As he speeds toward his 100th day as president of the United States, Donald Trump is still happy to share how much he’s learning on the job as the country’s 45th chief executive.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview Thursday. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
It is the not the first time the former reality show host and real estate magnate has expressed surprise at the difficulty of the job, the size of the government or the vastness of the country. Below is a transcript from an interview Trump did with the Associated Press last week, where he explains the difficulty in managing the world’s most powerful country:
TRUMP: The financial cost of everything is so massive, every agency. This is thousands of times bigger, the United States, than the biggest company in the world. The second-largest company in the world is the Defense Department. The third-largest company in the world is Social Security. The fourth-largest — you know, you go down the list.
TRUMP. It’s massive. And every agency is, like, bigger than any company. So you know, I really just see the bigness of it all, but also the responsibility. And the human responsibility. You know, the human life that’s involved in some of the decisions.
Trump has also spent his first 100 days learning specifics about domestic policy and international relations, with a preference for one-page briefings that feature plenty of charts and maps, according to a New York Times report. In the middle of the process of attempting to fulfill one of his biggest campaign promises — the immediate repeal of Obamacare — the president remarked on the complexities of healthcare in America.
“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” said Trump at a February meeting of the National Governors Association. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
Health care reform has bedeviled Washington, whether it was Hillary Clinton’s attempts during the 1990s or the months and months it took former President Barack Obama and Congress to come to an agreement on the Affordable Care Act. Health care accounts for over one-sixth of the U.S. economy, meaning any changes to policy affecting it ripple across other sectors.
Trump has also expressed surprise at the relationship between North Korea and China, getting a lesson from Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to the U.S.
“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump recalled to the Wall Street Journal in an interview earlier this month. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.”
Trump also recently discussed how he now knows “a lot” about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, established in the wake of World War II to link nations in Europe with the United States and Canada to help prevent further global conflicts.
“They had a quote from me that NATO’s obsolete,” said Trump in his AP interview last week. “But they didn’t say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn’t in government. People don’t go around asking about NATO if I’m building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf … asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO’s obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, ‘And the reason it’s obsolete is because of the fact they don’t focus on terrorism.’ You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.”
Terrorism existed prior to NATO’s establishment in 1949. If Trump specifically meant Islamic terrorist organizations, NATO has had forces deployed in Afghanistan since 2003. Experts say there is no strong evidence NATO changed any of its policies due to Trump’s comments on the campaign trail or while in office.
Trump had some warning from his predecessor that his views would change.
“Regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up,” said Obama in a November press conference. “And those aspects of his positions or predispositions that don’t match up with reality — he will find shaken up pretty quick, because reality has a way of asserting itself.”
Read more from Yahoo News’ coverage of Trump’s first 100 days:
- Donald Trump’s Russian riddle
- Trump’s chaotic first 100 days — as seen through his tweets
- What Trump has done for, and to, the environment in his first 100 days
- The Ever-Trumpers: Revisiting his backers from 2016, we find they still like him
- Fact check: The White House’s claims about Trump’s first 100 days
- The contrarians: They didn’t vote for Trump, but they would now
- Trump foreign policy at 100 days: The downside of unpredictability
- Twitter, Mar-a-Lago and Obama bashing: The 45th president’s 100 days of norm-busting
- Photos: From inauguration to 100th day — President Trump’s rocky ride in pictures
- Photos: From crude to creative — 100 days of Trump signs wielded by fans and foes