President Trump’s First 100 Days: What Brookings experts are saying, 2/17/17

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S.

As President Donald Trump begins his administration, this blog presents, on a weekly basis, a selection of what Brookings experts are writing and saying about the new administration’s early policy choices, personnel decisions, and engagements with domestic and global events. Here’s week four of the first 100 days. To receive daily updates on new Brookings research, commentary, and events, subscribe to our newsletters.

Read what Brookings experts had to say about the First 100 Days in: Week Three | Week TwoWeek One.


Nonresident Senior Fellow Dayna Bowen Matthew examines how the Environmental Protection Agency can streamline its anti-discrimination regulations (Title VI) “to better address its mission and save time, money, and improve human health and the environment.”

Nonresident Senior Fellow Eric Rosand details the U.S. government’s domestic “countering violent extremism” (CVE) programs, offering his recommendations on improving such programs to enhance the security of all Americans. He also criticizes what he calls a “superficial, short-sighted, and highly politicized approach” suggested by the Trump administration that “will make all Americans more vulnerable and less safe.”

Nonresident Senior Fellow Blair Levin and Carol Mattey, a former FCC official, say that with the “Trump administration dangling the prospect of a $1 trillion infrastructure program, now is the time to consider whether a new approach might more effectively address the rural broadband problem.” They suggest setting aside $20 billion “for a one-time rural broadband acceleration fund.”

Senior Fellow John Hudak addresses the question of what marijuana policy may look like under the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department. Since this remains unknown, Hudak offers a number of issues to follow, including who President Trump and Sessions appoint in key positions.

Nicol Turner-Lee, a fellow with the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, comments on the digital transition between Barack Obama’s White House and Donald Trump’s. She observes that since President Trump took office, “the digital infrastructure that was designed to bridge civil society and government has been seemingly reduced to a unilateral platform for mass communication.” She encourages the new administration to leverage new media “to build more bridges than walls to civil society.”

Visiting Fellow Lauren Bauer and Elizabeth Mann, a fellow with the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, document the year-long rule-making process the Department of Education undertook to implement rules for states to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). But now, they note, a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act threatens to revoke the rule, which “may undermine [states’] ongoing work to implement ESSA and reinject Congress into extant state-driven policymaking.”

Matthew Fiedler, a fellow with the Center for Health Policy at Brookings, says that the Trump administration should continue, rather than alter, an already-planned pilot test of new documentation procedures for people who try to sign up for health insurance marketplace coverage during special enrollment periods.


Martin Indyk, executive vice president of Brookings, looked at Israeli PM Netanyahu’s recent meeting with President Trump in this Unpacked video, and in another video, said that “the objective circumstances for Israeli and Palestinian peacemaking are very, very dismal.” Watch:

Senior Fellow Dan Byman reviews the terrorist threat in the U.S. and globally, arguing that the Trump administration should “rectify past failures” as well as “be willing to exploit the Obama administration’s quite real successes.” Byman also encourages the new administration to not alienate the American Muslim community, which in contrast to Europe, is “remarkably well integrated and regularly cooperates with law enforcement.”

Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown writes that the Trump administration “is facing many of the same dilemmas” in Afghanistan as did the two previous administrations, including a strengthening Taliban insurgency and a weak and corrupt government in Kabul. Muddling through “might just be the least bad and risky option for the new U.S. administration,” she says.

Senior Fellow Steven Pifer calls President Trump’s negative comments on the New START treaty “disturbing.” The nuclear arms control treaty, Pifer says, “is in the U.S. national interest” and that the president “needs to do his homework, get fully briefed on New START, and understand what it means. Otherwise, he could do serious damage to U.S. national security, when his first obligation as president is to protect the United States.”

Senior Fellow Mireya Solís commented on the recent meeting between President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe in an episode of our new 5 on 45 podcast.

Fellows Thomas Wright and Susan Hennessey discussed the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser, also on 5 on 45.

Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes, in a video for the new “Unpacked” series, comments on the Trump administration’s executive order on refugees and immigrants, saying that “The Justice Department, the State Department, the intelligence agencies, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI appear to have not been consulted in a systematic way during the development of the order.” Watch:

For more details policy recommendations and analyses from Brookings experts for the new administration, see “Brookings Big Ideas for America” on issues including the threatened middle-class dream in America, health care, criminal justice reform, infrastructure, U.S. alliances, nuclear weapons, terrorism, and regional conflicts.