Donald Trump complained often about Barack Obama spending too much time on the campaign trail and not enough time fixing America’s problems, but now the embattled president has taken a break from addressing the growing problems of his presidency — to hold his first 2020 campaign rally.
The president appeared Saturday before a boisterous crowd in Melbourne, Florida, his first major rally after taking the unusual step of filing paperwork to run for re-election in 2020 during his first month in office. Trump addressed his accomplishments in office, warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks, and once again took aim at his political opponents and the American press.
But the rally also drew criticism from opponents of Donald Trump, who noted that he often blasted Barack Obama for the time the former president spent on the campaign trail. Just last year, Trump criticized Obama for spending time stumping for Hillary Clinton rather than “creating jobs & fixing Obamacare.”
Looking at Air Force One @ MIA. Why is he campaigning instead of creating jobs & fixing Obamacare? Get back to work for the American people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2016
As Catherine Lucey of the Chicago Tribune wrote, Trump had a busy weekend of meetings and interviews for the national security adviser job left vacant after Michael Flynn’s resignation. But the story noted that Trump “turned his back on governing” to hold the campaign rally, where he revived attacks on Hillary Clinton and re-used campaign language about building a wall between the United States and Mexico
“The rally was put on by Trump’s campaign, not the White House. Trump told reporters he was holding a campaign rally because ‘life is a campaign.’
“Trump, who held a rally in the same spot in Florida in September, clearly relished being back in front of his supporters, welcoming the cheers and letting one supporter up on stage to offer praise for the president. He also enjoyed reliving his surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.”
Trump was clear about the event in Florida, calling it a rally and making it clear that it would be part of his campaign for re-election in 2020.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
Others noted that Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Florida seemed hypocritical given his constant criticism about Barack Obama’s campaigning. The criticism that Obama focused on campaigning rather than governing even became part of Donald Trump’s stump speech near the end of the 2016 campaign, the Washington Post noted.
“Why isn’t he working?,” Trump asked in September. “Why isn’t he working instead of campaigning for crooked Hillary? Why? Why? Unbelievable. Who’s paying for that big plane that comes in? I just wonder.”
“I mean, this guy’s campaigning; that’s all he likes to do is campaign,” Trump said at an Oct. 27 rally in Ohio, the report noted.
The Washington Post found 15 other instances where Trump attacked Obama for spending too much time on the campaign trail and not enough time addressing what Trump saw as pressing problems.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 19, 2017
The campaign rally in Florida is not the first time Donald Trump has gotten caught doing something he criticized Obama for, critics note. Throughout Obama’s presidency, Trump tweeted often about Obama’s “frequent” vacations and the cost to America taxpayers. But through the first month of his presidency, Trump’s travels to his Mar-A-Lago resort and his children’s visits abroad for business — with Secret Service in tow — have cost close to $10 million already, CNBC reported. The total bill for eight years of Obama vacations was $85 million, McClatchy reported.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]