Something truly incredible happened on January 21. Several top officials from the Obama administration woke up and decided to join Twitter now that they were out of jobs. It must have been like turning on the TV news for the first time after coming out of an eight-year-long coma because none of them can seem to grasp the concept that they were the ones actually in charge of a world seemingly spinning out of control.
It’s like the person who shows up the party without booze and then hangs around until everyone is gone while complaining there’s no more booze: Several former Obama administration advisors have taken to Twitter to voice not only their deep concern with the new administration, but a dark and dangerous world they seem to think they had nothing to do with.
“Don’t do stupid shit,” a famous mantra of the Obama administration, apparently didn’t translate over to “Don’t tweet stupid shit” post presidency. Three basic examples sum up the astonishing lack of self awareness on the part of our new crop of social-media lecturers. And the media doesn’t seem to be rushing into a metaphorical burning building to remind them of this, but instead actually giving them larger platforms.
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes has been chirping from pretty much the second he walked out the door, but on the night of President Trump’s joint address to Congress he was especially vocal about Trump’s choice of words.
“What was accomplished by declaring war on “radical Islamic terrorism”? Just alienating Muslim allies who we need, and emboldening terrorists,” he tweeted.
There are so many amazing layers to this tweet that I was surprised he didn’t forget to switch accounts and tweet it under Jeffrey Goldberg instead. To his credit, If anyone knows anything about emboldening terrorists, it sure would be Obama’s chief architect of messaging while the administration delivered pallet after pallet of cash to Iran to enrich uranium in exchange for American hostages. (It was a deal, by the way, that he admitted had to be kept a secret from both media and the American people.)
Not to be outdone in the ironic tweet department, Benghazi messaging czar Susan Rice finally jumped into the mud pen with a tweet and op-ed in the Washington Post titled: “When the White House twists the truth, we are all less safe.” Democracy dies in irony, apparently. Rice regains the reader with such pontifications as this:
To lead effectively, the United States must maintain respect and trust. So, when a White House deliberately dissembles and serially contorts the facts, its actions pose a serious risk to America’s global leadership, among friends and adversaries alike.
She goes on to say:
Finally, many Americans, not just the broader world, recoil in anxiety and confusion when a U.S. administration fosters counterfactual assertions and projects unpredictability. When the American people question the commander in chief’s statements, his ability to harness public support to confront a national crisis is undermined.
She is right. There certainly was a lot of “recoiling in anxiety” on September 13, 2012 when ISIS flags were hoisted above embassies in the Middle East, and the statement coming from the commander in chief was that an obscure YouTube video was the sole reason for all of it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated as much in front of four flag-draped coffins.
Rice then, of course, famously made her way to all four major Sunday morning shows and continued to propagate this myth. She did so without a cabal of overly dramatic media truth-tellers and fact checkers turning to the camera and threatening to never book her again. Rice has now been simply allowed to move back into the fold.
And rounding out this Twitter Tri-Force of Bewilderment, Samantha Power weighed in on the recent revelation of a mass grave discovered near Mosul, found after coalition forces retook the area from ISIS.