Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is famous for all the wrong things (one being baseless conspiracy theories against him). The story unfolds as Donald Trump, in a tweet on 10th May this year, said “OBAMAGATE” (the suffix gate is a frequently used relative to the Watergate scandal that toppled President Richard Nixon in 1974). Why?

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, was fired in early 2017 for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. He even pleaded guilty to making false statements in a charge brought by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller however later on, he said that he did not lie and wanted to back out of the plea.

On 7th May 2020, when the Justice Department dropped the charges against Michael Flynn, former President Barack Obama expressed disquiet and that is when Trump claimed that Michael had initially been targeted by the Obama administration to take down Trump. This claim was, as expected, not backed by any evidence. On May 10, Trump had tweeted 126 times about Obamagate. Donald Trump has asserted that it is “the biggest political crime in American history by far!”

From Trump’s point of view, in 2016, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, former FBI Director James Comey, national security officials and bureaucrats had conspired to target Trump and a number of his main advisors by targeting and wiretapping Michael Flynn in order to frame them with crimes related to Russia. He also accuses Obama of wiretapping his political campaigns in 2016.

After certain FBI documents relating to interviews with Flynn were disclosed, Trump continually advocated that this was a conspiracy to show Flynn and his acquaintances (Trump, specifically) in bad light. One handwritten note from the FBI’s former director said: “What is our goal? Admission of truth or get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” While it is true that the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign began during the Obama administration, it continued on even when Trump had become President. A fact check done by Associated Press showed that the goal of this investigation was not to take down a president.

Post the Justice Department dropping all charges against Michael Flynn, Donald Trump has time and again asserted that this was a coup headed by Obama to take him down. He retweeted Buck Sexton’s (a right-wing podcaster) tweet which asserted that Obama used his last few weeks in office to target incoming officials and sabotage the new administration.

Critics of Donald Trump have come up with several possible reasons for Trump’s continuous focus on Obamagate. Some believe that this may help in opening up a new front against his political rivals to shore up support for his presidency and boost his re-election bid in the November elections. Some believe that Trump is trying to deflect attention from his faltering response to the pandemic as the U.S. economy suffers the worst unemployment stats since the Great Depression. Another motive is to portray Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a harsh light. They are also indicative of a longstanding obsession since Trump effectively began his political career by pushing the theory that Obama was not born in the U.S. so he should not be eligible for the presidency. He has devoted huge efforts to undoing his predecessor’s legacy, for example attempting to kill the Affordable Care Act, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate accords and slashing environmental and other regulations.

To clarify what Obamagate is all about, Phillip Rucker of the Washington Post asked the President and his answercould not have been clearer: “You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

President Donald Trump claims that Obamagate, as its essence, is an extraordinary example of leadership by distraction. Maybe that is true. There is a real leadership scandal that underlies Obamagate and it requires serious attention. Make no mistake, it isn’t what happened in 2016 with Michael Flynn, it’s what is happening in America right now. Are people being misled by politics of distraction or are they finally going to focus on finding the answers that are needed to solve the challenges of now?

 

SOURCES

  • Referred to Just the News’ article dated 29/4/2020
  • Referred to the Guardian’s article dated 12/5/2020
  • Referred to News Us’ article dated 22/5/2020

 

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