President Barack Obama knew what he was doing when he stated during a private conference call that Donald Trump’s coronavirus response was a chaotic disaster. Obama knew that a remark that explosive would leak. He was counting on it leaking. Obama was making a point of picking a fight with Trump on purpose, at this particular point in time, for a specific reason.
If you want to know why, take a look at how Donald Trump has responded in the hours since President Obama’s remarks leaked. Thus far he’s posted a surreal tweet asserting that Obama and Joe Biden and the U.S. intelligence community all conspired to frame him in his Russia scandal, or something. Trump is nothing if not predictable in these situations, and Obama appears to have gotten the result he wanted.
The thing about Donald Trump is that it’s not that difficult to throw him off his game. He was hoping to spend the next week pushing the narrative that confessed felon Michael Flynn was somehow framed by the FBI. The average nonpartisan voter sitting at home doesn’t know what to make of a story like that. But now, because Obama has gotten inside Trump’s head by criticizing him, Trump is now spinning a bonkers conspiracy theory about how Obama framed Michael Flynn. This is the kind of absurd on its face lunacy that the average voter in the middle is going to automatically reject.
President Obama has already gotten Donald Trump to derail his own Flynn narrative. It wasn’t going to gain Trump any additional votes anyway, but now it’s quickly backfired into the kind of embarrassing drivel that could potentially cost Trump votes. In addition, because the media keeps repeating Obama’s words about Trump having screwed up the coronavirus response, the average person sitting at home is now hearing over and over again about how Trump screwed up the coronavirus response. Even if the media doesn’t want to be seen as taking sides, the mere act of reporting on Obama’s words gets the message across.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report