We used to have Presidents who recognized the aspirational nature of the United States. Those Presidents, Reagan included, would admit that the United States is not perfect, but is still the last best hope for mankind. Those Presidents would admit we have work today, but would still recognize that we are far better than so much of the world. Those Presidents would try to elevate the world to be what we strive to be; to head in our direction; and to raise the bar on liberty and freedom and civil liberties.
Then there is President Obama. In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama was asked about President Erdogan of Turkey and his now brutal crackdown on dissent after the coup more and more people are speculating was really orchestrated by Erdogan as cover for this crackdown.
The transcript of the President’s actual remarks should horrify us all.
SANGER: Erdogan put nearly 50,000 people in jail or suspend them, suspended thousands of teachers, he imprisoned many in the military and the police, he dismissed a lot of the judiciary. Does this worry you? And would you rather deal with a strongman who’s also been a strong ally, or with somebody that’s got a greater appreciation of civil liberties than Mr. Erdogan has? Would you press him to make sure the rule of law applies?
OBAMA: I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.
As usual, President Obama shows he does not understand American exceptionalism. We know we are not perfect. But we know that our nation, unlike so many in the world, is always on a quest to do better and part of being a messenger for civil liberties is to show the world that we are not perfect, but we are free and trying to always improve.
Time and time again the President has gone on world apology tours to apologize for the United States and say just how bad we really are. He is always talking down the United States. And now he is willing to go a step further and actually say the United States is bad and not a very good messenger.
But, Mr. President, if we cannot be the messenger for civil liberties and higher aspirations in the world, who can be? China? Russia?
It’s just sad to see we have elected a President who believes this. What’s even sadder is that the words above are actually the verbatim words of Donald Trump to the New York Times. You read that right. President Obama did not call the United States bad to the New York Times and say we should shut up about civil liberties. The Republican nominee for President did that.