Donald Trump doesn’t seem the forgiving type, so it’s no surprise he hasn’t let Barack Obama’s comments yesterday stand. Obama said Trump was ‘unfit’ to be President – so what did the Republican candidate have to say in response? He answered in the only way he knows how, by flinging mud back at the person who called him out. Here’s what he said:
‘Well he’s a terrible President, he’ll probably go down as the worst President in the history of our country. He’s been a total disaster, you look at what’s happened to the Middle East, what’s happened to Syria and his ‘line in the sand’.’
It’s unlikely Obama will go down as America’s worst President. But if we measure the achievements of Obama’s actual Presidency against the hopes and aspirations that greeted his inauguration, it’s difficult not to see the yawning gulf between expectation and reality. Obama promised not a divided America, but ‘one America’; instead, a poll last week showed that nearly a third of Americans (29 per cent) think the country is heading in the wrong direction. Trump might be exaggerating about how bad Obama has been, but he’ll still find many willing supporters who nod on in agreement at his response. As Richard Epstein, Obama’s former colleague at Chicago law school put it ‘the sad truth is that the United States today is weaker economically, more divided socially, and more disrespected across the globe than it was before Obama took office’.
What’s also interesting about Trump’s reply is his use of Obama’s criticism about Trump’s knowledge of foreign policy against him. Yesterday, Obama said Trump didn’t ‘appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues, in Europe, in the Middle East.’ Instead, Trump says, Obama should look at his own record before lashing out. That seems a particularly pertinent point the day after Obama’s infamous ‘red line‘ was once again crossed in Syria. The Middle East is in turmoil, and whilst it’s not entirely Obama’s fault, his refusal to intervene has not helped.
In his reply to Obama, Trump leaves the best bit to last though. After hitting out at Obama’s record, he says:
‘I think it just means he’s concerned I’m going to win’
It’s difficult not to agree with Trump; after all, if he was such a no-hoper, why would Obama bother to speak out in the first place?