NPR

Trump's First 100 Days: An 'Entry-Level' Presidency

Trump is the first president without political, military or government experience. And experts argue that he's faced setbacks because of it.
President Trump delivers remarks at the Treasury Department Friday. He announced his intention to unveil a tax plan before his 100 days are up Saturday. Source: Shawn Thew

With any new president, there's a learning curve. But for President Trump, it's been steeper than others.

"Mount Everest" is how Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, described it ahead of Trump's 100th day in office, which is coming up Saturday, April 29. "It's as steep as they come and ice-covered, and he didn't bring very many knowledgeable Sherpas with him."

Trump's ascension to the presidency is an unlikely story. The flashy New York billionaire and former reality TV star cuts a very different image than any American president before him. He's the first with no government, military or political experience. In an age of frustration with the political establishment on both sides of the aisle, that background had a certain appeal.

But Trump's unique background has also brought with it some problems. He's faced setbacks and turnabouts, from immigration executive orders hung up in the courts and a failed health care overhaul attempt to changing his mind on his approach to Syria, Russia, China and NATO. All of it points to on-the-job training for Trump, who had a resume before taking office that could be considered, for a president, entry-level, experts say.

"This man is without experience, and it's showing," said Robert Dallek, the presidential historian and author of multiple books on presidents, from Roosevelt and Truman to Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan. "Particularly in his dealings with Congress, he's been an utter failure in the sense that he's gotten nothing passed. He's

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