“I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut,” McConnell said in a live-stream event of the Trump campaign about the ex-president’s criticism of how President Donald Trump handled the coronavirus pandemic. “I think it’s a little classless, frankly, to criticize an administration that comes after you. You’ve had your shot. You’ve been there for eight years. I think about the tradition established by the Bushes – not to criticize the president who comes next. about you – it’s a good tradition. “
Look. There are a lot of problems with what McConnell is saying. Analyze them.
First of all – and above all – given that we are on the subject of political traditions, it has been a tradition for a long time that the current president does not personally attack the person who preceded him.
Of course, Obama talked about how he inherited a tough economy from George W. Bush. But he did not personally follow Bush in any way, form or form.
Counter it with the way Trump talked about Obama. To begin with, Trump is currently in the middle of accusing the former president of leading a large-scale conspiracy
aimed to bring down the Trump presidency before it even began. Your evidence for that request? Not so much! Trump also suggested that Obama left him no plans on how to deal with potential pandemics – a statement that McConnell repeated on Monday and, furthermore, it’s not true
. Trump saved Obama as weak, ineffective, corrupt.
Second, Obama made these comments – he said that Trump’s response to the pandemic was “an absolute chaotic disaster” – not in public but in a private call with former members of his staff and administration.
Yes, of course, Obama was aware that his comments could come out. But it’s still an important distinction. As a former president, he could easily have sat down for an interview with any network that wanted to offer a stinging critique of how Trump is handling the coronavirus crisis. Hell, he could have even faced the fact that the current president is accusing him of organizing an illegal coup! Obama has done none of this. By the way, he expressed his candid views on Trump’s management of coronavirus – a view more or less shared by the majority of Americans in the new CNN poll, among other things – with friends and staff.
Third, McConnell, who has been in politics for a long time, should know better than to tell the first black president to keep his mouth shut. Even though McConnell meant nothing, he is not looking good.
In principle, what McConnell has been doing here is what Trump and his party have been doing for the past three and more years: breaking all presidential joy with joy, while asking for political opponents to adhere to those same rules. I’ve lost count the number of times that Trump expresses fake shocks to the language used by one of his rivals even while he curses and challenges them without thinking twice. Or ask someone to be fired for making a mistake or submitting an incorrect complaint even if he has accumulated literally thousands of inaccuracies and falsehoods during his tenure
In short: what Trump, McConnell and the rest of the GOP want is for the Democrats to stick to the long-established rules, even if the President chivalrously breaks those same rules. It’s like playing a basketball game and requiring the referees to call only fouls on one side – and therefore insisting that this is the only right way to get things done.
Everything is alright. You can not throw mud and then get angry when a little is thrown at you again. McConnell, of all people, knows this. Or at least it should.