At a campaign event in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago, Barack Obama took a moment to reflect on what Donald Trump and his team promised the nation two years ago, and compare that to what the Republican administration has delivered.
"They promised to take on corruption. Remember that?" the former president said. "They have gone to Washington and just plundered away. In Washington, they have racked up enough indictments to field a football team. Nobody in my administration got indicted. So how is it that they cleaned things up?"
The rhetoric generated spirited applause, so Obama has repeated this, practically word for word, at other events.
Marc Short, up until recently Donald Trump's director of legislative affairs, appeared on CNN yesterday and told co-host Alisyn Camerota that Obama's rhetoric should be seen as out of bounds.
CAMEROTA: What incendiary, toxic language is Barack Obama using?SHORT: He's talking about the rationale -- so many people in the Trump administration having indictments as never before, that this is an unusual --CAMEROTA: That's true.
Wait, joking about Team Trump's many indictments has somehow become an example of "toxic" rhetoric?
I realize that the circumstances are embarrassing for the president and his allies. Trump's former campaign chairman is now a convicted felon. So is Trump's former deputy campaign chairman. And Trump's former personal attorney. And Trump's former White House national security adviser. And one of his former campaign foreign policy advisers.
I also realize it's awfully difficult to argue with a straight face that this president is "draining the swamp" when so many people around him are currently awaiting sentencing.
But how exactly did we arrive at the point that talking about this is off-limits? According to Marc Short, Obama is drawing attention to how unusual it is for a president's team to have quite so many convicted felons, which is a bridge too far.
This is difficult to take seriously. Perhaps it's better to be bothered more by the many Trump World indictments and less by people talking about the indictments?