Brick by brick, the demolition job has begun: since taking office less than a year ago, Donald Trump has launched an all-out assault on the legacy of Barack Obama.
Climate, free trade, health care, immigration, foreign policy — the 45th US president has set about undoing just about everything done by the 44th.
All new presidents, of course, break with their predecessor once in the Oval Office, especially if they come from a rival political party.
But what is striking is how systematic the hammer blows to Obama’s legacy have been.
And rather than throw his weight behind new policies or projects, Trump has shown a willful desire to unpick, shred and erase everything his predecessor accomplished.
It’s worth noting that each time he buries one of the reforms of the man who sat before him at the “Resolute desk,” Trump sounds more like a candidate than a president.
– ‘Ridiculous trade deals’ –
The Trans-Pacific Partnership? Within days of taking office, Trump signed an order pulling America out of the free trade accord, the fruit of eight years of negotiations between 12 Asia-Pacific countries, from Chile to Canada and Japan.
“We’re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that have taken everybody out of our country and taken companies out of our country, and it’s going to be reversed,” Trump said.
Paradoxically, in signing off on the project’s demise, Trump was aligning himself more with the left wing of the Democratic party than with the Republican mainstream.
The Paris climate accord? Obama played a leading role in attaining that milestone in the effort to combat global warming.
Trump pulled out of the agreement signed by 195 countries, claiming that it “punishes the United States” and declaring: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
What about Obamacare, the signature legislative achievement of Obama’s first term? After trying in vain to get Congress to repeal it, Trump is now working to bring about its collapse through the regulatory process.
And the Iranian nuclear accord? The bid to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon in return for a lifting of sanctions more than any other bore came to represent Obama’s approach to world affairs.
“This deal will have my name on it,” the Democratic president said shortly before it was concluded. “Nobody has a bigger personal stake in making sure that it delivers on its promise.”
While Trump has stopped short of tearing up the Iran deal, as he threatened on the campaign trail, on Friday he warned he could do so “at any time,” raising doubts about the fate of an accord born of years of painstaking diplomacy.
– A break at any price –
How to explain the fixation on destroying Obama’s legacy at all cost?
Trump has held high his determination to fulfill his campaign promises, and give form to a simple slogan: “America First.”
And his team recalls, with reason, that Obama acted by decree many times when thwarted by Congress. What has been decided by the stroke of a pen can be undone by the stroke of a pen.
Historian Jeffrey Engel, however, sees no equivalent in recent decades to Trump’s systematic application of the simple principle that “if the other guy liked it, it must be bad.”
To Engel, the explanation is that Trump’s electoral base “never accepted fully Barack Obama as their president.”
“There was a move among Obama’s opponents to delegitimize him and to say that this man is not really president and consequently anything that he did, Trump’s base is ready to get rid of,” said Engel, who heads Southern Methodist University’s center for presidential history in Dallas, Texas.
With Obama care and DACA he basically told congress AGAIN get off you duffs and do your jobs.
Paris Climate shakedown, let the big solar companies go into the 3rd world and make it work.
Iran deal was no deal just a way for someone to openly fund terrorism.
Killing the coal and oil jobs a slap in the oldest friends of the Dem party, unions.
Most of his pen and phone legacy can be undone with pen and phone, had Obama had any leadership talent at all it would be in legislation very hard to undo.
What will Donald Trump’s legacy be, other than an effort to tear down everything his predecessor accomplished?
A four-word campaign slogan is not a plan.
Actually, that’s EXACTLY what we elected him to do.
Mercy. Such myopia.
It isn’t simply an obsession of Trump’s to specifically undo Obama’s “achievements”. The simple truth is, almost everything Obama did was bad for the country and, most often, good for our enemies.
It is also very important to remember that Obama WAS the President of the United States, duly elected and installed. It is important to remember that fact because, unless Americans realize the damage that was done and the lies that led up to it, it CAN happen again. Legally and legitimately.
@Greg: Already Trump has restored prestige and respect of the United States around the world. Already illegal immigration has been reduced by showing that laws are going to be enforced. Already the economy is being finally restored simply by presenting the image that he is not ANTI-business and ANTI-capitalism. His legacy will be either that he TRIED to restore the People’s voice in the government or he DID restore the People’s voice in the government.
Obama’s legacy is failure to restore the economy due to an unwillingness to embrace capitalism. An abject failure of foreign policy due to placing blind faith in terrorist regimes. The creation of the ISIS we saw roll across Iraq and Syria, into Libya and extend terror into the Europe and the United States. The spread of nuclear danger. The wrecking of our health care system. Trump can only repair the damage, he can’t erase the legacy, which should remain and be studied.
Obama was effectively stoning America, not chucking rocks, but the slowest most painful way by piling rocks until crushed. It would be interesting to find out how much in donations went to his Hillary style slush fund, from say a Uranium deal or from a trillion in Health insurance subsidies(most illegally diverted) Funneled back from progressive pet NGOs money blackmailed from businesses in the form of fines, where the actual victims got nothing.
No we must never again elect a President with no history every possible record sealed. Especially when with all those secrets he promises to be transparent.
Trump takes credit for ISIS ‘giving up’
I can’t even think of how to respond to such an absurd outpouring of mindless braggadocio. Truly, the man is a legend in his own mind.
