Will Trump Do What He Promised He Would Do? The Walk Back Begins

President-elect Donald Trump made some pretty outlandish promises during the just-concluded campaign: build a wall on our southern border and make Mexico pay for it; create a “deportation force” to deport millions of illegal immigrants; repeal and replace Obamacare, among others. Trump is already hedging on these promises and his hardcore supporters may object—strenuously. We’re still more than two months away from Inauguration Day and there already signs that Trump won’t do what he said he would once he is president.

Trump never explained (and his rabid supporters just took on blind faith) how he would build a huge wall–now a fence in some locations–on the border with Mexico and make that country pay for it. Now, we’d like an answer on how he’d stick Mexico with the bill. The reality seems to be that US taxpayers pay for it and have Mexico reimburse us. Maybe. How will a Republican Congress react when it knows it might be stuck with a multibillion wall bill.

Even Trump supporter (and possible cabinet pick) Newt Gingrich says that the claim that Mexico will pay for such a wall for a “device” for the campaign. In other words, it’s not going to happen.

Also unrealistic and unlikely to happen is Trump delivering on his so-called “deportation force” to throw out of the country 11 million illegal immigrants, many of whom have been here for generations. That on its face is unrealistic. It also would cost hundreds of millions.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Sunday came right out and told Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” a deportation force isn’t happening.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence is also walking back the promise of this deportation force saying we already have one—the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). So will we have a new “force” or not?


Trump supporters are very much expecting the repeal of Obamacare. In fact, the specter of double-digit premium increases for Obamacare policies was a contributing to Trump’s victory. Hillary Clinton wanted to improve it, Trump said he wanted to repeal it.

Now, not so much. Trump says it’s possible that Obamacare will be simply amended not repealed. At the very least he’ll keep certain parts of Obamacare—ensuring preexisting condition don’t stop people from getting insurance and letting kids stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26.

On “60 Minutes” Sunday night, a somber Trump also backtracked on a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton.

Just how a Republican-controlled Congress will react to Trump backing off his signature campaign promises remains to be seen. Probably more importantly, we need to see how Trump’s supporters—the people who voted for him based on what he said he would do—will react is also a wildcard.

People who voted for Trump did so because they liked what they heard. They want real impactful change. They want seismic shifts in public policy. They may not get it and the response may not be pretty.