President Donald Trump says president Barack Obama has ‘been very nice to me personally, but his people haven’t been nice.’
‘He’s nice personally, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of nice things happening behind the scenes. And that’s unfortunate,’ Trump told Fox News’ Jesse Watters in an interview that aired Saturday.
Two weeks ago the current president accused the former one of wiretapping him, an act he called ‘low’ and ‘sick’ in tweets.
While Trump has been insistent that he was surveiled in some way by the previous administration, his anger at Obama himself appears to have tapered off.
Watters had mentioned rioting in the street and asked Trump if he thinks Obama wants him to succeed. He also prodded the president about the so-called deep state and the possibility that Obama is ‘pulling the strings behind the scenes.’
The deep state refers to the entrenched bureaucracy within the government, career civil servants who the right-wing on Trump’s party believes are working to unseat the Republican president.
In the Fox News interview conducted on Wednesday while Trump was in Nashville, Watters asked the president about ‘the anti-Trump resistance.’
‘It’s out there in the streets. Some of its in the federal government,’ he asserted. ‘How much of it do you think is that genuine anger, and how much do you think that someone Obama [is]pulling the string from behind the scenes.’
Trump replied, ‘It might be everything, you know, there’s some anger. There’s great love on our side. I mean look at the crowds outside.’
Trump’s spokesman had been quizzed directly about the ‘deep state’ and the administration’s belief that it was working to undermine the sitting president at a White House press briefing earlier this month.
‘I think that there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office, there are people who stay in government and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration,’ Sean Spicer said.
The question was posed after the White House said that it would like Congress to investigate ‘leaks of classified information’ as well as Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped him.
The White House has offered no evidence to back up the allegation. Spicer has said that Trump was spied on, however, and he will be vindicated by the end of the process.
The president’s claim has been denied by Obama, through a spokesman, as well as his former intelligence head.
Since then, the White House has dialed back the claim to surveillance broadly and contended that Trump did not mean that Obama ordered the eavesdropping himself.
It’s not known when the two presidents last spoke. Obama has been on vacation in Hawaii, Tahiti and elsewhere since the inauguration.
Asked by Watters if he believed Obama was trying to sabotage his presidency, Trump said: ‘He’s been very nice to me personally but his people haven’t been nice.’
‘And there’s great animosity out there,’ Trump said. ‘There’s great anger. Leaking is just one example of it. Leaking and the level of anger is hard to believe.’
Trump also took aim at MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and her colleagues at NBC News, calling them ‘bad people’ for revealing his leaked 2005 tax returns last week.
The president said that ‘there’s something wrong’ with Maddow and he also accused whoever leaked the tax returns of violating the law.
‘They leaked them,’ Trump said. ‘It’s illegal to do what they did, I think.’
Maddow interviewed Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, who obtained a copy of the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns.
The 2005 tax documents aired by MSNBC and published by Johnston showed that Trump earned $153 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in taxes.
Maddow was slammed by critics who said that the journalistic scoop actually made Trump look good since it showed he paid a hefty percentage of his income to the government.
The MSNBC host was also lambasted for the dramatic build-up which kept viewers in suspense for nearly 20 minutes of her show before she revealed what was in Trump’s tax returns.
Despite criticism and widespread mockery of how the show played out, Maddow scored her biggest audience ever on Tuesday after she hyped the tax documents.
Her show reached 4.13 million people, Nielsen said.
It was second only to a ‘Countdown’ episode with Keith Olbermann just before the 2008 election as MSNBC’s most-watched series episode ever.
It was reported earlier this week that Trump’s personal lawyers were considering whether to sue MSNBC and Johnston for releasing the tax returns, but legal experts say prevailing in court would be the longest of long shots because the First Amendment to the US Constitution protects freedom of the press.
That didn’t stop Trump from continuing his attack on MSNBC and those who leaked the document.
‘I always heard a tax return was a very sacred kind of a thing,’ Trump said.
‘You don’t leak them. You’re not allowed to. It’s criminally offensive.’
‘But they put them out, and I think it was terrible. But they’re good from that standpoint of my tax returns are good. All of my tax returns are good.’
Trump told Watters that the tax returns are indicative of a larger trend in which anti-Trump elements are leaking damaging material to the press.
‘It’s terrible what’s going on in Washington. We have a certain establishment that’s leaking.’
‘A tax return is a very important thing and you’re not supposed to be leaking them, and they do,’ the president said.
‘They just don’t respect the law and we have to change that.’