'Scandal-free' Obama is daring Trump to bust corrupt members of his administration
Mouthing an old trope dating from his time in office and ever since, former President Obama declared at a Vegas conference that he had a scandal-free administration, quite unlike President Trump. Supposedly, it was now a joke.
According to Newsweek:
"I didn't have scandals, which seems like it shouldn't be something you brag about," Obama joked.
President Donald Trump's presidency has thus far been racked with scandalous allegations, but Obama later hedged his barb. "But actually," he said, "if you look at the history of the modern presidency, coming out of the modern presidency without anybody going to jail is really good. It's a big deal."
I don't see anything to joke about with that phony claim, given that he's mouthed it quite a few times before, and not as a joke. What's more, he made that mendacious claim just as he was being paid big dollars at the Las Vegas conference itself, which, as most Americans know, is typically a disguised bribe for some favors performed earlier and in itself a scandal. His fees are reportedly $400,000, which is nice money for a few minutes of speaking work.
Saying his administration was scandal-free is something he says every few weeks, it seems – he said it in March, here; and in February, here; in January, here; and in quite a few other instances, such as shortly after President Trump was elected, here. Even the Washington Post's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, declines to give Obama a pass on that one, citing differences in point of view.
But more to the point, his claim isn't even true: it was rife with crony business deals, described here. There were major policy scandals, such as the subordination of embassy security abroad to the need to shill a "narrative" about al-Qaeda being on the run in time for elections, as happened in Benghazi. There was the monstrous Solyndra green energy scandal where business cronies left taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars and made out like bandits themselves. There was the gunrunning scandal of Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to move into the hands of Mexican cartels, leading to the death of a U.S. border agent. Nobody was punished, of course. There was the scandal of the emails at the Environmental Protection Agency, where officials illegally used pseudonyms to evade Freedom of Information Act laws and got away with it. There was Hillary Clinton's illegal private server, set up to evade laws the same way, which created a vast opening for foreign hackers and espionage of top secrets, with Obama willingly participating in the communications. There was the IRS targeting of political dissidents and the lies to cover it up – again, completely unpunished. There were the "lost" emails – of the FBI, of the IRS, and Hillary Clinton herself while she was at the Department of State. There were the smashing of BlackBerries with hammers – again, to evade transparency laws and lawmen, too. There was Clinton's pay-to-play foundation-State Department nexus, corruption of the highest variety, and an investigation squelched due to Obama's politicization of the FBI. There was Obama's politicization of intelligence reports to say what he wanted on the war front, as well as his weaponization of the intelligence agencies to spy on political opponents and reporters. It turns out some of his people did go to jail, or were headed there for leaks – and he pardoned them to keep them out – such as his "favorite" general here.
But according to Obama, the fact that no one was ever punished is the actual justification for his claim that he never had scandals. The fact that no one was ever punished is perhaps the biggest scandal of his administration.
What we are seeing here is three things.
Obama's claims always come with a subtle caveat. His administration didn't have "a scandal that embarrassed us," or they didn't have "a major scandal." But, my favorite nuance from his super-secret appearance in Boston was when he said, "Generally speaking, you didn't hear about a lot of drama inside our White House." He's right about that point. As I document in my forthcoming book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, there were over two dozen scandals over the course of Obama's presidency, and they were all downplayed or ignored by the mainstream media.
Two, Obama claims he had no scandals because he allowed no consequences, no matter what anyone ever did, no matter what laws they broke, which is not an argument to claim he had no scandals. In fact, as a leftist, he tended to let all kinds of miscreants and plagues on society off scot-free, starting with Bradley Manning and moving on to all the criminals he let out via pardons, at least some of whom have resumed their lives of crime. It was quite a pattern with him and signaled an inclination toward lawlessness, which only grew as his administration continued.
Three, Obama had a pliant press covering up for him, as the Washington Times notes in an op-ed about the latest garbage from him, headlined "Not so fast Obama, your biggest scandal is unfolding before our eyes."
Yet, to paraphrase the immortal words of Chelsea Clinton, he persists.
Why does he keep claiming he had no scandals? It's obvious that his administration had scandals. He seems to think that by repeating a lie over and over again, he can eventually make it true, in an echo of the Nazi and Stalinist wisdom. He's all about "narratives," after all.
But in laying down the marker that scandals are only scandals if someone goes to jail – and he, in his Chicago-style governance, always kept his lawbreaking friends out of jail and seems to be proud of it – he also lays a trap for himself.
How does President Trump smack this liar down and shut down his lies?
By launching prosecutions of his top miscreants, something Obama is convinced will never happen, making his claims a sort of dare.
Apparently, he doesn't know Trump very well, because Trump is the kind of guy who might just do it.
With the stream of lies about a scandal-free administration, the path is now clear that it's time to clean house on the continuous lawbreaking of Obama officials that hasn't been punished a whit. It's time to create consequences for those who thumb their nose at the law, justified only by a compliant press and their own left-wingery. Obama just gave President Trump the green light.