President Donald Trump remains widely unpopular while Barack Obama continues to draw accolades. This week at a business conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, he addressed the chaos that his immediate successor had wrought while in the White House. Although he didn’t mention him by name, thanks to the situation at hand, there’s little doubt as to the wider application of his comments.
Speaking with Qualtrics International CEO Ryan Smith at the Qualtrics Experience Management Summit, Obama told the crowd or about 9,000:
‘Things like rule of law, democracy and you know, competence and facts; those things are not partisan, but they also don’t happen automatically. There has to be citizens who insist on it and participate to make sure it happens. Democracy is a garden that has to be tended.’
He added that in apparent contrast to the way the current administration unfolds, while in office, he adhered to “things like facts and reason and logic” that allowed him to be confident in the tough decisions he made as president — and which drew applause and laughter from the conference.
Just in recent days, an example of the failure of the Trump way of domestic and foreign policy made itself abundantly clear. He went to Vietnam to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in an effort to achieve denuclearization on the Korean peninsula — and the summit abruptly ended early, with Trump offering the fragile explanation that he “decided this wasn’t the right time to sign something,” although a joint signing ceremony for an apparent tentative agreement had originally been planned.
The North Koreans had demanded that the U.S. lift sanctions on the country in exchange for denuclearization, but the Trump team refused, leaving the two sides in their long entrenched positions, no matter the belligerent proclamations of world peace — or whatever — that Trump spews. He has claimed that the U.S. was hurting towards war with the North Koreans when he entered office and he turned the situation around dramatically, telling a rally crowd at one point that he “fell in love” with Kim. In reality, the Obama administration had not been laying the groundwork for a war and we’re at best right back where we started, with the North Koreans just in recent days reported to be working on re-upping their nuclear testing capabilities.
Obama has explicitly spoken before about the need for Americans to take on these challenges via engaging in the electoral process. The theme has defined his public addresses in the time following his tenure, including when he’s explicitly called out the Trump administration.
The field of Democrats aiming to take Trump on in 2020 already packs more than a dozen candidates, from high-profile figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to up-and-comers like South Bend, Indiana’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sanders and Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) have been among the most visible candidates — and in the top spots in polling, although the Senators who aren’t Sanders consistently cluster a significant distance behind him.
There are other possible future candidates too, like Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden, who’s managed polling results similar to Sanders.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot