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By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump and Barack Obama (Image source: Public domain)
Former President Barack Obama has resisted saying anything negative about Donald Trump for a long time. This was the case no matter how much he was provoked by his successor. He just always took the high road. As the former first lady Michelle Obama famously said, "When they go low, we go high."
But the combination of the current state of the country as it deals with the coronavirus and Trump rolling back climate change protections was just too much for Obama. He finally spoke up against Trump on Twitter and skewered him. While he did not mention him by name, it was clear who he was referring to.
Obama has been practicing the long tradition of steering clear of criticizing his successor while staying nonpartisan. In 2018 he said he was "intent on following a wise Ameican tradition of ex-presidents gracefully exiting the political stage and making room for new voices and new ideas."
This is despite Trump never missing a chance to slam Obama. He has blamed everything on his administration, including the coronavirus threat. He has been criticizing him long before he even ran for president. For years he claimed the Obama presidency was not valid, claiming he was not a U.S. citizen. Trump demanded to see his birth certificate. Obama, not while in office but later, did eventually release his birth certificate.
Trump has been confused for several months with his response to coronavirus: first, he played it off and insisted it was a hoax, and later he admitted to how difficult the situation is but was airing on the side of economic safety rather than public safety.
This week, in the midst of the pandemic, Trump rolled back Obama-era policies for fuel efficiencies. While he's made many reversals of Obama's policies, this one seems to be the largest and defies reasoning.
"We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial," Obama tweeted. "All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall."
Obama has also addressed the nation recently from his Twitter account, suggesting the country needed to flatten the curve to slow down the pandemic. He also expressed his appreciation for health-care workers on the front lines.
Within the past couple of months, before the economy took such a dramatic fall, Obama also took credit for the economy, insisting it was the benefit of his policies. This enraged Trump who insisted he was responsible instead. He no longer wanted the credit after it fell, though.
Trump has turned around his thoughts recently. After all his denials, he wanted to open up the country again from social distancing and many lockdowns so that the country's economy could get back on track. He thought this could happen by Easter. Then he relaxed that idea in part and said maybe just parts of the country could go back to work.
With experts now believing Easter will be around the peak of the disease, Trump extended his deadline to April 30 instead of ending it.
"You can look at a date, but you've got to be very flexible and on a literally day-by-day and week-by-week basis," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert who is part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, earlier in March. "You need to evaluate the feasibility of what you're trying to do."
"I want to be positive. I don't want to be negative. I'm a positive person," he said on Tuesday.
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