Donald Trump’s rise to political prominence was, in part, fueled by his fixation on his predecessor, Barack Obama. From Trump’s days as the star of “The Apprentice” to his GOP presidential campaign, his relentless questioning of Obama’s birthplace was a contentious point.
The Guardian pointed out numerous indicators of this obsession, from Obama’s massive inaugural crowds to his robust social media following. Paired with underlying racism and jealousy, these factors might have contributed to Trump’s relentless pursuit of the Obama narrative.
As Ben Rhodes, former Obama national security adviser, tweeted, Trump’s “obsession with Obama seems almost comical if it weren’t so tragic.” For years, Trump, despite ample evidence, sowed doubt about Obama’s Hawaiian birth in 1961.
It wasn’t until a press conference in 2016 that Trump begrudgingly acknowledged Obama’s U.S. birthright. Even then, he didn’t miss an opportunity to undermine Obama, whom he had persistently challenged, suggesting the possibility of Obama being a Muslim based on hypothetical content in his birth certificate.
Trump’s motivation seems to extend beyond mere politics. He appears intent on dismantling many of Obama’s major achievements, from the Iran nuclear deal to the Affordable Care Act. Experts like presidential historian Russell Riley have noticed this pattern, pointing out the unique intensity of Trump’s endeavor to overturn the previous administration’s accomplishments.
Shirley Anne Warshaw from Gettysburg College added, “Trump is mainly focused on undoing Obama’s policies, and it’s challenging to identify any significant independent legislative agenda he has presented, except perhaps tax reform.”