Obama lacked class in speaking ill of Trump

In 2016, Americans rejected the failed policies of then-President Barack Obama by electing President Donald Trump.

Obama wasn’t on the ballot, but Hillary Clinton was, and she openly supported many of his policies and pledged to continue many of them, if elected. She was defeated, an indication that Americans wanted a change of direction for our country.

Many of us hoped Obama would just ride off into the sunset, perhaps write a book about his time as president and enjoy being a private citizen again. After all, most presidents have done this for decades and decades. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush did this gracefully, fading off into the sunset, actually enjoying being private citizens and showing class by not speaking ill of their successors at times when they may have been tempted to do so.

They, like other presidents who haven’t spoken ill of their successors, should be commended for doing so. These ex-presidents actually respect the lengthy unspoken tradition of not speaking ill of their successors. The same cannot be said about Obama, who had always said he intended to follow the example set by former President George W. Bush. On several occasions now, because of his huge ego and tactless character, Obama has pounced on Trump, and in doing so broke this unspoken tradition.

Last week, Obama told an auditorium of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that Trump is a “threat to our democracy” and a demagogue practicing the “politics of fear and resentment.”

Sometimes by name, sometimes by inference, he accused Trump of cozying up to Russia, emboldening white supremacists and polarizing the nation.

Obama’s speech was one of a threat to our democracy and one of demagoguery. He used scare tactics and rabble rousing in his speech. Saying that Trump emboldens white supremacists, a claim that is not founded in fact, is using words to further divide us as a country and is quite hypocritical, considering Obama often played on race in many of his speeches before he became president and after. It was also interesting to hear him say that he, not Trump, was responsible for the low unemployment rates our country now enjoys. Of course, his remarks were untrue, as Trump’s policies are the primary reason unemployment is so low.

Not only that, but manufacturing jobs are now growing at a healthy rate. The gross domestic product was at a 4.2 percent for the most recent reporting period and consumer and small business confidence is through the roof.

Jim Manley, a longtime Senate Democratic aide, took issue with Obama going after Trump.

“I understand the idea that Democrats want to get the former president on the campaign trail as much as possible,” Manley said, “but I’m not so sure that makes sense strategically because Trump would love nothing more than to use Obama as a punching bag.”

Manley’s right on target. Clinton lost for many reasons, and Obama was one of them. The more he gets out there and talks ill of Trump, the more it benefits Trump and the Republican Party.

At the end of the day, Mr. Obama should have stuck to tradition and not spoken ill of his successor. But we must consider the source, as this is the same president who blamed George W. Bush for eight years for a great many problems the country faced. Bush showed pure class and stayed quiet as he respected the unspoken tradition, unlike Obama.

Mr. Obama, you are not our president anymore. You broke with tradition by going against your own words of not speaking ill of your successor and that reflects your true lack of class and character.

The Daily News of Bowling Green