When Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016, career officials at the Environmental Protection Agency knew that their life’s work would be in jeopardy. What they didn’t know was the magnitude of the damage that would unfold in such a short period of time.
“Everybody was pretty aware that the EPA was going to be a target,” Janet McCabe, who joined the EPA in 2009, tells Shondaland. Ultimately, she worked her way up to the role of Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, a post she served in from July 2013 to January 2017.
“What we didn’t expect was the wholesale rejection of just about every single environmental thing the Obama administration had done,” McCabe says. “The animating principle [of the Trump administration] was, ‘If the Obama administration did it, then we want to undo it.’ It really is extraordinary.”