Obama says Trump did ‘serious damage’ to policy accomplishments but ACA ‘remains robust’

Former President Barack Obama said in an interview published Wednesday that the Trump administration did “serious damage” to some of the signature policies enacted during the Democrat’s two terms in office.

President Trump has sought to roll back several major Obama-era policies since 2016, including an unsuccessful bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as “ObamaCare.” In an interview with New York magazine, Obama said that he doesn’t “have a checklist” keeping track of every Trump administration challenge, but acknowledged he has kept tabs on major policy battles.

“I don’t think about it in those terms,” Obama said. “I do pay attention; I have paid attention to those areas where what the Trump administration attempted to do did some serious damage and where it’s more of a short-term setback on what is a long-term success. So although it was nip-and-tuck for a while, the Affordable Care Act remains robust.”

A Trump-led Republican effort to overturn Obama failed in July 2017 when the late Arizona Sen. John McCain famously crossed party lines to vote against a repeal. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to expand on the Affordable Care Act’s framework when he takes office.  Biden supports a “public option,” where Americans can keep their private insurance or join a government plan, and campaigned on a promise to lower drug prices and deductibles.

Obama said the Affordable Care Act is a “successful policy” that is “actually popular” among Americans. But the former president identified the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal regulations related to climate change as an area where he felt “damage” was done.

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“I think that with Joe and Kamala coming in, the ability to pick up where we left off and keep on going remains,” Obama added. “And in some cases, there are some things that are going to be harder to undo. Even on climate change, every year you lose is a problem.”

Trump withdrew U.S. support for the Paris Climate Agreement, arguing the deal’s framework was unfair to American interests. Biden has vowed to rejoin the agreement.