@Greg: Trump gets results. Trump achieves successes. If only you could see the real world, you would be amazed at the stark differences between the Trump administration and Obama’s.
There is a vast difference between targeting and killing the enemy and just having airplanes fly around, loaded with bombs, with no clearance to bomb anything. Obama creates ISIS, Trump kills it.
@Greg: Coming from the idiot that supported a three word campaign slogan, also not a plan: “Yes we can!”
Can what? Can win? That’s it?
A bit more obtuse than “Make America Great Again.”
Trump voters don’t care about Trump’s “legacy”. The fact that liberals wanted to manufacture their own Reagan/Lincoln/Roosevelt without any real substance is the real issue. Trump is tearing down the false idol Obama, which is what we wanted.
It’s not just coming from liberals. How do you not hear what people in his own party are saying, and were saying, even before the election?
Worried About Trump’s Mental Stability? The Worst Is Yet to Come.
When you make a deal with the devil, the devil will eventually have his due. That’s what happened when people who should have known better chose not see the obvious warning signs, and talked themselves into thinking a Trump win could somehow be worked to their advantage.
@Greg: I left the article at Al Jazeera.
As far as mental issues, look in the mirror lately?
Funny how they believe actually keeping the oath of office is grounds for impeachment, obviously they could never ever impeach Obama on those grounds.
You mean like voting for a confirmed corrupt liar, someone that violated State Department security rules and exposed thousands of classified emails to our enemies? Voting for someone that handed off 20% of our uranium to Russia, whom she and the rest of the liberals now claim is our greatest adversary in the world? Vote for someone that committed perjury on video before Congress? Vote for someone that proved, as Secretary of State, that she was incompetent? Someone that got an ambassador and three brave Americans killed, then lied about it? That sort of deal with the devil?
Hillary talked everyone into voting for Trump. You can thank your corrupt DNC for making the choice between a proven leader, businessman and negotiator or a corrupt, lying, deceitful, incompetent money-whore that told most Americans they were deplorable.
Since all your “warnings” were liberal media lies, the decision wasn’t too difficult. Now Trump is turning out to be a very good leader. He may turn out to be a great President, much to the chagrin of whiny, crybaby liberals that would rather see the nation destroyed than Trump succeed.
How do you feel about finding out the Obama administration ignored warnings about Russia wanting to take over much of our uranium industry and allowed Russia to take over much of our uranium industry? Proud?
You probably shouldn’t use corrupt, lying, deceitful, incompetent, and money-whore in the same sentence with the name Trump. It instantly creates confusion regarding who you’re actually referring to.
@Greg: It really doesn’t matter how anyone composes their sentences around a blind ideologue that is blind to anything but liberal propaganda.
Sure would like to see some examples of the Russian ads that fooled me into voting for Trump, though. I could probably learn a lot.
I bet you were one of the students who could never give an example of irony when called on to do so in class. Yet it follows you around like dog.
@Greg: Actually, Hillary, the corrupt, lying, deceitful, incompetent money-whore (removing all confusion for you), being defeated is not ironic at all… it is justice.
Ironic is people who voted for, ignored and now celebrate corruption and failure are now giving themselves the runs trying to find such flaws within the Trump administration.
Jeffe’son Beaurega’d Sessions the Thud just lied under oath. Did you somehow miss that totally obvious moment? Does totally obvious no longer register?
Nobody has got to beat the bushes to find things that make this joke of an administration look bad. When things finally do unravel—and they’re going to at some point, very suddenly—there’s not going to be anything left.
This guy, the Attorney General of the United States, has done absolutely nothing to address the issue of Russian election meddling. They did it in 2016, and they’ll do it again in 2018 and 2020. For that appalling negligence alone, the man should be forced to resign.
First, there is nothing wrong or illegal about lying under oath before Congress. Hillary established that. In fact, had he actually lied, that now makes Sessions the NEXT “most qualified person in history” to run for President, if he ran.
But he didn’t. Not at all. No matter how hard the idiot Leahey or the moron Franken tried to ask ambiguous, confusing, open-ended questions, Sessions was very careful (since they got him on that once), very specific and very accurate in his answers.
One question and answer I found particularly interesting. One Senator asked him if he had been contacted or questioned by the Special Prosecutor and he said he hadn’t. Can you explain THAT? After all, due to that first session where they were asking him about CAMPAIGN discussions with Russians when, later, they changed to mean having ever spoken with any Russian at any time about any thing, he decided to recuse himself. You all made him a prime suspect in the “collusion” fantasy. Why hasn’t he been questioned? Could it be that this witch hunt is a little too transparent in what it actually does and doesn’t believe? Has Mueller, like Comey, already written his conclusions?
How do you know this? You don’t seem to possess any actual facts about this administration, relying solely on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC propaganda, so how would you even know what they have done? Do you think they would tell the Russians what safeguards they have put in place so they could begin testing them now?
And what, by the way, did OBAMA do to safeguard the voting process, since HE was notified well before 2016 what the Russians were up to? Did he do nothing, or was blocking the Russians just another of Obama’s monumental failures? Perhaps the got a few million dollars, laundered through the Clinton Foundation, to allow the Russians access?
You crybaby liberals have apparently completely given up on ever winning another election and rely solely on creating lies about Trump or his cabinet and expect them to resign on the basis of your silly little transparent false accusations. You people are absolutely sad. Infantile.