This series was made possible through a collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity, a DC-based nonprofit newsroom. Get updates on their work. You can also support Vox with a financial contribution. Learn more.
It was clear when Donald Trump started naming his Cabinet in the weeks after the 2016 election that his presidential agenda would be focused on one mission: dismantling portions of the government he was elected to run.
Climate change denier Scott Pruitt was tapped to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was chosen to lead the Energy Department, which he had once vowed to abolish. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who had expressed skepticism about the previous administration’s enforcement of fair housing laws, would run the department it fell under. Betsy DeVos, a conservative philanthropist with a mission to bring market-based principles to public education, was named secretary of education.
Some of these names have come and gone, but the mission remains. The Trump administration has pursued a deregulatory agenda and made ineffective numerous guidelines and protections set forth by the Obama administration, arguably putting Americans’ health and safety at risk on the job, on the road, and in their own communities. Now that we’re in a pandemic, the impact of these policies is more glaring than ever.
For our joint project System Failure, Vox and the Center for Public Integrity looked at the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks and budget cuts that have negatively affected public health. In a series of pieces over the next few months, we examine deregulatory moves that have touched a wide swath of American life, from nursing homes to factory farms to police departments to our workplaces.
The Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda has had a substantial impact on different facets of public health and American life. System Failure aims to shine a light on the administration’s actions — and hopefully inform how we go about rebuilding our government.
Reporters: Liz Essley Whyte, Alexia Fernández Campbell, Sarah Kleiner, Joe Yerardi (CPI); Dylan Matthews, Ian Millhiser, Nicole Narea, Anna North, Dylan Scott (Vox)
Editors: Matt DeRienzo, Rui Kaneya, Jim Morris, Peter Newbatt Smith (CPI); Kate Dailey, Jessica Machado, Elbert Ventura (Vox)
Visuals and design editors: Janeen Jones (CPI), Christina Animashaun (Vox)
Graphics: Amanda Northrop (Vox)
Copy editors: Tanya Pai, Tim Williams (Vox)
Communications: Mei Fong, Rita Wang (CPI); Kaitie Ames, Jill Pike (Vox)
Engagement: Alex Eichenstein, Tori Powell, Kristine Villanueva (CPI); Nisha Chittal, Agnes Mazur (Vox)