Donald Trump’s Attacks On Barack Obama Will Likely Backfire, Columnist Says

President Barak Obama (R) and President-elect Donald Trump smile at the White House before the inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Dietsch-Pool / Getty Images

In a Monday op-ed for The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson suggested that Donald Trump’s recent attacks on former President Barack Obama “reek of panic” and are likely to backfire.

Robinson highlighted the precarious position the Republican Party is in as they face the possibility of losing the presidency and the Senate in November. He then noted that Obama has an “unprecedented ability” to push black Americans to vote in “tidal-wave numbers.”

“I’m not going out on a limb by positing that there is a unique and enduring bond between African American voters and the first African American president,” Robinson wrote.

“When Trump yells ‘Obamagate!,’ he’s strengthening that bond, not weakening it, and motivating black voters to turn out in the fall for Obama’s loyal wingman, Biden.”

Although Robinson notes that some analysts believe Trump is playing the long game with his attacks on Obama, he remains unconvinced. Instead, Robinson says, Trump’s attacks bear a closer resemblance to his tendency to “drag opponents down to his level.” Robinson pointed to the similar tactic deployed on Joe Biden by attacking his son, Hunter, which he believes was a strategy that arose from the president’s inability to compete with the former vice president on integrity, ideas, or performance.

Robinson also noted that Biden’s biggest challenge would be drawing in not just black voters from Obama’s coalition but other minorities, women, young people, and urbanites.

“Polls indicate that Biden is already doing just fine with these Democratic constituencies — and history suggests that bringing Obama into the race will only help Biden do better,” he said.

As reported by Business Insider, Trump is allegedly taking aim at Obama to decrease his power as a Biden campaign surrogate. This approach is reportedly aligned with his party’s attempts to create a “political storm aimed at engulfing Biden” to help the president’s chances in November as he faces criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. According to two people involved in Trump’s reelection campaign, Obamagate, in particular, is designed to weaken both Biden and Obama, the latter of whom recently tested exceptionally well in a Republican National Committee poll of voters in 17 battleground states.

A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll revealed that the majority of Americans believe Obama would have handled the pandemic more effectively than Trump. Specifically, 52 percent of the 1,990 respondents said Obama would have performed better, while just 38 percent said Trump would have. In addition, the poll found that approval of Trump’s handling of the pandemic continues to wane, which doesn’t bode well for his reelection chances.