Rhodes: Opposition to Obama Policy on Cuba, Paris Climate Agreement Can't Be Ideological

June 4, 2018

Former Obama administration aide Ben Rhodes said Monday that opposition to Barack Obama's policies couldn't be ideological, saying the Trump administration's opposition is politically motivated.

CBS' Gayle King asked Rhodes about how President Donald Trump has rolled back many of the policies that were put in place by the Obama administration.

"You said ‘we didn't always get things right but the larger project of believing that America is a better place.’ When you look at the Trump administration, many people believe that they're trying to unravel and undo everything that the Obama administration did," King said. "Does [Obama] feel that way and do you, members of the administration, feel that everything that you did, the work that you accomplished, that they're now trying to take it all apart? Do you feel that?"

"Well, certainly, there are certain policies that they have targeted, Paris climate agreement, Cuba, TPP, there's not an ideological rationale for why you would take down all of those policies other than that Barack Obama did them," Rhodes said.

President Donald Trump has ordered the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, which the Obama administration agreed to but was never legally bound to as it was not ratified by the Senate. The Trump administration and critics of the agreement have argued it put the U.S. at a distinct economic disadvantage by putting strict limits on the U.S. while allowing other countries, including China, to operate without any restriction for years.

In the case of Cuba, the Trump administration has argued Obama was too soft on the communist government. Not long after the United States opened its embassy in Havana, diplomats began reporting illnesses, which were later determined to be the result of sonic attacks.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was a trade deal that was not only opposed to by Trump, but also by many Democrats. Trump has called the TPP a "disaster," arguing it would hurt American workers and undercut U.S. companies.

Rhodes' White House memoir, The World As It Is, comes out Tuesday. In an excerpted section of his book released last week, he described how Obama pondered aloud following Trump's victory, "What if we were wrong?"