Former President Barack Obama took a swipe at his successor, telling an audience at a technology conference in Las Vegas this week that his eight years in office were largely free of scandals.
‘I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something to brag about,’ Obama jokingly remarked on Wednesday at the Oktane18, a three-day event hosted by the security software company Okta.
Upon further reflection, Obama concluded that emerging from the White House with one’s reputation largely intact is no small feat.
Speaker-in-chief: Former President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the Oktane18 tech conference in Las Vegas Wednesday
Obama took a swipe at Donald Trump, telling the audience: ‘I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something to brag about’
‘If you look at the history of the modern presidency, coming out of the modern presidency without anybody going to jail is really good. It’s a big deal,’ he said, according to Newsweek.
Obama noted that no one in his administration got in trouble for making a mistake, as long as there was no ‘malicious intent’ behind the slip-up.
Obama’s critics on the right and the left would most certainly disagree with his assessment of his presidency, pointing to the 2012 attack on US diplomats in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans; his failure to close the prison at Gauntanamo Bay; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ disastrous gun-tracking operation Fast and Furious, and the bungled rollout of the Affordable Care Act website, to name a few.
President Donald Trump has been plagued by a long string of scandals nearly from day one, including allegations of collusion with Russia during the election and subsequent obstruction of justice; paying $130,000 in hush money to cover up an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels; institution of a ban on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, and his handling of the violent clashes between white supremacist and anti-fascist activists in Charlottesville, where Trump said there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’
The long list of controversial decisions the Trump administration has made in the past year and a half includes withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and moving the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which led to deadly protests.
Obama joked about having to make his own coffee and fighting for closet space with wife Michelle (pictured together in February) and daughter Sasha
This week, Trump added to that list the abrupt cancellation of what would have been a historic summit with Kim Jong Un after officials in North Korea called Vice President Mike Pence a ‘political dummy.’
In his keynote address in Las Vegas, Obama shed some light on his decision-making process as president, explaining that he would often have to work with probabilities of success versus failure in any given situation, from the government bailout of American automakers during the financial crisis to the Osama bin Laden raid, reported the Las Vegas Review Journal.
‘I used to describe the nature of the presidency as having to make decisions about issues that nobody else could solve or are basically insolvable or at least not perfectly solvable,’ Obama said. ‘By definition, if a problem had an obvious solution to it, somebody else would have solved it before it got to me.’
On a lighter note, Obama, who moved with his family into a sprawling mansion in Washington DC after leaving office, joked about having to make his own coffee and fighting for closet space with wife Michelle and daughter Sasha.