He’s baaaaaaaaa — aaaaack. It didn’t take long for former President Barack Obama to upend precedent and offer comment on the actions of his successor. In fact, it only took 243 hours, give or take a few minutes. Obama offered an oblique criticism of Donald Trump’s immigration executive order in a statement supporting “the level of engagement” over it. Obama’s spokesman added that Trump’s predecessor “fundamentally disagrees” with the EO, albeit in a form that asserts discrimination as a given:
Former Pres. Obama issues statement, says he is “heartened by the level of engagement taking place” around the U.S. https://t.co/62UmuZZTL6
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 30, 2017
In the former president’s first official statement since leaving office, spokesman Kevin Lewis said: “President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. … Citizens exercising their Constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.”
He added, “With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
It’s worth pointing out — again — that the EO only covers nationals of seven countries, six of which have significant terror-network presence that holds ground within them, and Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. There are more than 40 other Muslim-majority countries to which this EO does not apply.While the media hysteria continues to roil on this, it’s not actually that significant of a change; it will only last 90-120 days, after which we’ll go back to processing visas and refugees. Furthermore, these are countries that the Obama administration specifically cited for their higher risks of terrorism.
Then again, Obama never was one to pass up an easy line of attack, and the Trump campaign’s early promises of a “Muslim ban” gives their critics this opening, especially given the fumbling manner in which it got implemented. It’s about as mild a public rebuke as it gets, though; the existence of the statement is much more interesting than its content, which mainly consists of pablum about “engagement.” If Obama feels called to break precedent and toss himself into the media mix on this, we can probably expect a statement drop on any topic that the media takes to 11 over the next four years. It’ll soon be part of the new normal, which at the moment feels anything but.