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Trump adds grandiose promises to campaign pitch

Noah Bierman and Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- The payroll tax, a bedrock of the American retirement system since 1941, will end as soon as President Donald Trump is reelected, he promised last weekend.

A new Iran nuclear deal will come to pass a month after that, he said Monday, around the same time as a new national health care plan, a middle-class tax cut and a string of trade agreements around the globe.

"If we win the election, we'll have deals with a lot of countries very fast," Trump vowed.

Trump had planned on campaigning this year with the slogan "Promises Kept." As his reelection prospects have dimmed amid a devastating pandemic and a deep recession, Trump has shortened the message to one word: promises.

This is not the type of ambitious governing agenda most presidents roll out as they seek a second term. There are no white papers explaining the math, policy teams building legislative coalitions or national security experts laying out the geopolitical conditions and trade-offs.

Instead, it's Trump, who has flubbed repeated requests to specify his second-term agenda, making grandiose and, in some cases, pie-in-the-sky pledges that often catch even fellow Republicans by surprise.

 

Trump clearly has fulfilled some of his 2016 campaign pledges, including a crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration, more conservative federal judges and a rollback of environmental regulations. But his record shows little evidence that he is likely to succeed where he has failed in the past.

The president spent part of his first year in office trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. He failed, even with Republican control of both houses of Congress.

Since then, he has repeatedly promised to release a replacement plan "in two weeks." He has yet to do so, and there is little public support for dismantling America's health care system as millions fight a virus that has claimed more than 164,000 American lives.

Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord in 2018 and has had no known negotiations with Tehran about a possible replacement. Other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which were signatories to the deal, have largely backed Iran in the standoff.

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