These are not the only instances in which Mr. Trump’s expansive language has not been matched by his actions during this opening phase of his presidency. On immigration, diplomatic relations with Cuba and international accords like the North American Free Trade Agreement and a separate trade pact with South Korea, he has denounced decisions made by Mr. Obama or other previous presidents without fully reversing them
“The gap between President Trump’s ambitious promises and actual policies is large and growing,” said William C. Inboden, a White House aide under President George W. Bush and now executive director of the William P. Clements Jr. Center for History, Strategy, and Statecraft at the University of Texas.
“This is weakening the institution of the presidency itself, which becomes diminished when presidents over promise and under deliver, or when responsibilities normally handled by the president become habitually shirked to Congress or other nations.”
“I am not surprised because Donald Trump is not an ideologue, he’s a realist and a pragmatist,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a friend of the president’s. “During the campaign, he staked out some very strong positions maybe as a negotiating start point, or in other cases, they were based on the facts he had at the time.”
In the end, he may wind up taking the more sweeping actions — he may yet pull the United States out of Nafta or the Iran deal. He may yet let the program for younger immigrants expire early next year. He has repeatedly talked about “letting Obamacare fail,” which his latest steps may accelerate.
“There is now a new and scary spring in his step,” Mr. Kupchan said. “He could be entering a new phase involving fuller takedowns of agreements and institutions. The Iran deal and Nafta are bellwether cases. What’s really interesting is that he fired his chief revolutionary, Steve Bannon, but seems on the verge of taking on that role himself.”