By all measures, Donald Trump is a master of deception, but his fakery has not been very effective against former president Barack Obama, who has decided he has more important things to do than to respond to Trump’s bogus claims.
Frustrated that former president Barack Obama is not taking the bait on his made-up controversies, Trump has escalated its attacks on another member of the Obama administration, Susan Rice, creating a virtually unprecedented situation in which the current and former U.S. executive branches are openly fighting. Now that’s a way to distract from the Russia investigation.
President Trump on Wednesday told The New Yor Times that Obama-era national security adviser Susan Rice might have committed a crime by requesting the identities of Trump associates who were incidentally swept up in surveillance, though he cited no evidence to back up his claim.
“I think it’s going to be the biggest story,” Trump told the paper. “It’s such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time.”
Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser under former President Barack Obama and Rice, quickly fired back, stating that attacking Rice “for doing what countless officials of both parties have done is authoritarianism.”
“Media shouldn’t enable this garbage,” he added.
Trump and his staff have made it clear that they think Obama administration officials have been complicit in widespread leaks of damaging intelligence about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible links between Moscow and Trump’s associates.
And the fighting goes far beyond Rice and Russia.
On Tuesday, Trump blamed Obama for a deadly chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of civilians and left hundreds hospitalized. The statement appeared to put more blame on the previous administration than on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Trump in early March accused Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, a claim that has been repeatedly debunked and that the White House has since walked back.
“I inherited a mess,” Trump said, returning to a familiar refrain Wednesday. “Whether it’s the Middle East, whether it’s North Korea, whether it’s so many other things, whether it’s in our country horrible, trade deals. I inherited a mess. We’re going to fix it.”
No, Mr. Trump. You inherited a fortune and we elected a mess.