On ABC’s This Week President-elect Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, demanded that President Obama forget about the years of Republican birther attacks and step up to legitimize Trump’s presidency.
Transcript via ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the president-elect has stirred up quite a firestorm with his latest tweet. Was this the right fight for him to pick?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, here’s the issue — I and we look up to John Lewis and his historic contribution to civil rights.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the president-elect said he was all talk, no action.
PRIEBUS: But — let me answer — but here’s the problem, we need folks like John Lewis and others who, I think, have been champions of voter rights, to actually recognize the fact that Donald Trump was duly elected. He’s going to put his hand on the bible in five days. And I think it’s incredibly disappointing, and I think it’s irresponsible for people like himself to question the legitimacy of the next United States president. I think putting the United States down across the world is not something that a responsible person does.
And so look, I think, in fact, I think President Obama could step up. We have had a great relationship with the White House, George. We just had every cabinet person designee of ours meet with the cabinet members of the Obama administration on Friday. I’ve met numerous times with Denis McDonough, they’ve been nothing but helpful.
So, I think the administration can do a lot of good by telling folks that are on their side of the aisle, look, we may have lost the election on the Democrat side, but it’s time to come together.
Priebus was asked about birtherism, and he called it old news, “The point is not where Barack Obama was born, the point is is that we’ve got congressmen on the Democratic side of the aisle that are questioning the legitimacy of President-elect Trump who won in an electoral landslide. That’s the issue. That’s where the outrage should be, not old news, but the fact that we are preparing for the transfer of power. and we have been working with President Obama, hand in glove, and I think that they — including the president — should step up and get his people in line and tell them to grow up and accept the fact that they lost the election.”
The Republican argument is basically that when a Democrat wins the White House, it is perfectly fine for them to spend eight years floating baseless conspiracy theory, but when a Republican wins the White House under circumstances that raised questions with 17 intelligence agencies, the country must rally around Trump.
Obama’s response to the GOP calls for him to legitimize the current president-elect should be a firm middle finger raised highly in the air. Republicans created this mess by using racism and delegitimization as political tactics. Trump created his own problem by fighting with the US intelligence community while cozying up with Putin.
If Trump wants legitimacy, he can earn it by coming clean on Russia. The outgoing and popular president shouldn’t lift a finger to legitimize a man who spent years trying to ruin his presidency with a racist conspiracy.
Trump’s lack of credibility in the eyes of the nation is not Barack Obama’s problem.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association