On Sunday, the day before the death count for the pandemic passed 80,000 in the United States, President Trump had a prolific day online, posting 126 tweets or retweets as part of his Mother’s Day celebration. Several of the missives treated a new political project of his: Obamagate. Or, as he styled it:
In later tweets, he clarified that the term was just a rebranding of his festering complaints over the Justice Department’s probing of incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn during the transition between the Obama and Trump administrations. Though Senate Republicans aren’t biting on a push to investigate the last Democratic president, the phrase may be part of an effort to make the 2020 election more of a referendum on Trump’s predecessor rather than a campaign against his actual political opponent. “When this election happens,” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said on Monday morning, “it’s not gonna be Biden against Trump. It’s gonna be Obama against Trump.”
With the phrase floating around on Monday, the Washington Post’s Philip Rucker asked President Trump to define it at the White House coronavirus press conference:
Rucker: In one of your Mother’s Day tweets, you appeared to accuse President Obama of “the biggest political crime in American history, by far” — those were your words. What crime exactly are you accusing President Obama of committing, and do you believe the Justice Department should prosecute him?
Trump: Obamagate. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s been going on from before I even got elected, and it’s a disgrace that it happened, and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all this information that’s being released — and from what I understand, that’s only the beginning — some terrible things happened, and it should never be allowed to happen in our country again. And you’ll be seeing what’s going on over the next, over the coming weeks but I, and I wish you’d write honestly about it but unfortunately you choose not to do so.
Rucker: What is the crime, exactly, that you’re accusing him of?
Trump: You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.
The president provided his clarification standing next to a banner that claimed “America Leads the World in Testing” — a Mission Accomplished–quality placard that ignores that Denmark, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada lead the U.S. in testing rates.