The 45th president and his predecessor had seemed to have put past controversies behind them. Now a series of early-morning tweets about a new Watergate have reawakened their enmity
Saturdays extraordinary attack by President Trump on his predecessor should come as little surprise in at least one respect. It proves, for anyone in any doubt, the depth of hatred between the two men: a discord that has bubbled to the surface in various bizarre ways over the past decade.
Obama endured years of Trump-led birtherism conspiracy theories claims that Obamas published birth certificate was a forgery, and that his actual birthplace was not Hawaii but Kenya. This often formed the basis of thinly veiled attacks on Obamas African heritage, at a time when Trump had no platform other than being a reality TV star.
In early 2011, Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC): Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, Ill go a step further. The people that went to school with him never saw him; they dont know who he is. Crazy.
Then came the now-notorious 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, in which Obama joined comedian Seth Meyers in publicly humiliating the thin-skinned future president. Obama joked that he was glad Trump had rejected the birther conspiracy so that he could get back to real issues that matter, such as did we fake the moon landing?, what really happened in Roswell?, and where are Biggie and Tupac?.
Through the 2016 campaign, the pair appeared to establish a certain cordiality. Trump praised the president at rallies an effort, perhaps, to draw attention to both mens differences with Trumps opponent, Hillary Clinton. With 53 days to go to the election, Trump called a news conference to announce he was finally rejecting birtherism although he took the opportunity to claim Clinton had started it in the first place. But with only days to go and the polls tightening, the gloves came off.
Obama told a rally in Florida that Trumps aides were trying to curb his Twitter habits. In the last two days, they had so little confidence in his self control, that they said: Were just going to take away your Twitter, Obama said to a laughing crowd. If someone tweets at three in the morning because Saturday Night Live made fun of you, you cannot handle the nuclear codes.
After the election, Obama and Trump were cordial, if only publicly, and perhaps in Obamas case only in a bid to preserve his legacy on climate change, healthcare and foreign policy.
The former president congratulated Trump on his victory, saying his White House team would work as hard as they can to make sure this is a successful transition for the president-elect. Trump visited the White House and stayed far longer than is customary. But by late December, the relationship had broken down again.
Obama told former aide David Axelrod that he could have beaten Trump. If I had run again and articulated it, I think I couldve mobilised a majority of the American people to rally behind it, he said. Trump shot back: Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, Isis, OCare, etc.