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President Trump on his 100th day

ON his 100th day in office last Saturday, United States President Donald Trump celebrated with a rally with his core supporters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, while thousands marched in an Earth Week rally in Washington, DC, against his policies on climate change. He railed against the US media for allegedly not giving due importance to his accomplishments, while the traditional White House press dinner was held without its usual guest of honor.

Trump listed some of his 100th-day accomplishments, including the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and a sharp decline in illegal border crossings in the south. He shrugged off his failure to win support in the Republican-dominated Congress for his Affordable Care Act and the blocking by federal courts of his ban on visitors from some Muslim countries. He also faces a problem of funding for his plan to build a $1.4-billion Mexican border wall.

In foreign policy, Trump has reached out to China President Xi Jinping, asking him to help rein in North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un who is seeking to develop a nuclear warhead and a missile capable of delivering it to the US mainland. Trump has sent a naval strike force led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinzon, now engaged in war exercises with South Korea, within missile distance of North Korea.

But for Filipinos, Trump’s invitation to President Duterte to visit him in the White House was the key event of the 100th day of the new administration. Trump extended his invitation Saturday night in what he called a “very friendly” phone conversation with Duterte. The very next day, the White House found itself defending the invitation from criticism by human rights groups assailing killings in the anti-drug campaign in the Philippines White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said the invitation to Duterte doesn’t mean that human rights don’t matter – “but it does mean is that the problem of North Korea is so serious that we need cooperation with as many partners in the area as we can.” President Trump himself said, “The Philippines, strategically, is very important to us.” Malacañang said President Duterte has not yet accepted the invitation.

Thus, on so many fronts, President Trump marked the 100h year of his administration with continuing controversy. We could take some satisfaction in knowing that we had some part – no matter how minuscule or negative – in the stories that celebrated the first 100+ days of President Trump.