“Politics stop at the water’s edge.”
That’s the refrain we’ve heard repeatedly on the national media since President Trump attacked his 2020 rival, Joe Biden, while in Japan over the weekend.
CNN’s Margaret Talev said this morning: “This is obviously not the first time that president Trump has sort of broken the old norm, the idea that politics stops at the water’s edge.”
Between CNN and MSNBC, that expression — that “politics stops at the water’s edge” — has been repeated 75 times since Saturday on CNN.
But is this really the norm we’re being told it is? After all, Obama made attacking Republicans a regular habit while traveling abroad as president. Here are eight examples:
1 — In 2015, with ISIS staging a series of violent terror attacks across Europe and elsewhere, Obama while traveling in the Philippines blamed Republicans for the rise of the bloody terror group.
“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric coming out of here in the course of this debate,” Obama told his foreign audience. “ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there’s war between Islam and the West, and when you start seeing individuals in position of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counter productive and it needs to stop.”
2 — Two days later, Obama — in a press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — attacked Republicans in front of another Filipino audience for using the recent ISIS attack in Paris to call for new restrictions on refugees.
“There is just a very strong tendency for us to get worked up around issues that don’t actually make us safer but make for good political sound bites,” Obama said. “And whether it’s refugees or Guantanamo, those are handy answers, particularly for folks who aren’t interested in engaging in a more serious debate about how do we invest in the long, hard slog of dealing with terrorism, doing the tough law enforcement work, gathering intelligence meticulously, and building the kind of diplomatic and military solutions that we need in the Middle East.”
3 — During his 2016 trip to Cuba, Obama gave an interview to ABC News and attacked Trump, saying he needs to “disagree without being disagreeable” and that Republicans more generally must “represent everyone,” rather than employing an “us vs. them” mentality.
4 — Obama, in a trip to Buenos Aires, gave a press conference where the recent ISIS terror attack in Brussels came up. Obama used the question to hit Sen. Ted Cruz for proposing stepping up surveillance of Muslim communities. “It’s contrary to who we are,” he told his foreign audience.
5 — During the 2016 presidential campaign, Obama visited London to urge Britons to vote to remain in the European Union. Recently enacted bans on same-sex bathrooms in Mississippi and North Carolina were asked about, and Obama used the opportunity to attack the Republicans who passed the laws.
“The laws that have been passed there are wrong and should be overturned and they are in response to politics in part — in part to some strong emotions that are generated by people,” Obama said. “Some of whom are good people, but I just disagree with when it comes to respecting the equal rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation, whether they are transgender, or gay or lesbian.”
6 — After Trump won in 2016, violent protests/riots broke out in several U.S. cities. While in Berlin, then-President Obama was asked about them. Rather than calling for calm, Obama said, “I would advise them not to be silent.”
7 — After leaving office, Obama continued to attack Republicans, and Trump specifically, while abroad — and, in doing so, broke the “norm” of presidents refraining from attacking their successors. In Berlin last May, Obama mocked Trump, saying of immigration, “We can’t hide behind a wall.”
8 — During the same Berlin trip, Obama took a veiled shot at Trump for his use of “negative attacks and simplistic slogans.”
But even more noticeable than Obama’s habit of hitting Republicans while traveling abroad as president was his tendency to attack the United States herself.
Here are some flashbacks of that controversial rhetorical habit: