Trump works to maintain illusions of progress, as his main promises go unfulfilled

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:

President Trump, now in the third year of his term, is struggling to maintain the illusion of accomplishment as some of his biggest promises remain unfulfilled.

Though his showy summit diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam last week, dashing Trump’s prediction of “fantastic success,” the president continues to insist that he’s made unprecedented progress toward getting that nation to relinquish its nuclear arms program — even as his intelligence advisors say otherwise.

Over the weekend, Trump yet again boasted to supporters that his border wall is under construction, as if it were near-finished. In fact, no new miles of any barrier have been built during his presidency and a Republican-controlled Senate is poised to join the Democratic-controlled House in rejecting his declaration of a national emergency to pay for an installment.

Also, Trump is lately hailing progress in trade talks with China as if a landmark deal were imminent. Yet he’s said so for months, and this week his secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, traveled to politically influential Iowa to persuade farmers hurt by China’s retaliatory tariffs that the president’s trade war ultimately will push Beijing into an agreement benefiting them. Even if a deal takes shape this month in time for Trump’s planned meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, it’s not expected to include the long-sought concessions he’s talked of.

In another blow to Trump’s trade promises, on Wednesday the Commerce Department reported that in 2018 the U.S. trade deficit grew to $621 billion, a 10-year high, and the gap with China set a record — defying the president’s vows to reverse the trend.

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