- Since leaving office, Barack Obama has rarely spoken in public about Donald Trump.
- That isn’t to say he doesn’t want to – one of Trump’s more divisive moments moments last year reportedly made Obama furious with him.
- A new report says Obama believed Trump’s2017 Boy Scout Jamboree speech would directly harm vulnerable young boys.
- But, staying true to form, he remained quiet, and did not issue a public statement.
- Obama stirred to action by Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, though he didn’t mention him by name when criticising it.
- To an extent Obama is bound by convention, whereby former presidents do not frequently pass comment on those who follow them.
In his post-presidency life, Barack Obama has rarely spoken out about his boisterous successor.
However, one of President Trump’s most divisive moments last year reportedly prompted an angry response from the usually reserved former president.
“Who the hell wants to talk about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” Trump sarcastically asked the crowd of young boys and their families, before spending the next 40 minutes bashing the Obama administration and bragging about his election win.
Days later, the Boy Scout’s leader would issue an apology for Trump’s bizarre behaviour after parents criticised the speech and the organisation.
The spectacle is said to have irked Obama. Obama reportedly told friends that young children are the most impressionable age group, and likened them to “sponges.” He criticised Trump’s divisive rhetoric, which he said they would be quick to absorb.
Still, staying true to form, he remained quiet, and did not issue a public statement. Those who know Obama told New York Magazine that Obama rarely mentions Trump at all in private conversations and often avoids conversations that veer towards Trump’s policy.
On Obama’s absence from the political stage, former campaign manager and informal adviser Jim Messina told New York Magazine: “The important thing to think about with Obama in the context of politics is what his overall goals are,” which include respecting the peaceful transfer of power and engaging with young leaders.
“He could pick a fight with Donald Trump every day, and A) the only winner would be Donald Trump, and B) we would kind of get into this back-and-forth the Clintons have gotten themselves into: Is there too much Obama? Not enough Obama?” he added.
The 44th president recently made a public statement in the wake of Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy which has seen thousands of children separated from their parents at the US border.
On World Refugee, Obama posted a powerful political statement on Facebook, finally taking aim at the Trump administration without even mentioning Trump by name.
“If you’ve been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else. Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children,” he began.
“That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear. And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?”
“That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us, and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say ‘this isn’t who we are.’ We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes,” he wrote.
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