On Terror and Whistleblowers, Trump Doesn’t Undermine the Obama Legacy, He Fulfills It


Over the last few years terrorism and crime have been all over the news. You would be forgiven for assuming they are on the rise, but they’re not. After a large drop at the beginning of the decade, terrorist attacks around the world are about where they’ve been for the last 10 years. Despite a small uptick in murders, violent crime is still at record lows since the early 90s.

After the rash of police shootings since 2014 (both from and against), a meme emerged that rang true.

Reported hate crimes may be up slightly in some places, but overall crime is still extremely rare and lower than it has been in decades. We just see it more often, on the news, on Facebook, on YouTube. It’s not worse, it’s just more visible.

The same is true for President Trump’s actions compared to President Obama’s, on a few issues. Yes, Trump has already proven himself an incompetent, dangerous charlatan. But on a few things he’s just a more explicit version of Obama.

This morning Trump tweeted threats about intelligence leakers within the government. As expected, he plans to aggressively pursue and prosecute the whistleblowers who have already brought down his National Security Adviser. But even though he talked about transparency and press freedoms, Obama prosecuted more leakers than all previous presidents combined. So far, Trump isn’t worse, just honest about it.

One of the moments in the campaign that pundits were certain would spell doom for the Trump campaign was when he vowed to kill the family of terrorists. Openly promising to commit war crimes is pretty bad, yes, and Trump has already lived up to his pledge. In the first terrorism raid of his term, a total disaster by all accounts, the 8-year-old American daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki was shot and killed, along with dozens more women and children.

But Trump is not breaking new ground here either. Obama had already killed her brother, 16 at the time and also an American citizen, in a drone strike in 2011. The Obama administration refused to acknowledge it for over a year, and when they finally did, they said he should have chosen his family better. So far, Trump isn’t worse, just honest about it.

That said, it’s only been three weeks. President Trump has a lot of time left to outpace Obama on his worst issues.

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