When President Donald Trump was running for reelection, he often struggled to describe a detailed agenda for his second term.

But now that he’s lost, he has quickly found an agenda for his last two months in office: kneecapping the presidency of his successor, Joe Biden.

Even though his administration has tacitly acknowledged Biden’s victory, Trump still claims that the results were illegitimate.

“Rigged Election!” he declared Tuesday on Twitter, which quickly flagged the tweet as disputed. Encouraged by Trump’s claims, about half of all Republicans believe Biden has “stolen” the presidency, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

If that view persists, it will create a problem for Biden: Republicans in Congress may hesitate to compromise with a president their voters consider illegitimate.

Meanwhile, Trump is missing in action on the two national crises that dominate his unfinished watch: the out-of-control coronavirus and the economic devastation the contagion has caused.

The president has abandoned his own pandemic task force, except to claim credit for vaccines developed by scientists in the United States, Britain and Germany, most of whom had no direct support from the White House.

As for the economy, Trump demanded before election day that Congress pass a new financial stimulus bill to help millions of unemployed workers and dying businesses — but since Biden’s victory, he appears to have lost interest. The stakes are huge: An estimated 12 million people will lose their benefits just after Christmas unless Congress acts. Economists warn that without more aid, the economy could spiral back into recession next year.

But next year’s economy will be Biden’s problem, not Trump’s.

It gets worse. The Trump administration isn’t merely sitting on the sidelines. It’s actively removing tools the Federal Reserve Board could use to bolster the economy.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin decided to end several emergency lending programs that were operated jointly by the administration and the Fed. He asked the Fed to return $455 billion to the Treasury, saying if the money hadn’t been used, it must not be needed.

Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell, a Trump appointee, and his board disagreed. So did the mostly Republican U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a long list of economists from both parties.

The Fed said the funds play “an important role as a backstop” in case the economy runs into trouble next year.

But next year’s economy will be Biden’s problem, not Trump’s.

The president has mused about running again in 2024 and set up a post-presidential political action committee that’s collecting donations under the guise of contesting this election.

It’s fair to assume he’s not hoping too hard for a successful Biden administration.

The Trump administration is putting other obstacles in Biden’s path, beginning with a frenzy of last-minute regulations.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management invited oil and gas firms to choose sites where they want to drill in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a step toward holding a lease sale that could take place Jan. 17, three days before Biden’s inauguration.

Biden opposes drilling in the refuge. If the leases are sold, he can challenge them — but only at the cost of time, attention and political capital.

Trump aides are also considering more than 140 new regulations, including one to allow poultry plants to speed up assembly lines, potentially putting workers at risk, and a new industry-friendly system to evaluate restrictions on air pollution.

In foreign policy, Trump decided after the election to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia before the inauguration, a decision that deprives Biden of the ability to set a withdrawal timetable of his own.

And Trump aides say they intend to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran. That could make it harder for Biden to revive the 2015 nuclear accord negotiated by President Barack Obama and abandoned by Trump.

To be fair, most presidents engage in at least some lame-duckery, scrambling to put programs and regulations in place to make it harder for their successors to change course.

Obama, for example, issued 17 executive orders in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration in 2017, a record. But it would be odd for Trump to follow the example of Obama, whom he has described as “one of the worst presidents in our history.”

There is an alternative model for a departing president during a national crisis: George W. Bush in 2009, when Obama was elected during a catastrophic financial crash. Bush ordered his aides to smooth Obama’s path and took politically unpopular actions so his successor wouldn’t need to. Bush signed a $14 billion bailout for the automobile industry, a decision Obama and Biden claimed credit for after it succeeded. He asked Congress to release $350 billion to bail out financial institutions a week before Obama’s inauguration to spare the new president the political cost of obtaining it.

In his new memoir, Obama pays tribute to Bush, marveling that he was so willing to “go against public opinion and a lot of people in (his) own party for the sake of the country.”

But Bush wasn’t thinking about running for president again. He had only his legacy and the nation’s interests to consider.

Doyle McManus is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Readers may send him email at doyle.mcmanus @latimes.com.

(21) comments

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
bosco

Keep drinking that Socialist Democrat CNN MSNBC Kool Aid, Doctor Fed Up GregF. If we don't have open borders, where did the 11 million illegal aliens that Quid Pro Joe wants to grant citizenship to come from? And I guess you don't mind higher taxes so that Quid Pro Joe can give free health care to illegal aliens. You'll be squealing like a pig stuck under a gate when the Socialist Democrats start picking your pockets to pay for the free stuff for everybody programs.

