Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History, lends expertise for the Boston Globe

Boston Globe

Originally Posted: December 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — If one thing has defined President Trump’s approach to policy in his first year in office, it is his extraordinary zeal in trying to erase the accomplishments of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

From the petty (axing the White House bike-sharing station) to the profound (the Affordable Care Act), Trump has sought to roll back Obama achievements across the waterfront.

Some of those attempts have failed — the health law lives, though one key piece of it, the individual mandate, appears about to go away — but the intensity of Trump’s effort to bust up his predecessor’s legacy hasn’t ebbed a bit.

And he has had some real successes: Through executive actions, regulatory rollbacks, and personnel appointments — especially to the judiciary — Trump has made serious headway toward his goal, even as some of his own major legislative intitiatives have languished.

 “It’s been pretty clear from the beginning, one animating principle of this administration and, in particular, of this president, has been to consider anything that their predecessor did as bad,” said Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University.The move to undo Obama’s work

“If you want to convince Donald Trump of doing something,’’ he said, “rather than arguing the positives of why something would be good for the country or good for his administration, all you have to do is explain to him that this is the opposite of what Obama did.”

Trump is seeking to reverse Obama’s policies “with a vehemence and an order of magnitude that is different” from previous modern administrations, Engel said. “More importantly, there doesn’t seem to be a construction of an ideology so much as a deconstruction of the predecessor’s legacy.”

It’s also exactly what Trump’s most ardent fans wanted when they cast their ballots for the former reality TV star. READ MORE

By | 2017-12-19T05:55:06+00:00 December 19th, 2017|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, History|Comments Off on Jeffrey Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History, lends expertise for the Boston Globe
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