President Donald Trump has tried — unsuccessfully — to do away with the legacy of former President Barack Obama. Given Trump’s history of attacking his predecessor, his pointedness on demolishing his successes hardly comes as a surprise.
Trump for years pushed the birther movement, his unfounded questioning of the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate and whether Obama was born in the United States. An archive of Trump’s tweets includes 85 where he references the “birther movement,” dating back to 2011. (In 2012 he chose to tweet about it on the anniversary of Sept. 11 — twice.)
Two of Trump’s biggest focuses have been on undoing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 71 percent of Americans would rather try to make Obamacare work than completely upend the current policy. As time goes by, support for Obamacare has only grown, with an April Gallup poll finding that 55 percent of Americans support Obamacare — up by 13 percentage points from November.
The GOP has not been able to muster enough votes in Congress to replace Obamacare with their own law, so Trump has used other avenues to essentially kill Obamacare. Most recently the White House announced that Trump would be ending Obamacare payments to insurance companies.
Trump does not seem to care who he affects in the process of doing away with Obamacare. A report from The Associated Press concluded that of those who would be most impacted by the Republicans undoing Obama’s health care plan, about 70 percent are from states that supported Trump during the election.
The AP reported:
“An estimated 4 million people were benefiting from the cost-sharing payments in the 30 states Trump carried, according to an analysis of 2017 enrollment data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of consumers benefiting from cost-sharing, all but one — Massachusetts — went for Trump.”
So why has Trump remained so deadest on ridding the U.S. of Obamacare? Despite support for the health care law, and how it would adversely affect his own loyal support base, CNN suggested that Trump has focused more on the name rather than the numbers:
“The key to understanding Trump’s motivations here are entirely contained in the ACA’s shorthand nickname: Obamacare. It’s named after the man — former President Barack Obama (duh) — who shepherded it into existence. And that’s exactly why Trump wants to get rid of it.”
Another Obama-era move Trump sought to destroy — and which he ended last month — is DACA. Established in 2012, DACA protected immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. by undocumented parents when they were under sixteen. DACA applicants must have been living in the country since at least June of 2007 and either be enrolled in school, have a high school diploma or equivalent or be an honorably discharged veteran. They cannot have been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor or more than two other misdemeanors.
Nearly 800,000 people have obtained DACA status, according to the most recent statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Trump halted the program in September and then suggested he would be open to a deal, one that includes money to fund his prized wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, to protect DACA recipients, known as Dreamers.
Deporting American residents who entered the country illegally as children could cost the U.S. economy about $280 billion, according to a study by the CATO Institute published in January. “Many Americans believe that the presence of unauthorized immigrants is harmful to the economy and would like to see steps taken to reduce their presence,” wrote economist Ike Brannon, a co-author of the study. “However, a repeal or roll-back of DACA would harm the economy and cost the U.S. government a significant amount of lost tax revenue.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week on her show highlighted a long list of things, including Obamacare and DACA, that Trump has attempted to change during his first year in office. The one thing they all have in common is that they were policies or achievements reached by Obama — and, seemingly for that reason, Trump is hell bent on eradicating them.
“President Obama negotiated the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Deal, primarily as a way to try to outmaneuver China economically. Trump is stopping that. President Obama played a key role in negotiating the 195 country Paris Climate Accord. Trump is pulling us out of that. President Obama started normalizing relations with Cuba. Trump is stopping that. President Obama’s clean power plan? Kill it. President Obama’s rule to keep seriously mentally ill people from buying guns? Kill that. The Obama insurance rule to make sure birth control is covered by health insurance? Kill that. The Obama flood protection rule, so we don’t build critical infrastructure where it’s going to … Yeah, kill that. It’s not like we’re ever gonna have a flood again. President Obama played a key role in getting a deal between the five permanent members of the U.N. security council, plus Germany, plus the EU, a historic deal with Iran to limit Iran’s nuclear program. Everybody else on that deal is still on board. Trump today started to pull us out on that.”
“What I wanna know, though, is have we ever had a president who pursued nothing of his own, legislatively, nothing?” Maddow questioned. “Have we ever had a president, whether or not they had complete control of Congress, have we ever had a president whose only action as president, for the first ten months, was only to try to undo everything done by the previous president?”
In response, simply put, Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian, told Maddow: “No.”