U.S. President Barack Obama speaks while meeting with President-elect Donald Trump following a meeting in the Oval Office Nov. 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Trump’s Obama obsession isn’t doing the White House any favors

Updated
In one of the morning’s stranger developments, the president of the United States spent some time this morning live-tweeting an episode of Fox News’ conservative morning show, “Fox & Friends.” And while I didn’t see the show, the hosts apparently focused a fair amount of attention on former President Obama – because several of Donald Trump’s online missives were directed at his predecessor.

Kicking things off this morning, Trump declared, based on something he saw on Fox, “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!”

To the extent that reality still has any meaning, Trump has no idea what he’s talking about. As the president should at least try to understand, of the 122 prisoners in question, 113 were released by the Bush/Cheney administration, not Obama. This was documented quite clearly by officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who wrote a report that was only a page-and-a-half long – brief enough for even Trump to read.

But he didn’t want to read it. Trump instead relied, once again, on conservative media instead of officials in his own executive branch. This happens with alarming frequency.

But looking past the president’s unwillingness to read brief reports on national security, we also see evidence that Trump remains preoccupied with Barack Obama. Politico yesterday referred to it as an “obsession.”
Donald Trump just can’t quit Barack Obama.

From entering politics as the chief promoter of the birtherism conspiracy — complete with claims of mysterious calls coming in to him with new information to detectives he claimed he sent to Hawaii but were never heard from again — to waking up Saturday morning tweeting, “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones,” Obama’s always there for Trump.
Soon after taking office, Trump said of his predecessor, “I was tough on him, he was tough on me, and I like him, he likes me. I think he likes me. I mean, you’re going to have to ask him, but I think he likes me.” Trump added, “I don’t know if he’ll admit this, but he likes me.”

These are the words of someone with a preoccupation. The Washington Post reported yesterday on comparisons with Obama “gnawing at” Trump.

That doesn’t come as a surprise. Since Inauguration Day, Trump hasn’t just talked about how much he thinks Obama likes him, the president has also blamed Obama for protests, blamed Obama for executive-branch leaks, and accused Obama of tapping his phone.

Trump’s interest in Obama has never been altogether healthy. After all, Trump’s pre-election claim to political fame was championing a racist conspiracy theory about the Democratic president. During the election season, Trump tried to convince voters that Obama was “the founder of ISIS.”

And now, based on the president’s ongoing whining, it seems Obama has taken up residence in Trump’s head.

At a certain level, I can understand the fixation. Obama was a successful, popular president, whose stature appears even greater when compared to his successor. But if Trump is looking for a constructive foil, he should probably look elsewhere.

Barack Obama and Donald Trump

Trump's Obama obsession isn't doing the White House any favors

Updated