In an interview Monday with Fox News Channel, Trump said that he believes that former president Barack Obama is helping to organize protests and demonstrations at congressional town hall meetings across the country.
“I think that President Obama is behind it because his people certainly are behind it,” Trump said. “In terms of him being behind things, that’s politics. It will probably continue.”
Trump made his comments during an interview at the White House with “Fox & Friends” anchors Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt. Most of the interview will air Tuesday morning, in advance of Trump’s formal address to a joint session of Congress, but Fox released an excerpt Monday of his remarks about Obama.
During the interview one of the Fox intervierwers told Trump that Obama’s political group, presumably Organizing for Action, the successor group to Obama’s campaigns — was helping to organize activists to demonstrate, and asked the president whether he suspected Obama himself was behind the efforts.
“I think he is behind it,” Trump said. “I also think it’s politics. That’s the way it is.”
A spokesman for Obama did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Trump has lambasted the town-hall demonstrators on social media, tweeting last week that they were “so-called angry crowds” and that the demonstrations were “planned out by liberal activists.”
In the interview, Trump gave himself high marks for his accomplishments in the White House, but he gave himself a “C” for messaging, admitting that he has not been able to properly explain what he’s done.
“In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus,” Trump said. “In terms of achievement, I think I’d give myself an A. Because I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have — I and my people, I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public.”
President Trump’s interview was broadcast hours before he is due to give his first address to a joint session of Congress in which he is expected to set out in greater detail his plans to cut spending and boost the economy.
He was asked for more detail on how he would find the money for the 10% increase in military spending he has proposed for 2018. Proposed cuts elsewhere are unlikely to cover the proposed increase. President Trump said he would get “more product for our buck”, in terms of buying military hardware and would ask for a “form of reimbursement” from countries that use the US military.