On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump retweeted a post from January, 2011, from his predecessor, Barack Obama, and said that he “totally [agrees]” with the former president’s nearly eight-year-old tweet about tackling the illegal immigration problem “once and for all.” While the retweet ostensibly appeared to be part of Trump’s ongoing series of posts calling for support for his planned U.S.-Mexico border wall, many Twitter users reportedly saw things differently and accused the president of trolling Democrat lawmakers opposed to the project.
According to the Huffington Post, the “back history” for the trolling allegations could be traced to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was launched in 2012 as a means to help prevent thousands of individuals who were illegally brought into the United States as children from being deported. During his presidential campaign, Trump referred to DACA protections as a form of “unconstitutional executive amnesty” and, per the Los Angeles Times, made frequent threats to shut the program down on “day one” of his presidency.
While the DACA program remains in place despite the Trump administration’s attempts to end it, the president has remained steadfast on many of his immigration policies, including the so-called “zero tolerance” restrictions against illegal border crossings. And with the ongoing partial government shutdown over the president’s request for border wall funding also serving as a backdrop, the Huffington Post cited several examples of why it believes social media users saw Trump’s agreement with Obama’s old tweet as a case of trolling.
As noted, a number of users reacted by posting screenshots of Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks on Barack Obama, including a 2014 post where he asked whether it’s possible to impeach a president for “gross incompetence.” One user pointed out that he did not see the word “wall” included in Obama’s 2011 tweet about illegal immigration, adding that Trump should “tweet [his] way to jail.” Another user expressed shock upon seeing the president agree with his predecessor and offered the following comments.
“Did @realDonaldTrump just agree w/Obama? Where’s my calendar? Oh wait, I can just save this tweet for the next time he’s being hateful, but I’m sure he’ll totally deny tweeting it.”
A report from the Hill provided further context to Obama’s original tweet from 2011, which included the hashtag “#SOTU,” a reference to his 2011 State of the Union speech. This speech saw Obama asking House Democrats and Republicans to work together on immigration reforms despite the potential difficulties both parties might face and the time it would take to come up with a plausible solution.
“Tonight, let’s agree to make that effort,” Obama continued.
“And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation.”