WaPo's Eugene Robinson: Trump’s 'chronic case' of ‘Obama envy’ is going from bad to worse
One of the easiest ways to anger President Donald Trump is to do some type of Trump/Barack Obama comparison and assert that the former president did a better job in some area, whether it was foreign policy, managing the economy, immigration or health care reform. Trump has an obsession with Obama, often jumping through hoops to convince Americans that he has been a better president. And according to liberal Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Trump’s obsession with Obama is only getting worse.
Robinson opens his August 26 column by asking, “Is it my imagination, or is President Trump’s chronic and debilitating case of Obama Envy getting worse?” Robinson goes on to answer his own question, and the answer is an obvious “yes.”
Trump has called for Russia to be readmitted to the G7/former G8, which it was kicked out in 2014 after President Vladimir Putin sent Russian forces into Ukraine to annex Crimea. Trump has tried to turn the G7 conversation into a referendum on Obama, insisting that the former president was consistently weak when it came to U.S. policy toward Russia — and Robinson cites the G7 discussion as a prime example of how absurd Trump’s case of “Obama envy” can be.
Trump, Robinson notes, “offers no suggestion as to what Obama might have done to prevent the Russian invasion. But truth never matters much with Trump, and it matters not at all when he’s attacking Obama.”
Trump’s Obama obsession, according to Robinson, also asserts itself when the president discusses the economy. The 65-year-old columnist explains, “Trump blasts the Obama Administration’s record of creating jobs and claims to be doing much better. Yet under Obama, the unemployment rate fell from a high of nearly 10% to just 4.7%. Under Trump, it dropped further to 3.7%. Which president had the bigger impact?”
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Obama turned a blind eye to illegal immigration — another claim that Robinson finds ludicrous.
“Trump blames Obama for being soft on illegal immigration, yet he deports fewer undocumented migrants than Obama did,” Robinson observes. “And when Obama left office, undocumented border crossings were at a multi-year low. The huge increase, driven in part by asylum-seekers from Central America, has taken place under Trump.”
Trump’s Obama obsession, Robinson notes, often inspires him to cut his nose to spite his face.
“Trump is so fixated on trying to erase Obama’s accomplishments that he repeatedly acts against his own interests,” Robinson stresses. “He withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated by the Obama Administration, even though the pact would have been a valuable tool in Trump’s ongoing trade war against China. Trump has tried repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act — apparently because it’s called Obamacare — even though he offers nothing to replace it and must be aware that the health care issue helped Democrats gain control of the House.”
Trump’s anti-Obama obsession is so silly, Robinson writes, that he “even complains about the lucrative book deal Obama made after leaving the White House. Jealous much?”
Robinson concludes his column on a snarky note, pointing out that Trump fears history will judge Obama’s presidency more favorably.
“Trump seems terrified that history will look more kindly on Obama’s presidency than on his own,” Robinson asserts. “If that’s the case — on this one point — he couldn’t be more right.”