GOP congressman sees 'shadow government' conspiracy involving Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama walks the Colonnade toward the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on election day, Nov. 8, 2016. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
U.S. President Barack Obama walks the Colonnade toward the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on election day, Nov. 8, 2016. 
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) has a habit of saying some pretty silly things. After the Obama administration decided to treat contraception access as preventive health care, the Pennsylvania Republican said the move was comparable to 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor.Last weekend, Kelly spoke at a local GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in his home state, where the congressman found a new way to complain about the former Democratic president.

"President Obama himself said he was going to stay in Washington until his daughter graduated. I think we ought to pitch in to let him go someplace else, because he is only there for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to run a shadow government that is going to totally upset the new agenda. It just doesn't make sense."And people sit back and they say to me, 'My gosh, why can't you guys get this done?' I say, 'We've got a new CEO, we've got some new heads in the different departments, but the same people are there, and they don't believe that the new owners or the new managers should be running the ship.'"

As Republican conspiracy theories go, this is quite odd, but the story became even stranger when Kelly tried to explain what he meant.The Washington Post noted, for example, the congressman's first attempt at a clarification.

Reached by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kelly's office insisted the comments were supposed to be private and that he was merely reflecting Republicans' frustration with the deep state. "Rep. Kelly delivered his remarks at a private meeting to an audience of fellow Republicans. He was sharing the frustration of everyone in the room over how they believe certain Obama administration holdovers within the federal bureaucracy are attempting to upset President Trump's agenda."So apparently offering conspiracy theories about former presidents running "shadow governments" is okay if it's done behind closed doors and in the company of like-minded people.

Perhaps realizing that this isn't much of an answer, Kelly's office told the Associated Press that the GOP lawmaker, despite what he said, "does not believe that President Obama is personally operating a shadow government."Kelly added, however, that he wants Obama to intervene and take steps to end leaks from within the Trump administration -- as if the former president is somehow responsible for assorted officials, including some from within Trump's own White House, dishing to journalists.At least didn't compare the leaks to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.