Is liberal disdain for Trump harsher than conservative disdain was for Obama?

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is despised by many liberals just as most conservatives despised former President Barack Obama.

Trump has been called racist, sexist and xenophobic. Liberals have said the same about his supporters.

Obama endured attacks on his heritage that questioned his birthplace and included false claims that he is Muslim. Obama was interrupted during a speech to a joint session of Congress in 2009 when South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson shouted: “You lie!”

Three Trump administration officials have been harassed at restaurants in the past month. At a rally last month, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters urged the audience to harass Trump administration officials spotted in public venues.

Trump has been president for 18 months. He has a slightly higher approval rating than did Obama at roughly the same point in their presidencies, according to two polls.

But is the vitriol directed at Trump greater than the vitriol that was hurled at Obama?

“Leaving aside South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s unique outrageous interruption of a speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress when he yelled ‘You lie,’ most of the viciousness received by the ex-president (Obama) was by unelected conservatives and ordinary citizens,” said Richard Vatz, who is a professor of political persuasion at Towson University in Maryland. “Trump, on the other hand, receives repeatedly frightful and/or unprofessional ad hominem attacks from CNN, MSNBC and major network news, as well as major incumbent politicians.” 

Vatz added: “Had members of the Obama Administration been subjected to public harassment, particularly at the behest of Republican office-holders or conservative media, they would have called for investigations and certain punishment.”

Tom DeLuca, a professor of political science at Fordham University in New York City, said the comparison is not fair.

“President Obama was subject to the worst kind of racist vitriol and commentary and pictures and photographs as was his family,” DeLuca said. “Nothing like that has happened with President Trump. So how do you compare that to the negative comments about Trump?”

DeLuca said Trump is in part responsible for the current lack of civil discourse.

“The lack of civility that we’re seeing in this administration really comes from the top….I don’t remember President [Barack] Obama talking like that or President [George W.] Bush or President [Bill] Clinton or President [George H.W.] Bush before him.”

DeLuca pointed to Trump campaign rallies in which supporters yelled “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as an example. Trump often encouraged the crowds by delving deeper into the email scandal.

Ken Adelman, who served as an arms control adviser to President Ronald Reagan, said Trump rightly has engendered more vitriol than Obama.

“Yes, there’s more vitriol about President Trump than Obama, since President Obama was a decent person,” Adelman said. “Trump is clearly not.”

Adelman added: “In a democracy, I find shunning an appropriate behavior. It signals disapproval of actions like the government separating children from their parents.”

The practice of family separation is a by-product of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy toward those who enter the U.S. illegally. Under the policy, any adult who crosses the border southern without permission is subject to arrest and prosecution. The adults are sent to detention centers, while any minors accompanying them are sent to government facilities or temporary foster care until a relative or family friend in the U.S. can be identified with whom the child can live until his or her immigration status is resolved.

Family separation took place on a smaller scale during the administrations of Obama and George W. Bush.

Trump signed an executive order last month that prohibits family separation but the order does not address children currently held at DHS facilities.

A federal judge issued a ruling on June 26 that ordered the reunification of most undocumented families by July 26. The administration has said they will comply with the ruling.

This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News