Shortly after President Trump announced his administration would end key payments to insurers selling Obamacare plans and not certify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear deal President Obama helped broker, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper remarked on his nightly show that it was becoming clear the current president was trying to demolish his predecessor's legacy.
"Never ... have we seen a president so seemingly bent on reversing, negating, even obliterating his predecessor's signature accomplishments," Cooper said Oct. 14 on his show "Anderson Cooper 360."
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"If you want to know what President Trump is against, you only have to look at what President Obama was for, and in all fairness none of this should be a surprise. He campaigned on much of it, and if nothing else he's keeping his promises now," Anderson said.
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Indeed, among a list of more than 170 first-year accomplishments WND has compiled, are countless reversals of Obama's policies. Along with tackling Obama's signature domestic and foreign policy accomplishments – Obamacare and the Iran deal – Trump notably has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords and the Trans Pacific Partnership, and scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for the children of illegal immigrants.
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Here is a sampling of what Trump has done in his first year in office to reverse Obama's legacy:
The failure to repeal and replace Obamacare is regarded as perhaps the biggest legislative failure of President Trump’s first year in office. Yet, Trump managed to eliminate the linchpin of Obama’s signature law, the individual mandate, through the tax-reform bill passed in December.
And now the administration is taking the first step toward implementing one of the most important planks of conservative health-care reform, selling insurance policies across state lines.
Trump signed an executive order Oct. 12 that directs three federal agencies to rewrite regulations to encourage the establishment of cheaper health plans that can be purchased across state lines and are not bound by certain Obamacare rules and regulations. Earlier this month, the Department of Labor published in the Federal Register a proposed rule that would accomplish that aim.
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The Trump administration also has expanded religious and moral exemptions for mandated contraceptive coverage under Obamacare. The law required that nearly all insurance plans cover abortion-inducing drugs and contraception, forcing citizens to violate sincerely held religious or moral beliefs, pay steep fines, or forgo offering or obtaining health insurance entirely.
The Department of Homeland Security released figures Dec. 4 showing Trump is delivering on his pledge to more strictly control immigration and deter would-be border-crossers. ICE said the number of people apprehended away from the border jumped 25 percent this fiscal year, an increase of 37 percent after Trump’s inauguration compared to the same period the year before.
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Dec. 3 the Trump administration was withdrawing from the Global Compact on Migration, arguing it would "undermine the sovereign right of the United States to enforce our immigration laws and secure our borders."
In September, Trump rescinded Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order, which gave de facto amnesty to some 800,000 people who came to the country as children with their illegal-alien parents. Trump has delayed implementing his order for six months to give Congress time to come up with a legislative solution.
The Department of Homeland Security in August ended the Central American Minors Parole Program that had allowed certain minors from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to enter the U.S.
In the first 100 days of the Trump administration, arrests and deportations of criminal aliens such as MS-13 members were up 38 percent compared with the last year of the Obama administration.
The DOJ also resumed the criminal prosecution of first-time illegal border crossers after it had been stopped by the Obama administration.
President Trump signed two executive orders Dec. 4 that gave back about 2 million acres of land to the state of Utah by modifying executive orders by President Obama.
Arguing the Antiquities Act “requires that any reservation of land as part of a monument be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects of historic or scientific interest to be protected,” Trump reduced the federal government’s control of the Bear’s Ear National Monument to just 201,876 acres, pointing out that the important objects of scientific or historic interest described described in Obama’s proclamation are protected under existing laws and agency management designations.
He also reduced the Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah from nearly 1.9 million acres to about 1 million.
President Trump announced Oct. 13 he would not certify the Iran nuclear deal and vowed that the U.S. would pull out unless changes are made. He also unveiled a new strategy, the culmination of nine months of deliberation with Congress and allies, on how to best protect American security from the rogue mullah-led regime. The plan included denying the regime funding and any paths to a nuclear weapon and ballistic missiles. The Department of the Treasury sanctioned more than 25 entities and individuals involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
The U.S. also sanctioned 16 entities and individuals that have supported Iran’s military and Revolutionary Guard Corps in the development of drones, fast attack boats and other military equipment.
The Trump administration now is investigating allegations the Obama administration – to protect its Iran deal – thwarted a probe of a Hezbollah drug ring and tipped off the commander of the Quds Force, a designated terrorist organization, that the Israelis were plotting to assassinate him.
In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Trump explicitly denounced socialism and communism, pointing to Venezuela as an example of what happens when socialism is successfully implemented.
While the previous three U.S. presidents promised during their election campaigns to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Trump on Dec. 6 became the first to follow through. In his official order, Trump also ordered the U.S. Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The move was celebrated by Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had been treated by Obama as an adversary.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, announced days after the U.N. General Assembly condemned the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital that Washington negotiated a $285 million cut in the global body’s “bloated” budget for next year.
The Trump administration announced Dec. 29 that the United States will deny Pakistan military aid amounting to $255 million because Washington expects the Islamic nation "to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil."
