Of the many things that came up in the presidential campaign was that Republican Donald Trump was not presidential in what he said and did. Trump said he could be presidential during the campaign after he was elected. Now it’s time to prove it.
Even if you didn’t like much of anything about President Barack Obama, he was presidential for the most part. After Trump was elected, President Obama was asked a number of times by the media about Trump and what he said, and so on, and his replies were always presidential. He was kind in his references to Trump and was a gentleman. His criticisms were mild.
President Obama continued in the mold of other former presidents who, if they did criticize their successor, waited some time before doing so. There is such a thing as an unofficial President’s Club, composed of past presidents of the United States. Obama will fit in well with that group.
From members of the Obama administration, we have heard that it may have had some failings, but it was “scandal-free.” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s right-hand staff member, a very close adviser, said Obama prides himself that his administration was “scandal-free.”
That is a myth, according to two political observers, John Fund and Hans Van Spakovsky, who wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal.
In reality, Mr. Obama has presided over some of the worst scandals of any president in recent decades,” the authors of the column wrote. They listed these:
The State Department email mess was given as the first scandal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set up a private server that was used to conduct official business, including classified material. The FBI director said that Clinton and her colleagues “were extremely careless” in handling the nation’s secrets.
The second scandal listed was Operation Fast and Furious, in which the Obama Justice Department lost track of thousands of guns it allowed to pass into the hands of suspected smugglers, in hopes of tracing them to Mexican drug cartels. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to hand over documents about the operation.
IRS Abuses were third on the list. The IRS targeted political opponents. The Justice Department refused to enforce Congress’ contempt citation against the IRS head, Lois Lerner, who refused to answer questions about her agency’s misconduct.
Then there was Benghazi, in which four Americans were killed in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. The State Department said it was not a terrorist attack but a reaction to a video. Emails from Clinton proved she knew about the attack being an act of terrorism.
Next on their list was Hacking. In their column, the two writers said Mr. Obama presided over the biggest data breach in federal government history, at the Office of Personnel Management. Hacked were the personnel files of millions of federal employees.
Veterans affairs was on the scandal list. At least 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments at a Phoenix VA facility. It was disclosed that more than a thousand veterans were forced to wait months for appointments. Obama admitted what happened was scandalous.
“All of these scandals were accompanied by a lack of transparency so severe that 47 of Mr. Obama’s 73 inspectors general signed an open letter in 2014 decrying the administration’s stonewalling of their investigation,” Fund and Spakovsky wrote. They added that Obama’s penchant for secrecy was his habit of breaking rules and keeping some matters from Congress such as the prisoner swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and the Taliban, and the transfer of cash to Iran as part of a hostage-release deal.
The writers summed it up by saying: “The media’s failure to cover the Obama administration critically has been a scandal in itself — but the president at least can’t be blamed for that one.”
There’s probably more to uncover. Don’t buy the statement that Obama had a scandal-free administration. That is a myth.