The many promises of Donald Trump

Flying cars and preventing WWIII are just a few of former president’s 2024 pledges

Donald Trump
Trump failed to honour many of his 2016 campaign policy ideas
(Image credit: Illustrated/Getty Images)

Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election just four months ago, but he has already made a number of grand promises as part of his bid for re-election.

The former president has begun laying out the aims of his potential second stint in the White House to his supporters, but his lofty ambitions may be “undermined by his record”, said The Washington Post.

During the 2016 campaign the list of things Trump said he would do if elected ran to “282 items, to be exact”, said the paper. This was “perhaps in large part because of his lack of political expertise, and perhaps in larger part because of his showman persona and his willingness to just say, well, anything, his mouth wrote a lot of checks that his actions couldn’t cash”.

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In fact, when president, Trump’s promises were “accurate about a quarter of the time”, according to the fact-checking site Poynter. Here are some of his most memorable promises.

Build the wall

Perhaps his most famous promise as president in 2020, the idea “began as a gimmick”, but soon became a rallying point for Trump supporters, said Politico.

Trump promised to build “an impenetrable physical wall” along the US-Mexico border, which he claimed the Mexican government would pay for. But by the end of his presidency, “his administration’s actions [did] not rise to his promise”, said the Poynter-backed site Politifact.

As The Washington Post said: “The portion of wall that has been built is not impenetrable, and it’s not nearly as expansive as Trump pledged”. Al Jazeera reported in October 2020, towards the end of Trump’s presidency, that 371 miles of the nearly 2,000-mile border had been built but that only about five miles of that was new. The rest was “the refurbishment of existing structures”.

And the work was not paid for by Mexico. Instead, US taxpayers had to “foot the bill for Trump’s wall”, said NBC News.

Repeal Obamacare

The former president “came up short on his commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare”, according to Poynter. Barack Obama’s reforms, designed to improve access to health insurance for US citizens, were largely opposed by Republicans, making Trump’s vow to scrap them appealing to many on the right of the political divide.

Once in the White House, however, Trump was only able to “make minor changes to the law”, abolishing the fine placed on those who are able to afford health care but choose not to invest in it. But “Obamacare remains largely unchanged”, said Al Jazeera.

Ban on all Muslims

A proposed ban on all Muslims entering the US for national security reasons was one of Trump’s “most controversial campaign promises”, said Politifact.

In January 2017, the former president tried to implement the ban, which was then rejected by federal courts. He was able to temporarily ban refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela settling in the US.

Over a year later the Supreme Court upheld the travel ban in a 5-4 decision. Opponents of the ban believed it targeted those of Muslim religion specifically, while US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that Trump’s ban was “facially neutral toward religion”.

Ultimately, Trump was not “successful in implementing a worldwide ban on all Muslims”, said Al Jazeera, but he was able to make it significantly harder for them to enter the US.

No more presidential vacations

While campaigning for the presidency in 2015 Trump told The Hill that, if he were to win, he would “rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done”.

But The Washington Post found in 2020 that Trump had “spent all or part of 383 days” (about a third) of his presidency at his private residences, and 237 of those days golfing.

2024’s pledges

In a video obtained by the Daily Mail, the former president “trumpeted his record” of restricting retirement funds from investing in environmental, social and governance-focused (ESG) assets during his time in office. Trump promised to sign an executive order that would crack down on what he called “woke financial scams” if re-elected.

“These poorly performing woke financial scams are radical left garbage that would never be funded on their own and certainly never be funded on their own merits,” he said in a video obtained by the newspaper last month. Denouncing ESG investing, he said President Biden was “trying to use your money to fund fringe left wing causes at your expense”.

Biden is expected to use a presidential veto to preserve a White House rule allowing trustees of private companies’ pension funds to include ESG considerations in their investment decisions, after the Republican controlled Congress voted to overturn the rule earlier this month.

If re-elected in 2024, Trump reportedly has plans to expand the use of the federal death penalty and bring back banned methods of execution, according to sources who spoke to Rolling Stone. Trump has “talked about bringing back death by firing squad, by hanging, and, according to two of the sources, possibly even by guillotine”, reported the magazine, and has also reportedly “discussed group executions”.

He has reportedly “privately mused about the possibility of creating a flashy, government-backed video-ad campaign that would accompany a federal revival of these execution methods”, which could include “footage of executions, including showing condemned prisoners in the final moments of their lives”, said the magazine.

Trump has also unveiled his “Quantum Leap” plan to improve American living standards, which will include “massive investment” in flying cars, according to Politico.

But his grandest promise so far might be to “to save the world”, said the i news site. Speaking to an audience in Maryland earlier this week, he told supporters that he was the only presidential candidate that could prevent a third world war.

“I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent – and very easily – World War Three,” he said.

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