What has Biden done well? Poorly? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

April 28, 2021

Understand more. Argue less.


Good morning. While it might not technically be Biden’s 100th day in office (that’s on Friday), it’s as good a time as any to examine what he’s done so far. Whether you think he’s done well or not, we can all agree that a lot has happened since he was sworn in. Let’s break it down.
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The First 100 Days

Jenna Gibson


The first 100 days of an American presidency not only marks the beginning of their term, but their biggest opportunity to enact ambitious policy. The first 100 days of the Biden administration will come to a close on Friday with a 54.5% approval rating and a 41% disapproval rating. Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was the first President to conceptualize the 100-day performance as a measure of success. Since then, this period has often been indicative of what’s in store for the next four years. In fact, studies have shown that policies have a higher chance of passing during the first 100 days than during the rest of a President’s term. 

In the days following his inauguration, Biden has primarily focused on combating the pandemic, stimulating economic recovery, and reversing many of the policies of former President Donald Trump. While the President has stayed partially true to his word, an Associated Press analysis found that Biden has met 25 of his 61 campaign promises so far. Important objectives that Americans are “very worried” about -- gun laws (74%), healthcare (73%), infrastructure (68%), and illegal immigration (67%) -- haven’t been fully addressed yet. 

Here’s what you need to know.

The Facts

  • Approval rating. Biden’s approval rating is the third-lowest for any President in their first 100 days. Former President Trump’s approval rating was 42%, and President Obama’s was 47.9% after their first 100 days. (Forbes)
  • Vaccination drive. One of Biden’s primary goals was to administer 100 million coronavirus vaccines before his 100th day, a benchmark he cleared last month. He also passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, increased access to testing sites, extended nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, and rejoined the World Health Organization. (AP)
  • Executive orders. In his first 100 days, Biden signed 42 executive orders, the most since FDR. Biden has also reversed 62 of Trump’s previous executive orders, such as revoking the transgender military ban, reversing the Trump-era rule on abortion referrals, and reinstating three orders focused on environmental justice. (NPR, USA Today)
  • Legislative success. Biden has signed 11 laws so far, which is relatively low compared to the number of laws passed by previous Presidents in their first 100 days. Trump passed 28 laws, Obama signed 14 laws, George W. Bush seven (7), and Bill Clinton 22. (NPR)
  • Judicial nominees. So far, Biden has nominated 11 federal justices, yet none have been confirmed. In their first 100 days, Trump confirmed 28, and Obama 70. (NPR, Brookings)


How It's Being Spun

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives from both sides, along with supporting headlines and article snippets. These are not necessarily factual, but instead illustrate the coverage that solidifies each narrative. The bias ratings refer to news outlets as a whole, not a specific article.

This week, the Left's narrative will appear first on mobile. Next week, we'll switch it up.

Narrative from the Left

The last 100 days have been significant. President Biden inherited a pandemic ravaging the country and an economic crisis crippling the working class. Since taking office, his administration shattered its goal of 100 million vaccines and passed a much-needed stimulus bill. Though Biden still faces many challenges, his success in the face of obstructionist Republicans are reasons for optimism.

Supporting Headlines

Polls: A majority of Americans feel good about Biden’s first 100 days

Biden's family plan to lay out economic ambition -- and underscore the long road ahead

Biden’s 100 days have gone smoothly. Does the summer curse await?

Narrative from the Right

One hundred days in, and President Biden seems uninterested in cultivating any bipartisan support. He has worked around Congress and its rules to increase our national debt by trillions, and instigated a crisis at the southern border. It’s telling that Biden has virtually no support among Republicans. If he can’t reach across the aisle in Washington, how is he supposed to unite the entire country?

Supporting Headlines

President Biden and the rule of law: The first one hundred days

Biden has issued 94 executive immigration orders in his first 100 days

McCarthy slams Biden's first 100 days as 'bait and switch' after promises of bipartisanship

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news is civil! Here are two instances of relatively unbiased coverage by news outlets on either side.

Psaki: Biden Will Be First President to Create 1 Million Jobs in First 100 Days

Newsmax deviates from the Right's narrative by highlighting the projected job numbers from Biden's first 100 days. The conservative news outlet also touches on the fact that Trump left office with less jobs than he started with.

How many false claims did Biden make in his first 100 days compared to Trump?

HuffPost deviates from the Left's narrative by highlighting the 67 false or misleading claims that President Biden made throughout his first 100 days. However, the liberal news outlet does offer a direct comparison to Trump's falsehoods. 


What Does It All Mean?

After 100 days, both sides have plenty of opinions on the Biden administration. Depending on where you get your news, you might feel something like this...

  • If your news outlets lean Right, you see Biden’s campaign promise to unify the country, but it feels somewhat hypocritical. You’ve read about Biden’s excessive executive orders and are concerned with his indifference towards constitutional and statutory law. Even though he campaigned as a moderate, you see his policies as a progressives wish list that completely disregards his so-called bipartisan pledge.
  • If your news outlets lean Left, you’re thankful for Biden’s executive actions after a long pandemic year.You also feel hopeful about his plans to combat climate change and tackle immigration reform, but recognize that meaningful progress is still a little ways off. While the past 100 days have been pretty good, you hope that Biden can deliver an even better follow-up.

Unsurprisingly, President Biden's 52% approval rating is split down party lines: 96% of Democrats approve, compared to just 10% of Republicans. It also varies significantly depending on the issue in question. While 65% of Americans approve of his pandemic relief package, just 37% approve of how he’s handled the immigration situation at the Southern border (roughly 85% blame the recent increase in migrants on the President).

Immigration poses an especially difficult political problem for Biden. After vowing not to build “another foot” of Donald Trump’s border wall, his administration faces heavy pressure amid a surge in migrants at the Southern border. Currently, 40% of voters say they are seeing and hearing about the border “a lot.” 48% of Democrats think the U.S. is facing a problem with illegal immigration, but fear an increase in detention center populations and potential human rights violations. A much larger portion of Republicans (74%) are also concerned about illegal immigration. As the pandemic threat recedes and the 2022 Congressional midterms elections draw closer, immigration will likely remain a vital issue for voters.

At 9 p.m. ET, Biden will deliver a speech in his first joint address to Congress as President, recapping his administration's actions and hinting at his legislative agenda moving forward. Although it remains unclear exactly where his priorities stand, Americans continue to support the idea of bipartisanship over single-party action. Now more than ever, the translation from idea to action isn't an easy one.


What Else We're Following

  • Freeschool. President Joe Biden will call for free preschool for all three- and four-year-old children, a $200 billion investment to be rolled out as part of his sweeping American Families Plan being unveiled Wednesday in an address to Congress. (AP)

  • Biden's secret GOP meetings. Top White House officials have quietly been meeting — on the Hill and over the phone — with Republican senators who drafted a counterproposal to President Biden's infrastructure plan. The GOP senators say they're optimistic the Biden administration is open to concessions and can reach a compromise. (Axios)

  • Common ground. The good news: An overwhelming majority of Americans believe there is more common ground among the American people than is acknowledged. The bad news? A growing number believe the nation's divide over a variety of critical issues will widen in the coming years. (USA Today)

Finally, some good news

Furry friends. In Chernobyl, guards watching for human trespassers are befriending and even caring for the descendants of dogs abandoned when tens of thousands of people had to flee in 1986. (Good News Network)

Try to make a new friend this week (furry or otherwise)! We'll see you next Wednesday.

Edition #27 was researched, written, and edited by Max Russ, Nathan Wiley, Frankie Misra, and Max Tendero.

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