WASHINGTON (AP) — Health care is complicated. China can be a useful ally. NATO isn’t obsolete. Being president is hard.
Over the course of his 100 days in office, President Donald Trump has been startlingly candid about his public education in the ways of Washington and the world.
He’s been blocked by the courts and befuddled by a divided Republican Party that’s running Congress, and his first months on the job have left the long-time reality-TV and real estate tycoon struggling for major governing victories and searching for a new approach to many of his campaign promises.
His “America first” campaign rhetoric has bumped up against the challenges of conflict overseas. His ambitious declarations on health care and immigration have run into the limits of Congress and the courts.
A president who prides himself on his ideological flexibility has struggled to manage a novice political team, split between moderate and conservative advisers, and he’s found himself reaching out to the friends and business associates from the world he left behind.
On foreign policy, Trump has been persuaded by foreign leaders and has leaned heavily on a national security team with more governing experience than his political advisers. He’s looked for lessons in his biggest victory: putting a conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, on the Supreme Court.
“I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility,” Trump said in an Associated Press interview, assessing the difficulty of the presidency.
“This is tougher than what he thought,” said Trump friend and business partner Phil Ruffin, who has visited the president twice since he took office Jan. 20. “In business, you make a decision and it happens. In government, it’s not like that.”
Just days into Trump’s presidency, the courts rejected his first travel ban. Since then, they’ve pushed back on his rewritten travel ban and his attempt to cut federal money for cities that harbor people who are in the United States illegally.
But Trump’s roughest lesson has come from Congress, which has balked at his attempt to repeal the Obama-era health law his party campaigned against for years.
During the campaign, Trump said the Affordable Care Act would be gone on his first day in the White House. In the weeks after his inauguration, the realities set it.
By February, he told a group of governors that “it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” adding: “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
For Trump, the health care battle was a rude introduction to the complicated internal politics in the Republican-run House, which includes hard-liners in the Freedom Caucus and moderates in the Tuesday Group.
Trump’s team tried to pick up the pieces but hasn’t gotten there yet. A renewed burst of momentum this past week, buoyed by hopes the House would vote before Saturday, Trump’s 100th day, petered out. House Speaker Paul Ryan,…