Minority Whip: Setting Obama’s record straight

We’ve had our time to sing the praises of Barack Obama. It’s time to set his record straight.


Wolfgang Frick

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When President Barack Obama left the oval office for the final time three years ago, it was expected that he would follow the tradition set by former presidents and recede into private life. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961, he started a tradition of silence regarding his successor’s actions that would last for nearly sixty years. Obama, however, has not been so silent. He seems to take any chance he can get to make veiled attacks on the Trump administration and continues to weigh in on current issues.

President Obama has some license to do this. He used the bully pulpit to his advantage more effectively than any president in the last fifty years, and the polling data defends this. According to data from Pew Research Center last year, 31 percent of all Americans rated Obama as the best president of their lifetimes, including nearly half of all millennials. President Obama was the most popular president in modern history by far.

But the extreme, unprecedented popularity President Obama enjoys has whitewashed his true record. After the media breaks every major Trump scandal, they harken back to the scandal-free years of President Obama. In reality, President Obama’s eight years in power were riddled with scandals, some of which were far more dangerous than that time everyone freaked out over his 2014 tan suit incident (look it up, that is indeed a thing that occurred).

Paul Lewis, Obama’s envoy for Gitmo closure, confirmed in a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016 that Americans have been killed by former detainees.”

Obama’s history of scandal began before he was even elected. In 2007, during his first presidential campaign, he vowed to close the federal terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, known as Gitmo. He held true to this promise two days after he was inaugurated, issuing an executive order directing Congress to close the facility within one year. But when Congress refused to act as he wished, he instead decided to purge the facility of its terrorist inmates, a policy which continued well into his second term. As a result of this purge, Paul Lewis, Obama’s envoy for Gitmo closure, confirmed in a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016 that Americans have been killed by former detainees.

Then in 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) began a series of sting operations in which licensed gun manufacturers sold firearms to illegal buyers in hopes that they could track the guns to high-profile Mexican drug cartel leaders. ATF said absolutely nothing to the Mexican government, who discovered that some of the weapons sold under ATF’s watch were involved in the deaths of hundreds of Mexican civilians at the hands of cartel members.

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In response, the Obama administration began a full-scale cover-up. Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress after the Department of Justice refused to release files relating to the scandal. Then, at Holder’s request, President Obama invoked executive privilege over the documents in an attempt to ensure that nobody else could see them. Though a federal court declared the documents were not eligible for a declaration of executive privilege, we have yet to see them.

Of course, these examples are only a fraction of Obama’s legacy. He also weaponized the IRS against conservatives and Tea Party activists, allowed the FBI to illegally spy on an ex-Trump campaign official throughout 2016, spent so much money that three of his annual deficits broke records, presided over the worst recession recovery in the history of the United States and increased government spying on innocent civilians by 64 percent during his first term according to the ACLU. Yet if you ask anyone alive during the Obama years if they remember any scandals, they’ll be unable to cite any of those examples. Obama’s legacy of wholesome good has already been covered extensively by the media. This side, however, has not.