President Donald Trump’s reversals of several Obama administration policies mark his most consistent and customary actions so far.
Consistent, since Trump never led anyone to believe he’d do otherwise. Customary, because presidents reliably tear out the initiatives of their predecessors from the other party and put in their own.
So while Trump has yet to get his vow to repeal Obamacare fulfilled, or to kill the Dream Act, or to build a border wall, several promised anti-Obama missions are getting accomplished.
In Miami on Friday, Trump announced plans to tighten curbs on Americans traveling to Cuba and crack down on purported business dealings with the island nation’s military.
It is a partial rollback of former President Barack Obama’s reopening of relations.
Nobody could, or necessarily would, roll the clock back all the way to the Cold War. But Trump’s announcement gave him a chance to tell a cordial crowd of expatriates:
“The exiles and dissidents here today have witnessed communism destroy a nation, just as communism has destroyed every single nation where it has ever been tried.”
Earlier this month, Trump announced U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord that Obama saw as a big legacy item. Trump called it a “draconian” international deal that compromised U.S. sovereignty.
He also pushed as expected a rollback of some environmental regulations, with other rule removals still in the works. That parallels an evisceration of certain financial regulations. The president already signed a memorandum to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal Obama supported — even as his Democratic would-be successor, Hillary Clinton, eventually opposed the deal, too.
The nomination and Senate confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court negates Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, which was ignored by the GOP Senate. Gorsuch’s presence restores a conservative majority on the court.
For Republicans nationally, Obama’s usefulness as a target has yet to run its course.
For one thing, Senate Republicans have indicated they’ll pursue ex-FBI Director James Comey’s testimony that Loretta Lynch, as Obama’s last attorney general, had instructed him to refer to his agency’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails as a “matter,” not an investigation.
For another, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) pointed to the last president in the aftermath of the attempted assassination of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and others during a baseball practice in Virginia.
“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” King told WHO Iowa radio. “He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”