Obama’s Speech That Broke Tradition, Criticized Trump ‘Very Disappointing,’ Pence Says

September 9, 2018 Updated: September 9, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence criticized former President Barack Obama in an interview aired on Sept. 9, for breaking with tradition and giving a speech filled with criticism of President Donald Trump.

Traditionally, former presidents avoid criticizing their successors and don’t take active roles in political affairs. Despite previously indicating that he would follow that norm, Obama broke with tradition on Sept. 7 with a speech kicking off his campaign blitz to help Democrats regain control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.

“It was very disappointing to see President Obama break with the tradition of former presidents, and become so political, and roll out the same tired arguments that he and liberals have made over the last eight years,” Pence said in an interview on Fox News.

“The truth is, the American people in 2016 rejected the policy and direction of Barack Obama when they elected President Donald Trump.”

The vice president pointed out that the Trump administration inherited an economy growing at slightly more than 1 percent but has managed a turnaround with growth at 4.2 percent last quarter.

“Four million new jobs, unemployment at a 50-year low,” Pence said. “And to have President Obama come out and tout his policies that resulted in less than 2 percent growth—which saw tax increases, Obamacare regulation, and a doubling of the national debt—I think was … very disappointing.”

In a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Obama accused Trump and Republicans of abusing power, dividing the country, threatening democracy, and cozying up to Russia.

Trump ridiculed the speech at a during a fundraiser in North Dakota the same day.

“I’m sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep,” he said. “I found that he’s very, very good for sleeping.”

Trump is conducting a campaign blitz of his own to help Republicans retain control of the House and Senate. Trump needs the GOP to maintain a majority in both chambers to continue delivering on his campaign promises.

Obama hadn’t publicly criticized Trump prior to the speech, although he took a veiled jab at the president in his eulogy for the late Sen. John McCain.

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