BOSTON (CBS) – “This was an Obama disaster,” said President Trump recently of the Russian annexation of Crimea, and if that line sounded familiar, it’s with good reason – reflexive finger-pointing at his predecessor has been a common theme of Mr. Trump’s 18 months in office.
This is far from the first president to pin difficult problems on those who came before him; Barack Obama did his share of it. But does the Trump blame game square with the facts?
For instance, what about the president’s oft-repeated claim that “President Obama failed very badly with Crimea – I don’t think [Putin] would have done that if I were president?”
The Russian aggression in 2014 was a touchy situation, and both Obama and the Republicans settled for economic sanctions in response. It’s hard to believe given Mr. Trump’s affinity for Putin and avowed reluctance to go to war with Russia that he would have done much more.
And what of Mr. Trump’s recent claim that in a tweet that “President Obama thought that Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI about Russian meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did nothing about it?”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning website Politifact examined that charge and found it “mostly false” because Mr. Obama did confront Putin in person and publicly chastised the Russians for their meddling before the vote, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats afterwards.
And a third one: Mr. Trump’s response to the furor over children being torn from their illegal-immigrant parents as part of a border crackdown. “I hate the children being taken away,” he said. “The Democrats have to change the law, that’s their law.”
This effort to blame others for the family-separation fiasco his own administration cooked up didn’t impress fact-checkers who noted previous crackdowns under Obama and George W. Bush did not take kids away from their parents. And the Trump White House quickly dropped the pretense that their hands were tied, terminating the controversial policy.