Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a scathing rebuke of Barack Obama on Monday night, insisting the former president ‘should’ve kept his mouth shut’ instead of criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,’ McConnell told President Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, during a Trump campaign live stream. ‘You had your shot, you were there for eight years.’
McConnell added that he wished Obama had followed the lead of fellow presidential alum George W. Bush, who has largely avoided political debate since he departed the White House in 2008.
‘I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut. Now, we know he doesn’t like much what this administration is doing, that’s understandable,’ the Kentucky Republican continued. ‘[But] I think the tradition that the Bush’s set up – of not critiquing the president who comes after you – is a good tradition.’
The Senate Majority Leader’s comments come after Obama called Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic ‘an absolute chaotic disaster’ during a private phone call on Friday.
‘I think it’s a little bit classless, frankly, to critique an administration that comes after you,’ McConnell told President Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, during a Trump campaign live stream. ‘You had your shot, you were there for eight years’
The Senate Majority Leader’s comments come after Obama described Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as ‘an absolute chaotic disaster’ during a private phone call on Friday.
In audio from the web call with his former aides, Obama was heard saying: ‘It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty.
‘It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ … is operationalized in our government.’
Obama’s comments marked a rare departure in his custom of seldom commenting on the political policies of his predecessor. The former president has only done so on few occasions since leaving office in 2017, most recently on Twitter late last month when he said the White House appeared to lack ‘a coherent national plan’ when it came to the COVID-19 response.
President Trump, meanwhile, has fixated on Obama for years, placing him at the center of a number of unfounded conspiracy theories – ranging from Obama actually being born in Kenya, to the former president wiretapping his phone in 2017.
Trump renewed that fixation on Sunday and Monday, unleashing a series of tweets aimed at Obama that referenced alleged unspecified criminal activity.
He claimed in a retweet that ‘Obamagate makes Watergate look small time’ and that his predecessor had ‘got caught.’
But on Monday afternoon, during a press conference in the Rose Garden, he offered no definition of what he was actually alleging Obama had done.
President Trump has fixated on Obama for years, placing him at the center of a number of unfounded conspiracy theories
Trump was asked by a Washington Post reporter: ‘In one of your Mother’s Day tweets you appear to accuse President Obama of the biggest crime in American history by far – those were your words.
‘What crime exactly are you accusing President Obama of committing and do you believed the Justice Department should prosecute him?’
Trump responded ‘Obamagate,’ then added: ‘It’s being going on a long time. It’s being going on from before I even got elected and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on and if you look at now, at all this information that’s been released, and from what I understand that’s only the beginning, terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again.
‘And you’ll be seeing what going on over the next, over the coming weeks and I wish you’d write honestly about it, but unfortunately you choose not to do so.’
Notably his explanation offered no more precision on what he was alleging – or a specific crime and the reporter pressed him: ‘What is the crime exactly that you’re accusing him of?’
‘You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody,’ Trump replied.
‘All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.’
The Monday tweets were a continuation of a stream of more than 120 tweets on Sunday, many of them accusing Obama of being part of a conspiracy to bring Trump down.
Several of Trump’s tweets claimed that Obama knew the details of a call between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak in 2016 – at the center of what Trump calls the ‘Impeachment Scam.’
Flynn’s prosecution for lying to the FBI about that call was effectively dropped last week, spurring Obama to tell his alums on Friday that the U.S. ‘rule of law’ is at risk.
Monday morning salvo: Donald Trump launched a fresh tweet storm about his predecessor after tweeting repeatedly on Sunday
Trump appears to have been spurred into attacking Obama by a recording of the former president’s half-hour web call with the Obama Alumni Association leaking on Friday, during which he called Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis an ‘absolute chaotic disaster’ – and more pointedly slammed the decision to withdraw support for prosecuting Flynn as a threat to the rule of law.
In response, Trump re-tweeted Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) who said: ‘Obama’s FBI targeted President Trump and his allies before the 2016 election. Scary!’ Trump added: ‘…And we caught them and their illegal activities!’
Trump retweeted this image Sunday night, writing: ‘OBAMAGATE’
Trump followed that on Sunday and Monday morning with a string of tweets and retweets about ‘Obamagate.’
The contours of the ‘Obamagate’ claim are not entirely clear, but appear linked to Trump’s derision of those who prosecuted Flynn as ‘human scum’ last week as AG Bill Barr’s Justice Department withdrew support for his prosecution.
A federal judge will have to decide whether to clear Flynn, who has pleaded guilty under oath to lying to the FBI.
Trump appears to be suggesting that Obama in some way instructed the FBI to conceal its investigation of Flynn from the incoming administration as part of an attempt to have Trump removed from office once he was inaugurated.
He also tweeted a link to an article in The Federalist – the conservative website founded by Meghan McCain’s husband Ben Domenech – which claimed that Obama had told James Comey not to brief Trump on fears Flynn was a Russian asset even after Obama had left office.
Trump is also continuing his claim that intelligence agencies illegally surveilled him and his campaign in the run-up to the election.
That claim centers on the eavesdropping warrant the FBI obtained to monitor Carter Page, using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FSA), which allows a special court to permit spying on a U.S. citizen.
Replying to one tweet claiming that Obama ‘is the first Ex-President to ever speak against his successor,’ Trump wrote: ‘He got caught, OBAMAGATE!’
Donald Trump bashed former President Barack Obama for his response to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 after his predecessor criticized the current response to the coronavirus crisis
Trump also targeted Obama in a few other tweets and reposts for issues unrelated to pandemic responses
He touted the country beginning to end lockdowns and stay-at-home orders at the state and local levels by tweeting an image of his Los Angeles golf course, which is now reopened and accepting bookings
Page had been under surveillance before
By the time it was issued Page was a former campaign aide but a subsequent review found major shortcomings in the applications for renewal of the warrant, including that it used the Christopher Steele dossier, including the notorious ‘pee tape’ allegation, without telling the court that it had not been substantiated and parts of it had been discredited by the FBI itself.
As part of the 48-hour tweet storm, Trump was also keen to highlight how his administration had dealt with Beijing compared to Obama’s relationship with President Xi Jinping which had ‘allowed China ‘to grow to the dominant dictatorship superpower that it is.’
Trump has called Xi his friend and made him a guest at Mar-a-Lago but now claims he is tough on China.
‘We are getting great marks for the handling of the CoronaVirus pandemic, especially the very early BAN of people from China, the infectious source, entering the USA,’ Trump tweeted.
‘Compare that to the Obama/Sleepy Joe disaster known as H1N1 Swine Flu. Poor marks, bad polls – didn’t have a clue!’
About one year after Obama took office, the H1N1 pandemic hit the U.S. – and in October 2009 he declared the outbreak a national emergency.