Whataboutism has emerged over the years as a favorite tactic among Trump and his toadies. Rather than defend the cretin’s latest ignominy, the game is to deflect by suggesting it’s basically no different or worse than something another person did that escaped criticism. Trump’s latest attempt at whataboutism is so pathetically unpersuasive and depraved that it reveals the extent of his intensifying desperation.
“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified,” Trump traitorsplained to the media on Friday, as reported by Axios and other media outlets. “How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” So, Trump wants us to believe that President Obama committed the same ethical and criminal acts that he did in connection with records leaving the White House after the presidency ended.
It’s true that a substantial number of Obama’s presidential records did not remain in the White House after Trump took office. However, the similarity firmly ends there. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) wasted no time dismantling Trump’s egregious insinuations. NARA explained that, in full compliance with the Presidential Records Act, it moved “approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records” to a Chicago-area facility under NARA’s exclusive control, while Obama’s classified records sit safely in another NARA facility in the Washington, D.C. area.
Not only is none of this illegal or even improper, but it was never secret. Back in May 2017, the National Archives announced this arrangement, explaining it would digitize all unclassified records with financial support from the Obama Foundation. As for the classified records, those were separated so that they can be carefully reviewed for possible declassification and subsequent digitization. These two entities have subsequently issued written updates marking the progress of their efforts.
Unlike Trump’s actions, the goal with removing Obama’s presidential records (accomplished without Obama’s involvement) is both benign and beneficial to the nation. Digitization will offer “the enhanced ability to more quickly make released Presidential records available to researchers regardless of location,” the National Archives explained. What great benefit to America has Trump’s unauthorized transfer of highly classified documents to an insecure location in his home brought? As Trump’s latest round of whataboutism proves, he has no answer to that question.