If President Donald Trump can do anything, it’s going on a confusing Twitter rant.
As many celebrated Mother’s Day on Sunday, Trump went on a 126 tweet-and-retweet rampage where he breathed life into the term ‘Obamagate’ – a play on words that derives from ‘Watergate’– a scandal that occurred during Richard Nixon’s presidency. While ‘Obamagate’ isn’t exactly a new term, Trump amplified it and received 2 million tweets on Sunday.
For context, the rant was inspired by the Justice Department’s recent decision to drop charges against Trump’s ex-national security advisor, Michael Flynn. Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador about sanctions over election interference.
In a recording obtained from Yahoo News, former President Barack Obama commented on the Justice Department’s decision stating that the “rule of law was at risk”. In separate comments, Obama also said that the current administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak was “an absolute chaotic disaster”.
These comments seemed to be the spark that lit the fire. Trump took to Twitter to call out Obama for supposedly committing a crime – although, he wasn’t clear as to what the crime was.
His rant seemed to revolve around the conspiracy theory that Obama was responsible for undermining his’s presidency via Russian interference.
But the claims lack any weight. A fact-check from the Associated Press states that, “It is true that the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, and into Russia in particular, began during the Obama administration. But it continued well into Trump’s own administration. The investigation into Flynn was taken over by a special counsel who was appointed by Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s own deputy attorney general.”
In a coronavirus briefing on Monday, a reporter asked President Trump about the Twitter storm to which he responded, “Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened.”
When asked exactly what crime Obama was responsible for, Trump replied, “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”
The confusing tirade barely mentioned the coronavirus outbreak which saw the country approaching 80,000 deaths this weekend.
A One-Sided Rivalry
Trump’s long-standing obsession with Obama dates to before he stepped into the Presidential office. Many will remember Trump’s ‘birther conspiracy theory’ in which he alleged that Obama was not born in the US and thus isn’t eligible to become president.
Since Trump’s own term as President, several Obama-era policies have been rolled back including Obamacare and strategies aimed at curbing climate change. Yet Obama continues to make a regular appearance in Trump’s tirades. The one-sided rivalry is almost comical at times, but in the context of 2020 Presidential elections, many believe that Trump is hoping to make it about his predecessor instead of opposition Joe Biden.
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said, “When this election happens it’s not gonna be Biden against Trump. It’s gonna be Obama against Trump.”
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