Revisiting one of the most contentious claims of his controversial candidacy, President Donald Trump said this week that “reversing all of Barack Hussein Obama’s policies and proving, once and for all, that he is not an American citizen gives me more joy than I can possible express.”
In a particularly vitriolic statement, Mr. Trump went on to say, “it will be the greatest legacy of my amazingly productive presidency if I can wipe all evidence of my predecessor’s eight disastrous years from the history books.”
While new presidents are eager to move ahead with their own agendas, Washington insiders say they have never seen one so determined to dismantle the policies of the previous president. They add that Mr. Trump seems to be completely fixated on Obama, and has made this more personal than politically pragmatic.
“President Trump doesn’t appear to have any proactive agenda of his own, and he doesn’t give a shit about charting a new course for the country,” said one White House veteran, speaking off the record. “His sole focus seems to be undoing every one of Mr. Obama’s accomplishments and getting under the man’s skin for a host of perceived slights.”
According to several people with access to the Oval Office, President Trump is also more interested in reopening the “birther” question related to Mr. Obama’s legitimacy as president, than tackling health care legislation, tax reform, the immigration question, or a host of other important initiatives that are at the top of the Republican congressional agenda.
“I don’t want to even imagine he could be so petty,” said a Trump insider with daily access to the president, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to a lot of us that the president is still smarting over Mr. Obama’s brilliant take down of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Obama’s mockery was so blistering, I can only guess it has left open wounds in the president over all this time. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you told me Donald Trump’s sole motivation in running for president was simply to even the score with Obama.”
In recent days, President Trump has reiterated his determination to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pull out of the nuclear arms deal with Iran — two of Mr. Obama’s signature achievements. He also claims that he has new evidence regarding the former president’s birth certificate, will be challenging his predecessor’s college transcripts from Harvard, and plans to produce a fifth grade report card of young Barack Obama’s from Noelani Elementary School in Honolulu that Mr. Trump asserts is fraudulent.
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