Former Obama Adviser Explains How She Handles Trump's Policy Rollbacks

Valerie Jarrett worked alongside President Obama on many policies and has watched President Trump roll back many of their key victories.

Former Obama Adviser Explains How She Handles Trump's Policy Rollbacks
Getty Images / Olivier Douliery

Since the Trump administration took office in January 2017, the president has made it a point to roll back many of the Obama administration's key accomplishments.

Valerie Jarrett, who served as President Obama's senior adviser for eight years, worked on many of those accomplishments in one way or another.

During a speaking event April 12 at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Jarrett discussed what it was like for her to have many of those accomplishments overturned.

"Well see, it was never about us. ... I love the country. It was an incredible honor, and when we have the baton, we did the best we could," Jarrett said.

Jarrett explained that elections have consequences. 

"Eight years goes by amazingly quickly, and it's not enough time to really solidify everything, which is why you want to make sure the person who follows you believes in what you believed in," she said.

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But, Jarrett said people are more affected by the policy rollbacks than she is.

"It would be the DACA kids who are scared to death about whether or not they're going to get deported or the person who does have a pre-existing condition who's worried that when you don't have a mandate are you going to be able to afford covering people with pre-existing conditions," she said. "And so what troubles me as I travel around the country is how many people are really worried and scared, who are going to benefit from many of the policies and legislation and regulations that we put in place."

Jarrett explained that she takes a long view when it comes to our democracy, which she says has never been easy.

"It's always had periods of chaos ... I remember a lot of really tough times," she said. "The civil rights era people describe it through the lens of 50 years hence, but I remember what it was like when a church in Birmingham was bombed and four little girls died or when people walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and were hosed and stoned down."

Jarrett said change happens when people decide to get involved.

"The mighty, mighty force that will always win is you," she said. "And when you decide that you're going to show up, then a state like Florida that is with a governor who has an A-plus rating from the NRA probably changes the law in just a matter of weeks ... Really big things happen when citizens get involved. And so I think that in a sense, a sleeping giant has been awakened, and that's you."