[ninja]

olefool

Poor bosco/CD.... trying to defend the indefensible... It is hard work but you know the GOP/DJT motto, "If you cant beat 'em, cheat 'em.... This year there's referees, they're called Judges...

phydeaux994

Here goes bosco, deleting his own comments because they are so rediculous.🤡

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
bosco

Keep drinking that Socialist Democrat CNN MSNBC Kool Aid, Doctor Fed Up GregF. If we don't have open borders, where did the 11 million illegal aliens that Quid Pro Joe wants to grant citizenship to come from? And I guess you don't mind higher taxes so that Quid Pro Joe can give free health care to illegal aliens? How about cancelling all student loan debt? You'll be squealing like a pig stuck under a gate when the Socialist Democrats start confiscating your money for their give away programs.

How is Troll King under that bridge?

[ninja]

DickD

Why did we ever elect such a bad person AS POTUS. Because a certain group wanted a racist, divisive POTUS.

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
Hayduke2

Trump is a loser in more ways than one. It is you, sir, who are the hypocrite and snowflake and your posts continue to show it. Real mature ending to your post.

Dwasserba

"Trump aides are also considering more than 140 new regulations, including one to allow poultry plants to speed up assembly lines, potentially putting workers at risk..." evil. What's the matter with these people. Do not employ them.

MD1756

Anyone who knows the regulatory process knows that any newly proposed or contemplated regulations will not make it through before Trump leaves office. There isn't enough time even for an abbreviated public comment period.

More importantly, does Trump know that?

phydeaux994

Can anyone think of any “American Citizen?” in 20th Century U.S, History that has done more to destroy the vision of our Country set forth by our Founding Fathers by the Constitution and Rule of Law? Our place in the World has been trashed by Donald John Trump and he continues to put as many obstacles as he can in Joe Biden’s way

to prevent the effort to restore America back to it’s rightful place in History. So RRR(RadicalRightRepublicans), look deep into your Souls and motives before you continue your blind devotion to a man/child whose only desire is to destroy our beautiful Country out of anger and revenge.

sevenstones1000

I cannot, no. Joe McCarthy and George Wallace attempted it, but Americans saw through them relatively quickly. Alas, we can ask it again, but Donald Trump and his supporters have no sense of decency. At long last, they have left no sense of decency.

bosco

Is Quid Pro Joe planning an Obama-Style apology tour as he ships our money and jobs overseas? China and Moscow will be looking for some "play" for the "pay" they funneled through Hunter.

Break out the popcorn, this will be fun to watch.

[ninja]

phydeaux994

“Break out the popcorn, this will be fun to watch”......You’ve used this little quip numerous times and your prediction has NEVER come to pass. NOTHING has ever been funneled through Hunter Biden, just refer to the ongoing BARR/GIULIANI Investigations costing millions and not a report in sight. Time to admit that you were hornswoggled by this Toad and start to fight for your Country that you have abandoned. Peace.👍😷

sevenstones1000

Bosco, you know it is Trump who is the master of quid pro quo. It’s the Art of the Deal. It’s “I’ll give you congressionally allocated money only if you give me dirt on Biden. Except if I get caught, then I will pretend I was just fooling.”

Hayduke2

Bosco appears to have to continue to spew nonsense and conspiracy theories in order to put some salve on his self-inflicted wounds.

NewMarketParent

@Reek

It must be hard to be wrong so much in life. It must make for a long, sad life. I'm glad you at least have this forum to help you feel better about yourself. You're still wrong, but at least you feel better.

threecents

Bosco, You cannot possibly believe the Biden conspiracy theories. You are simply not that stupid and gullible, so please stop with the button pushing to support your friends. Let's get back to reality-based life, shall we. That is the main concept that won in November. Time for a new wardrobe - flat earth tones tones don't suit you anymore.

bosco

Hey Fido, when you said "Break out the popcorn, this will be fun to watch”......You’ve used this little quip numerous times and your prediction has NEVER come to pass. NOTHING"…..so what? You declared several months ago that this is an OPINION forum. And besides that my popcorn has a longer shelf life than Quid Pro Joe.

How did your theories about Russian collusion, the corrupt FISA warrants signed by Comey, the Russian dossier paid for by Hillary, and Adam Schiff's irrefutable proof work out. Do you think Quid Pro Joe can survive the same level of scrutiny that the Dims gave the Russian collusion story - 40 million dollars worth?

[ninja]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!