Remember when Barack Obama, as sitting president, said Donald J. Trump was “unfit to serve” as his successor?
Obama had made some rather unprecedented statements and committed erratic behavior, but this was memorable. He said it in August of 2016 – almost two months before the election.
But that’s not all he said at that time.
It’s important to read the actual words he uttered then and measure their implications carefully.
- He said Trump would not abide by “norms and rules and common sense.”
- He questioned whether he would “observe basic decency” should he reach the Oval Office.
- He said he would have been disappointed to lose the elections of 2008 and 2012, but never doubted whether his rivals in those elections, John McCain and Mitt Romney, could function as president or had the knowledge to make government work. “That’s not the situation here,” he added.
- He added that Trump didn’t have “the judgment, the temperament, the understanding, to occupy the most powerful position in the world.”
- He said his would-be successor was “woefully unprepared to do this job.”
- Obama said Trump lacked knowledge about Europe, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.
It’s clear Obama has no use for Donald Trump. But that’s not really the point here and now.
The question this harsh, unprecedented attack by a sitting president on a major-party nominee to succeed him raises should be obvious: What happens if Donald Trump were to win the election in November of that year?
At the time he said it, I was worried that Obama was not going to carry out the peaceful transition of office Jan. 20, 2017.
Given what Obama had said about Trump, would he not have an obligation to prevent Trump from assuming office? And what would that mean to the peaceful process of transition of power America had enjoyed for more than two centuries?
These are questions Americans had never before been confronted with in American history.
Should we not have been concerned about what Obama might do?
Should he not have been asked pointedly about the implications of his stunning statements?
Should a sitting president not express exactly what his intentions are beforehand rather than to leave any doubt in the minds of the people?
Or should he have equivocated and said he was just expressing his own opinion as a strong preference for Hillary Clinton?
I still would have asked the question, as I did then: “Mr. President, if Donald Trump wins the election to become the next president of the United States, will you willingly and peacefully leave office and cooperate fully with the transition of power the way all of your predecessors in the White House have done in the past?”
It’s a simple question that needed to be asked and answered – given Obama’s highly inflammatory rhetoric then and the illegal spying activities he conducted shortly thereafter and during Trump’s entire term, not to mention his party’s harassment of the 45th president that has carried on since his successor vacated office.
It’s clear now what Obama was saying – and why.
Despite Trump’s very successful record as president, and his overwhelming popularity heading into the 2020 election, that election was stolen – by Obama and his vice president and his party.
But Obama did tell us what he would do – in advance!
And he has proven himself guilty by his own words, uttered nearly six years ago.
The Democratic Party, with its aberrant behavior, its illegal activities, its demonstrable betrayal of the Constitution over the last several years, has revealed its wholly unworthy character to continue to be entrusted with being one of two major parties going forward.
There must be a reckoning. I think the timing points to January – after the midterms and accountability for their abysmal record – not just for the last two years, but for the last 20 or more.
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