President Obama has taken a number of unilateral actions in the waning days of his tenure that appear designed to box in President-elect Donald Trump.
Obama’s decision Thursday to sanction Russian entities for election-related hacking is just the latest obstacle he has placed in Trump’s way.
The Hill reports,
Days before the sanctions were unveiled, the Obama administration allowed the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity — something that could have an indelible impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Obama has also permanently banned oil and gas drilling across large swaths of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, closed off 1.6 million acres of Western land to development and scrapped the last vestiges of a registration system used largely on Muslim immigrants.
Those actions, as well as Obama’s claim that he could have won a third term, seem to have irked Trump and his associates as the transition period enters its final weeks. Trump on Wednesday morning went on the attack against Obama.
“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” he tweeted. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”
Later in the day, Trump spoke on the phone with Obama and turned down the temperature on the spat, telling reporters roughly six hours after his initial comments that the transition is going “very, very smoothly.”
Yet it’s clearly not lost on Trump or his team that the president is using his power in aggressive ways.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday said Obama’s actions could hamper his successor, even as he praised the president’s team for being “very helpful” with the logistical aspects of the transition.
“Both the regulatory stuff, the executive orders that are on the way out … that [is] something that I believe, you know, makes it a little bit tougher in terms of the transition on the policy side,” Spicer told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.
It’s unclear how many of Obama’s late actions Trump will able to reverse upon taking office.
Should Trump seek to scrap the sanctions on Russia next year, it could trigger a fight with congressional Republicans, who mostly praised the retaliatory steps Thursday even as they lambasted the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
Read the full story at The Hill