A slew of top Democrat leaders chastised Democratic presidential candidates for criticizing former President Barack Obama during the Democratic debate on July 31, suggesting it was unwise to do so.
Eric Holder, the longtime attorney general under Obama who is now organizing to try to beat President Donald Trump, sent a message out on Twitter Wednesday: “To my fellow Democrats. Be wary of attacking the Obama record.”
To my fellow Democrats. Be wary of attacking the Obama record. Build on it. Expand it. But there is little to be gained – for you or the party – by attacking a very successful and still popular Democratic President.
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) August 1, 2019
“Build on it. Expand it. But there is little to be gained—for you or the party—by attacking a very successful and still popular Democratic President,” he added.
Neera Tanden, a top adviser to Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, said candidates attacking Obama was an “outrage.”
“The GOP didn’t attack Reagan, they built him up for decades. Dem Candidates who attack Obama are wrong and terrible. Obama wasn’t perfect, but come on people, next to Trump, he kind of is. This is my outrage of the day,” she wrote on Twitter.
The GOP didn’t attack Reagan, they built him up for decades. Dem Candidates who attack Obama are wrong and terrible. Obama wasn’t perfect, but come on people, next to Trump, he kind of is.
This is my outrage of the day.
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) August 1, 2019
Joe Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” on Thursday railed against the Democratic candidates who attacked Obama: “Give me a break! What’s wrong with you people? You’re going up against Donald Trump, and you’re talking about defending ObamaCare as Republican talking points? Who is advising you?”
MSNBC commentator Al Sharpton accused the candidates of going on a “suicide mission.”
Former vice president Joe Biden was repeatedly attacked during the debate over Obama’s policies on immigration and healthcare.
A number of contenders called for Medicare for All, a government takeover of the healthcare industry, but Biden said he’d like to see the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, kept in place.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attacked Biden over the millions of deportations that happened while he was vice president, wondering if he did anything to try to stem the high number.
Biden said that that was Obama’s decision.
“You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) responded. “You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.”
Some contenders, including Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) attempted to attack Trump for putting children in “cages” and “separat[ing] them from their parents.” Obama also separated children from parents under a court ruling, and the detention centers to hold young migrants, including the aforementioned “cages,” were built and used during the Obama administration.
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said “it was nice to see Democrats” attack Obama, saying the former president had a number of “failed policies.”
“Wish they would have done that years ago. Maybe if they continue to change their attitudes and actually work with @realDonaldTrump they could do some good for American workers for a change,” he added.
It was nice to see Democrats finally go after Obama’s failed policies very aggressively. Wish they would have done that years ago.
Maybe if they continue to change their attitudes and actually work with @realDonaldTrump they could do some good for American workers for a change.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 1, 2019
Booker told CNN Thursday that Democrats were having an “honest conversation” about Obama’s legacy.
“Look, he is our statesman, and anybody who was an executive —I, too, was an executive, two terms of a city—he ain’t perfect. Nobody has pulled that off,” the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, said. “And I’m sure [if] Barack Obama was sitting here … He will tell you, ‘I made some mistakes.'”