US made tremendous progress during Donald Trump's first 100 days: Raj Shah

President Donald Trump has done more than many former US presidents in his first 100 days in the office.

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 28, 2017, 15:41 PM IST

Washington: President Donald Trump has done more than many former US presidents in his first 100 days in the office, a top Indian-American White House official has said.

"I think we've had a bold and big first 100 days," Raj Shah, who occupies the powerful position of Deputy Communications Director and Research Director at the White House told PTI.

"On the national security front -- the actions in Syria, some of the actions both at the UN and elsewhere, regarding Russia, North Korea -- I think have shown some good deal of success," he said ahead of Trump completing his first 100 days in his office tomorrow.

Shah, 32, is one of the few handful of Trump's aides who landed in the White House within hours of him being sworn in as the 45th President of the US.

"The President on legislation, on executive orders, has done more in terms of a numerical value than many previous presidents, any president since World War II. We're proud of that," he said.

Shah said the Trump Administration has made tremendous amount of progress.

"The summit in Mar-a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping was by all accounts very well put together, made a lot of progress on a host of issues. A little bit more recently, but we've seen a lot of action on trade now," Shah said while referring to the series of executive orders that Trump.

"We started off early, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now we're taking the conversations regarding trade with Canada and some of the actions by the Commerce Department and the ITA involving soft wood lumbering ports, so the conversations with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada involved with bilateral trade and NAFTA overall have yielded, I think, some good results," he said.

Shah said the President made significant progress on NATO front too.

The President brings this up in all his bilateral discussions with NATO member states, which is NATO members paying their kind of agreed upon percentages of their GDP into defence, and building up their defenses so that way common defence is stronger, he said.

"We, again, achieved results on that front. I think on a whole host of areas, there's obviously tons to do and a lot more of an agenda to roll through, but I think we've had a tremendous amount of progress in the first 100 days," Shah said.

He said a lot of Trump's "big agenda items" that he campaigned has seen significant progress.

"For example, he campaigned on tackling illegal immigration. We've seen a dramatic drop in border crossings on southwest border, and we've seen the beginning steps and this is a long process and involves appropriations and building, and other pieces, but the first steps in the border wall construction," Shah said.

He said the Trump administration cracked down on sanctuary cities.

"The skinny budget blueprint had cuts in domestic spending, while increasing spending on the military and national security and interior security," he said.

"We saw big achievements, on the economy. For example, the energy sector through a series of executive actions and orders. Some involved Keystone XL pipeline, Dakota Access pipeline. Some involved the regulatory burden that energy companies face," Shah said.

The extreme protection rule that the Obama administration had passed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that they had implemented, lifting them off, creating new guidelines for exploration for oil gas on federal lands, he said.

He said the trade is a growing piece of the agenda, in which the US is going to enforce trade agreements, pursue its rights when other countries are not abiding by standards and norms that they should be on international trade, he said.

"On the legislative front (I) won't sugarcoat that we've had some setbacks on healthcare, but we do remain hopeful that we're going to see a significant amount of progress. If you look at it historically, President Obama had the stimulus that he signed in the first 100 days, but that was a bill that responded to an economic crisis that was being negotiated all before he even took office," he noted.

"If you go back before that, President Bush did not sign his tax cuts until the summer of 2001, didn't sign No Child Left Behind until 2002. If you go back to president Clinton, NAFTA, other bills that he signed his first term not signed until certainly later in the process," Shah said.

Shah said the Trump administration have a big agenda on healthcare, big agenda items with tax reform that was laid out, principles, at least, were laid out this week, both on the economy and healthcare and then infrastructure and other pieces that we want to look forward to.