Rather Than Learn From Their Mistakes, Obama and His Supporters Simply Rewrite History

After the 2016 election, one would reasonably assume those who stood in opposition to Donald Trump would reassess their own actions to ask how they may have contributed to an atmosphere in which a man such as Donald Trump was able to be competitive — let alone win an election. Unfortunately, rather than attempting to learn lessons from their mistakes, certain individuals are doubling down and focusing solely on portraying the Obama legacy in the best possible light — even if that means uttering outright falsehoods.


Newsweek reported yesterday that when Barack Obama spoke at a tech conference in Las Vegas Wednesday, the former President joked, “I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something you brag about.”

This “joke” is similar to comments made in a earlier speech by Obama this year, when he spoke at a conference at MIT in February. Though that conference was off-the-record, Reason was able to obtain a recording of his remarks, in which Obama said, “We didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us.”

No matter how many times Obama and his supporters (including those in the media) say this, it will never be true.

This Twitter thread by lawyer Gabriel Malor points out just some of Obama’s domestic scandals, including the following:

  • Operation Fast and Furious,” in which agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them” but then “lost track of more than 2,000 weapons.”
  • Veterans waiting for months, sometimes dying while on waiting lists, to receive care at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals, while the VA falsely reported 93% of veterans were seen within 14 days.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting conservative groups who had applied for tax-exempt status (which some outlets even tried to defend and excuse, though Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold effectively dismantled such nonsense).

Furthermore, as Malor points out, the leaders of the organizationsand their boss, President Obama — never seemed to be aware of the scandal until it became public knowledge and, once made aware, the President and his administration then often blamed others.

According to Reason, Obama also said that “no one in my White House ever got in trouble for screwing up as long as there wasn’t malicious intent behind it” (emphasis mine). That in and of itself is a scandal. People should at least be reprimanded for mistakes! Depending on the severity of the mistake, it’s quite possible termination is also an appropriate response. When mistakes aren’t punished, it seems far more possible that those in charge are simply attempting to cover up or downplay such mistakes.

Lastly, Malor’s thread doesn’t even include Obama’s attacks on the press, such as prosecuting whistleblowers and using the Justice Department to spy on reporters and obtain their phone records.

But it’s not just Obama himself rewriting his history.

Last month, Sam Stein of The Daily Beast wondered why Obama hadn’t pardoned boxer Jack Johnson, a black boxer who was arrested in 1912 for violating the Mann Act, which forbade transporting women across state lines for “immoral purposes.” According to a former aide for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Obama didn’t pardon Johnson because he was “opposed to the pardons process becoming politicized in any way”:


Gavin Parke, a former senior leadership staffer for Reid, said that his early impression was Obama didn’t want to act on Johnson out of political discomfort. “[R]eading between the lines,” he emailed The Daily Beast, “our conjecture was that they didn’t want to engage in divisive racial issues that were largely symbolic.” But the main reason that Obama held back, Parke added, was out of a rigid dedication to preserving norms. “The Obama White House was stringently opposed to the pardons process becoming politicized in any way. They felt so strongly about that, it may have extended even to posthumous pardons.

MSNBC personality Joy Reid, who appears to have gotten off unscathed other than several weeks of bad press following the revelation of bigoted and homophobic blog postings and her nonsensical lies to cover them up, was only too happy to use this excuse:

Several conservatives on Twitter corrected this illusion:


It is entirely true President Trump does not care about our institutions, does not understand our institutions, and actively undermines our institutions. Eventually, the Republican Party will need to re-examine its decisions and actions regarding its choice in 2016.

But Democrats need to take an honest look at the Obama administration and realize that, in many ways, Obama and those in his administration also attacked our institutions and were defended by many reporters and supporters, and those actions helped to clear the way for Trump.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.


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