President Donald Trump lashed out at former First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday during a Twitter rant that came about after she had given an impassioned speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) the night before.
During a pre-recorded video message given on the first night of the DNC, Obama promoted Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden, who served as vice president in her husband’s administration, as a “profoundly decent man.” Citing the many policy failures of Trump, particularly his inability to stem the spread of coronavirus, Obama’s descriptions of the current president were not warm, to say the least.
“Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” Obama said in her Monday night speech. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”
“It is what it is,” the former first lady added, hearkening back to words Trump himself had used to explain away the COVID-19 death count earlier this month.
On Tuesday morning, Trump hit back.
“Somebody please explain to @MichelleObama that Donald J. Trump would not be here, in the beautiful White House, if it weren’t for the job done by your husband, Barack Obama,” Trump wrote. “Biden was merely an afterthought, a good reason for that very late & unenthusiastic endorsement.”
In a second, connected tweet, Trump also made many claims suggesting he had performed the duties of his office better than his predecessor, Barack Obama, had.
“My Administration and I built the greatest economy in history, of any country, turned it off, saved millions of lives, and now am building an even greater economy than it was before,” Trump claimed.
Later on in the morning, Trump continued to launch attacks toward Obama while speaking with reporters after announcing that he would be posthumously pardoning Susan B. Anthony.
“She was over her head,” he argued, using the same words Obama had used in her speech, “and frankly, she should have made the speech live, which she didn’t do, she taped it.”
Trump added it was clear that she had taped the speech because “she had the wrong [number of coronavirus] deaths” in her video message.
He again suggested the reason he was president was because of her husband.
“I wouldn’t be in the White House, except for Barack Obama, because they did a bad job, Biden and Obama,” Trump said. “And if they did a good job I wouldn’t be here.”
However, many experts have voiced disagreement with Trump’s lavish praise of himself, particularly his ardent insistence that he “built” the economy. Much of the economic successes seen during Trump’s tenure began under former President Obama, a point that fact-checkers reiterated earlier this year when Trump wrongly described Obama’s time in office as “years of economic decay.”
Trump also didn’t “turn off” the economy as he suggested. After weeks of refusing to take the disease seriously, the president finally relented in mid-March and issued social distancing guidelines encouraging people to refrain from attending events with 10 or more individuals. But none of his guidelines issued stay-at-home orders — instead, starting on March 19 with California, states took it upon themselves to craft rules requiring nonessential workers to stay home.
Indeed, Trump was looking at ways for states to reopen as early as March 23, and wanted states to end their stay-at-home orders by Easter. By mid-April, he was calling on Americans to defy the orders and to “liberate” themselves by protesting against their governors.
Trump’s push for reopening states and the economy likely came too soon, many experts say, prompting the surge in daily coronavirus cases that have been seen across the country in recent weeks.
Although it was perhaps expected, given her statements from the night before, Trump’s attacks against the former first lady may not go over well with the American public. Michelle Obama left the White House with a 68 percent approval rating, and has been named “the most admired woman in the world” two years in a row, according to polling from Gallup.