Did Barack Obama do enough when he was made aware that the Russians were interfering in the 2016 election? In retrospect, probably not, but hindsight is always 20/20.
First, consider what he did do. In the heat of a bitterly contested election, he called together members of the congressional leadership. He sought a bipartisan public announcement that was delayed when Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was hesitant to get on board. Eventually, when there was a public announcement, it was watered down in order to get McConnell’s support.
The Obama administration also sanctioned Russia, expelling 35 Russian Diplomats and closing two large Russian compounds in the United States. Should Obama have done more to communicate the extent of Russia’s intervention on behalf of Donald Trump. Yes, but there were extenuating circumstances that should not be forgotten or ignored.
The Russian intervention was happening at the same time that Trump was bitterly complaining that the election was rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton. At almost every campaign rally, Trump would agitate his crowds into a frenzy by telling them that the election results could not be trusted. He often implied that if he lost he would refuse to concede defeat. No other major presidential candidate in history has ever said that they would refuse to except the results of an election.
Under these conditions, President Obama was in an awkward position. He did not want to do anything that would give the appearance that he was putting his thumb on the scale. Consider the irony: What if Trump, rather than Clinton, had lost the electoral college and won the popular vote by a margin of three million votes? Does anyone believe he would have conceded? He would still be screaming that he was robbed and his most ardent supporters would have taken to the streets to vent their outrage.
James Carr, Celina
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