Donald Trump accused President Barack Obama of hobbling the transition to the Republican’s administration with unspecified “inflammatory” statements and “roadblocks,” as tensions between the two men spilled into the open less than a month before Inauguration Day.
“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” the president-elect tweeted on Wednesday. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”
Trump’s Twitter eruption was the culmination of a growing set of grievances topped by Obama’s decision last week to have the U.S. abstain from a vote on a United Nations Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal. The move allowed the measure to pass, infuriating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump has promised to be friendlier to the U.S. ally, a theme he emphasized Wednesday on Twitter.
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” Trump tweeted. “The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.!) Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”
His tweets came hours before Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, described in a speech his vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Netanyahu has said the U.N. resolution reduced the prospects for an agreement, while Trump announced earlier this month he would nominate his friend and bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman – an ardent supporter of Israeli settlements – as his ambassador to the country.
Other recent moves by Obama are also emerging as challenges to the incoming administration.
Last week, the president announced that more than 100 million acres of the U.S. Arctic and undersea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean would be protected from new offshore oil and gas drilling. He has encouraged Americans to enroll in Obamacare before the Jan. 31 deadline for 2017 sign-ups despite Trump’s vow to repeal the law, and the Environmental Protection Agency is moving rapidly to finalize mileage requirements for automakers months earlier than expected.
Obama has also needled Trump in recent public statements. In an interview published by CNN on Monday, the president said that he would have beaten Trump had he run for a third term. In a speech in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Tuesday commemorating the 1941 Japanese surprise attack that ushered the U.S. into World War II, Obama cautioned against “tribalism” and “the urge to demonize those who are different,” without mentioning the president-elect.
During the past 24 hours, Trump has been busy on Twitter, a medium that has become his favorite channel to communicate with the public. He tweeted on Tuesday about his election win, after Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the memorial to the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor, and just before their speeches.
“President Obama campaigned hard (and personally) in the very important swing states, and lost,” Trump wrote. “The voters wanted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Later, he appeared to try to create his own version of the “Thanks, Obama” meme that the president’s supporters and opponents have used in commentary on his record.
“The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index for December surged nearly four points to 113.7, THE HIGHEST LEVEL IN MORE THAN 15 YEARS! Thanks Donald!” Trump tweeted.
Years of insults between the two men predated Trump’s run for the White House. Yet the real estate developer met with Obama shortly after the election and praised his character while promising to retain some initiatives, including parts of Obama’s signature health care law.
Both men have said they’ve spoken by phone more than once after that meeting. But their relations, at least in public, appear to have broken down.
In response to Obama’s claim that he would have won a race between the two, Trump tweeted on Monday: “I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.”
Obama most admired, but Trump is closing fast
President Barack Obama will hand over his title to President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20, but Obama will hold onto another crown for the next year: most admired man in America.
Obama earned the distinction for the ninth consecutive time in Gallup’s annual survey. Gallup has been conducing the poll since 1946.
Trump finished second with 15 percent of the vote, seven percentage points behind Obama, who first won the title as president-elect in 2008 and has held it through his two terms as president. It is Obama’s closest margin of victory.