President Donald Trump criticized Chelsea Manning on Thursday for referring to former President Barack Obama as a “weak leader.”
“Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader,” Trump tweeted. “Terrible!”
Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
Before leaving office earlier this month, Obama commuted the former Army intelligence analyst’s 35-year prison sentence for leaking U.S. military logs and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks in 2010. Contrary to Trump’s tweet, Manning has yet to be released; she is due to be freed on May 17.
The incoming Trump administration said Obama’s decision “sends a very troubling message when it comes to the handling of classified information and [the] consequences to those who leak information that threatens the safety of our nation.”
Obama defended the move, saying that Manning had taken “responsibility” for her crime — and the sentence she had received was “very disproportionate” to those given to other leakers.
“Let’s be clear, Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence,” Obama said at his final press conference as president. “So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished, I don’t think [they] would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.”
In a column published Thursday by the Guardian newspaper, Manning argued that Obama was not “bold enough” — and that some of her fellow officers openly criticized him for being “too weak, or too soft or too sympathetic.”
While Trump blasted Manning for describing Obama as “weak,” Trump did the same thing during his presidential campaign.
Last June, following the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Trump ripped what he called Obama’s “weak attitude” toward terror.
“If you think Orlando was the end of it with this weak attitude and pathetic president we have, it wasn’t, folks,” Trump said at a rally in Las Vegas.
In an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last August, Trump said Obama had been “weak” and “ineffective” as commander in chief.
“I know far more about foreign policy than he knows,” Trump said. “I think he’s one of the worst presidents, maybe the worst that we’ve ever had in the history of our country.”
Then, after declaring Obama the “founder of ISIS,” Trump blasted Obama as “so weak and so bad” at a rally in Pennsylvania.
Even before Trump launched his campaign, he often used “weak” to tweak Obama on Twitter.
The only global warming that people should be concerned with is the global warming caused by nuclear weapons because of our weak U.S. leader
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2014
Isn't it sad the way Putin is toying with Obama regarding Snowden. We look weak and pathetic. Could not happen with.a strong leader!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2013
Meanwhile, like many of Trump’s other tweets, his missive about Manning appears to have been inspired by a cable news report he may have been watching.
14 minutes apart: Fox says "ungrateful traitor," Trump says "ungrateful traitor," Fox says "weak leader," Trump says "weak leader." pic.twitter.com/f7urTOUG1L
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 26, 2017
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) January 26, 2017
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