Just two days before the end of his presidency, Barack Obama hosted a White House press conference in which he said he expected the new administration and Congress to make their own determinations about the nation's direction, and by and large, he intended to stay out of it.
Obama acknowledged at the time, however, that there might be exceptions to the rule. "There's a difference," the outgoing president explained, "between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake."
The former president evidently believed yesterday's developments warranted a break in his silence. The Associated Press reported:
Former President Barack Obama is calling President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran deal a "serious mistake" that will erode America's global credibility.Obama's administration brokered the deal. He says Tuesday that Trump's decision to withdraw is "misguided," especially because Iran has been complying.Obama also warned: "The consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America's credibility, and puts us at odds with the world's major powers."Obama says that without the deal, the U.S. "could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East."
In reference to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the international nuclear agreement with Iran, the former president concluded, "In a dangerous world, America must be able to rely in part on strong, principled diplomacy to secure our country. We have been safer in the years since we achieved the JCPOA, thanks in part to the work of our diplomats, many members of Congress, and our allies. Going forward, I hope that Americans continue to speak out in support of the kind of strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership that can best secure our country and uphold our responsibilities around the globe."
One gets the sense that Obama does not believe we're seeing strong, principled, fact-based, and unifying leadership now.
For those keeping score, this is not the first time the Democratic president has spoken out in response to one of his successor's policies. The list now includes:
* Trump's Muslim ban;
* The Republicans' health care crusade;
* and Trump rescinding DACA and threatening Dreamers' futures.
All things considered, I still think Obama's been quite restrained, giving his successor a wide berth, despite the ridiculousness of the circumstances.