display: petulance, arrogance, impudence, a reliance on ill-advised tweets.
Oh, and his fondness for ignoring facts: His crowd was smaller than President Barack Obama’s. It was also dwarfed by the millions of Americans who poured into the streets to protest his presidency.
He moved on to insisting ill-defined voter fraud cost him a popular vote victory last November. Wrong again.
One mistake followed another. He signed a flurry of executive orders, including a broad travel ban that the courts quickly ruled illegal.
He inexplicably accused Obama of tapping his phones. His aides engaged in daily counterproductive arguments with the press.
Then, back into the muck. The president pushed a health care reform proposal rejected by his own party. He appeared to have a tenuous grasp of what the bill would actually do.
He has vacillated on any number of campaign pledges: He’s sticking with NAFTA for now. He’ll continue the Iranian nuclear agreement. Is China a currency manipulator? Not any more.
He is dangerously rattling the saber at North Korea, while showing little evidence of a coherent strategy. He bombed Syria, an attack that yielded short-term praise with little lasting impact.
Trump’s connections with Russia, and those of his past and present advisers, remain a cloudy issue. His taxes are unreleased. Conflicts of interest abound.
And just this week, he offered a half-baked tax plan that could add trillions to the nation’s debt.
In all of this the president seemed to lack fundamental curiosity about how government works. His agenda appears to be assembled on a daily basis.
And let’s not get started on the expensive, hypocritical golfing trips to Florida or the combative midnight tweets.
Fourteen weeks ago, we promised to judge the president the same way we judge all politicians: by assessing honesty, facts, accomplishments. In the first 100 days, Trump has fallen short.
A president must do more than “not fail.” For the country’s sake, he must succeed. President Trump still has a steep hill to climb.