President Trump announced Dec. 14 his administration has far exceeded its promise to eliminate regulations at a 2:1 ratio and impose no lifetime net regulatory costs. In total, agencies issued 67 deregulatory actions while imposing only three new regulatory actions, a ratio of 22:1. Federal agencies also achieved $8.1 billion in lifetime net regulatory cost savings, the equivalent of $570 million per year.
From the beginning of his term, Trump set up task forces in every agency to remove "job killing regulations" and increase "economic opportunity."
By comparison, during President Obama's years in office, more than 22,700 regulations were imposed on Americans at a cost to American consumers, businesses and workers of more than $120 billion each year. Trump's order reducing regulation and controlling regulatory costs was the first time in U.S. history that the executive branch has established a regulatory budget.
Environmental Protection Agency reform
More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since Trump took office, nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to Reagan-administration levels.
EPA Director Scott Pruitt placed 66 new experts on three different EPA scientific committees who espouse more conservative views than their predecessors. To prevent conflicts of interest, Pruitt signed a directive Oct. 31 banning scientists who receive EPA grants from serving on the agency's independent advisory boards.
Pruitt announced Oct. 9 a new set of rules that will override the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of Obama’s drive to curb global "climate change." The agency is moving to undo, delay or block more than 30 environmental rules, the largest regulatory rollback in the agency's 47-year history.
In July, President Trump kept his campaign promise to coal miners and rolled back the previous administration's "Stream Protection Rule," which targeted the industry with estimated costs of at least $81 million a year.
Trump approved the Dakota Access Pipeline project and the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, which are expected to create more than 42,000 jobs and $2 billion in earnings. The Dakota Access Pipeline, which is transporting 500,000 barrels of oil a day, has reinvigorated the North Dakota economy. In June, Trump approved production of the New Burgos Pipeline to Mexico.
Trump issued an executive order in June to begin the process of rescinding the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which has been used to expand federal control over private land. Under the Obama administration, the broadly crafted rule was applied to "navigable waters" such as man-made ditches and water that accumulated after heavy rain.
After decades of trying, a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve was opened to oil drilling through the tax-reform bill.
Trump, in June, pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, which, according to a study by NERA Consulting, could have cost the United States economy nearly $3 trillion along with a loss of sovereignty. According to the same study, by 2040, 6.5 million industrial sector jobs could have been lost, including 3.1 million manufacturing sector jobs.
On Dec. 18, Trump removed climate change from the global threats listed in his National Security Strategy, reversing an Obama administration decision. Obama, in the most recent strategy document, declared climate change an “urgent and growing threat to our national security.”
In September, Trump shut down a climate-change advisory panel under the direction of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that critics have contended was formed largely to promote President Obama’s climate policies, arguing it lacked representation from “those who think the empirical evidence points to human actions contributing little to global warming and that attempting to reduce it would slow the conquest of poverty around the world.” The EPA also has decided not to renew the appointments of dozens of scientists on various scientific advisory panels.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised President Trump Dec. 20 for his leadership in the passage of the biggest tax overhaul in 30 years, with some $3.2 trillion in tax cuts along with significant simplification of the tax code. Not a single Democrat voted for the measure and party leaders dismissed it as a sop to the rich. But dozens of companies already have responded to a cut in the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent by boosting employee wages and providing extra bonuses.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 1.3 million new jobs were created during Trump's first 200 days. Meanwhile, Obama, in his first six months, saw the loss of more than 4.1 million jobs in his first 200 days.
This week, the Labor Department announced U.S. filings for unemployment benefits plummeted to the lowest level in almost 45 years, suggesting the unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, already the lowest since 2000, could be poised to decline further, according to analysts.
Obama proposed legislation to force multinationals to pay taxes on profits they hold offshore. But with passage of the tax-reform bill, Apple has decided it will repatriate overseas cash holdings and pour $350 billion into the U.S. economy over the next five years. Trump tweeted in response that his policies allowed the tech giant "to bring massive amounts of money back to the United States," which is a "huge win for American workers and the USA!"
Three years ago, ISIS had made substantial progress achieving its stated goal of a caliphate, boasting tens of thousands of fighters and territorial control over an area roughly the size of South Korea. But now, under Trump’s leadership of the U.S. Armed Forces, ISIS has collapsed in its Syria stronghold and in Iraq. As Northeastern Professor Max Abrahms and CATO Institute Director John Glaser noted in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, a former foreign fighter recently admitted, “It’s over: there is no more Daesh left,” using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
In July, the Trump administration ended a CIA program to arm "moderate" Syrian rebels after previous efforts of its kind were shown to have aided Islamic jihadists, including the terrorists who carried out the disastrous Benghazi attack in which four Americans, including the ambassador, were killed.
The unemployment rate for black Americans dropped to an all-time low in December, to 6.8 percent. The previous monthly low was 7.4 percent in 2000. The government has been tracking unemployment by race since 1972.
The Trump administration reversed Obama's order to allow transgendered individuals to serve in the military. The order is being challenged in court.
The Department of Agriculture issued a guidance Nov. 6 that ensures Christians who opposed same-sex marriage would not be discriminated against for their beliefs.
