Obama vs. Trump

Article by Henry Smith

Illustration by Madison Reck


It is well known that our country has, and still continues to undergo profound change; change due to a peaceful transition of power that is the essence of United States democracy itself. But besides the acclaimed memes of President Obama and Vice President Biden or the overused saying “thanks, Obama,” do we really know what differences a Trump presidency will usher into our country? While some may be able to ignorantly retort that Trump is a Republican and wants to “build the wall” or “make America great again,” a deeper understanding is necessary to fathom the enormity of the impact that President Trump and his administration will have on the United States for the upcoming four years of his term. Included below are a few major United States policies and brief descriptions of each indicating how policy will change under President Trump.

Protecting the Environment: Full Flip

President Obama and President Trump are indisputably on opposite poles regarding the necessity for environmental regulations; while President Obama asserts that “climate change is a fact,” President Trump conversely contends that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese.” During his Presidency, Obama established innumerable policies regarding safeguarding the nation’s environment, whether it was providing upwards of $90 billion in subsidies for green energy, establishing a “Pollinator Health Task Force” to restore the health of endangered honeybees by 2025, or protecting thousands of miles of wilderness in nine states. Furthermore, perhaps President Obama’s effort that gained the most attention from the media was the Paris Agreement through which 195 different countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions. Will these policies regarding the continued preservation of the environment be maintained under President Trump? Highly unlikely. President Trump, rather than fostering the expansion of the renewable energy industry, has called himself the “last shot for the miners.” In addition, President Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Pruitt, a skeptic of global warming, has called the debate regarding the legitimacy of climate change “far from settled.”

Gun rights: Not Even Close

During the contentious general election campaign between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the National Rifle Association (NRA) backed Trump as its champion of the second amendment. However, the NRA had a different view of President Obama during his presidency, viciously maintaining that President Obama’s “contempt for the Second Amendment” had turned lawful gun-owning citizens into “scapegoats.” Under President Obama’s administration, virtually all efforts to expand background checks, place greater restrictions on online gun sales, and provide greater funding for mental health treatment were swiftly struck down by Congress; regardless, President Obama stood firm on his efforts to place tougher restrictions on obtaining guns, comparing his push for gun control to “keeping children from opening bottles of aspirin.” President Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t see these gun safety measures as common sense, noting that “gun and magazine bans... are a total failure.” Further, President Trump has been quick to call out President Obama’s “overreaching, executive actions” on guns, and made sure to assure Americans that “thankfully, we now have the opportunity to reverse course.”

Women’s Rights: Blatant Opposites

“We are better off when women are treated fairly and equally,” President Obama maintained during his eight years in office, rivaling Trump’s notoriously vulgar comments regarding women. During his administration, President Obama allotted more than $500 million a year to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides mammograms, birth control, STI testing, and numerous other services to Americans, especially women; President Obama also did not waver on the controversial Roe v. Wade case that guarantees women the right to an abortion despite disapproval from congressional Republicans. On the other hand, President Trump has had quite a record of bad relations with women, calling women “pigs,” “slobs,” and “disgusting animals,” in addition to being accused of rape on numerous occasions. Nonetheless, President Trump said during his campaign that the overturning of Roe v. Wade “will happen, automatically,” and seems poised to defund Planned Parenthood in coordination with congressional Republicans.


1. Nelson, A. (2016, October 10). 15 things Obama has done for the environment. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/things-obama-has-done-environment

2. Barack Obama on Gun Control. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Barack_Obama_Gun_Control.htm

3. Obama Administration Moves To Protect Planned Parenthood's Federal Funding. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/12/14/505595090/obama-administration-moves-to-protect-planned-parenthoods-federal-funding

4. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/compare/1-70/Barack-Obama-vs-Donald-Trump