Melania Trump, while embracing a more active and public schedule as first lady, is running one of the leanest East Wing operations in recent history, according to a Fox News analysis of White House personnel reports that found she has significantly reduced the number of aides on the first lady's office payroll in comparison to her predecessor, Michelle Obama. During President Obama's first year in office, 16 people were listed working for Michelle Obama, earning a combined $1.24 million a year. This year, just four people were listed working for Melania Trump as of June, with salaries totaling $486,700
President Trump revived America's leadership in space exploration, reconstituting the National Space Council for the first time in 25 years to assist him in developing and implementing long-range strategic goals.
In contrast to Obama's priorities, the space program will refocus on human exploration and discovery. Under Obama, NASA's administrator at the time, Charles Bolden, said in a 2010 interview with al-Jazeera that Obama had given him three charges, with perhaps the foremost being helping the Muslim world “feel good” about itself.
The administration also will renew America’s commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security. And Pence pointed out the intelligence community reports that Russia and China are pursuing a full range of anti-satellite technology designed to threaten U.S. military effectiveness.
Keeping a major campaign promise, President Trump nominated to the highest court a strict constructionist and originalist in the mold of Antonin Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as an associate justice in April. In his first term, in June, Gorsuch voted in every case with the justice generally regarded as the most conservative, Clarence Thomas.
The conservative Committee for Justice said in a report that Gorsuch's early performance says a lot about both what he will be like as a Supreme Court justice "and what the president can be counted on to do as more high court vacancies occur. Conservatives hoping for a solid conservative majority on the court in the near future had good reason to cheer."
Trump also is filling up lower courts with lifetime appointees. In the estimation of Democratic official Ron Klain, a "massive transformation is underway in how our fundamental rights are defined by the federal judiciary." Klain, lamenting Trump's moves, said the president "is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers." On Sept. 28, Trump announced an eighth wave of judicial candidates, with nine more names.
In January, Trump signed an order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which defunded the International Planned Parenthood Federation and other organizations that promote foreign abortions. In May, the administration broadened the scope of the Mexico City Policy to restrict funding to any international health organization that performs or gives information about abortions, expanding the amount of money affected from $600,000 to nearly $9 billion.
The Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 2 issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) to strongly support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), which would generally make it unlawful for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion of an unborn child after 20 weeks post-fertilization.
The president issued a statement Oct. 1 renewing the nation's "strong commitment to promoting the health, well-being, and inherent dignity of all children and adults with Down syndrome." The president observed "there remain too many people – both in the United States and throughout the world – that still see Down syndrome as an excuse to ignore or discard human life." He said Americans and their government "must always be vigilant in defending and promoting the unique and special gifts of all citizens in need" and "should not tolerate any discrimination against them, as all people have inherent dignity."
The Department of Health and Human Services has published a draft of a new strategic plan that states in its introduction that life begins at conception. The personhood of the unborn child is central to the abortion debate — as even the justice who wrote the landmark Roe v. Wade opinion has acknowledged — because, if established in law, it would nullify a “right” to abortion. The largely overlooked HHS strategic plan for 2018-22 states the agency “accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”
In what was regarded as the first major national pro-life bill in more than a decade, Trump signed in April a Congressional Review bill into law annulling a recent Obama administration regulation that would have prohibited states from discriminating in awarding Title X family planning funds based on whether a local clinic also performs abortions.
The Trump administration in April cut off U.S. funding of the United Nations Population Fund, which has links to inhumane abortion programs such as China's one-child policy (which became a two-child policy in 2015). More than $32 million was instead shifted to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In April, Trump appointed pro-life advocate Dr. Charmaine Yoest, the former president of Americans United for Life, as assistant secretary of public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, replacing a strong Planned Parenthood supporter. Later, two pro-life advocates who had worked for the Family Research Council were appointed to key positions. And Valerie Huber, an abstinence education advocate, was appointed in June as chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health at the HHS.
In August, the Department of Health and Human Services rescinded an Obama-era directive that had allowed states to request a waiver to ignore work requirements for the poor in order to receive welfare.
Also in August, more than 1.1 million fewer Americans were on food stamps under President Trump, compared to the Obama administration.
The Justice Department terminated Operation Choke Point, an Obama program encouraging banks not to do business with "high risk" businesses, which was used to target gun dealers.
President Trump signed a bill into law in February repealing an Obama-era Social Security Administration rule adding mental disability determinations to the background check registry. The Obama regulation potentially allowed the denial of Second Amendment rights to many competent, mentally healthy citizens.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DOJ cracked down on illegal leaks of classified information from within the government, pursuing three times more investigations in the first six months of the Trump administration than had been open at the end of the Obama administration. The administration created a counter-intelligence unit within the FBI for the investigations.
In April, Sessions, in an effort to give back local control to police departments, ordered the Department of Justice to review Obama's agreements with local police departments.
Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in June appointed Adam Kissel, a noted critic of the Obama administration's implementation of Title IX – the much-abused 1972 federal law that bars discrimination in education "on the basis of sex" – and a strong supporter of free speech, as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs. The staff of the Title IX enforcement office was reduced in the 2018 budget.
In April, Trump signed an executive order requiring Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to review department regulations with the intent of returning power to the states and local governments.
Trump, in February, reversed Obama's executive order requiring public schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their preferred "gender identity."