Reince Priebus, the incoming White House Chief of Staff for soon-to-be President Donald J. Trump, is furious.
There are three reasons for his outrage.
First, millions of Americans are questioning whether Trump was legitimately elected. Their suspicions are based on solid evidence, supplied by the American Intelligence community, that Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened in the 2016 Presidential election to help him defeat Hillary Clinton.
Second, among those Americans are members of the United States Congress–such as Georgia Democratic Representative John Lewis.
On the January 15 edition of “Meet the Press,” Lewis was asked by host Chuck Todd: “Do you plan on trying to forge a relationship with Donald Trump?”
“No,” said Lewis. “I believe forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be very difficult. I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
“You do not consider him a legitimate president. Why is that?”
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
And the third reason Priebus is outraged: He believes–or at least claims to believe–that President Barack Obama should vouch for Trump’s legitimacy.
“I think President Obama should step up,” Priebus said January 15 on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’ve had a great relationship with the White House….I think the administration can do a lot of good by telling folks that are on the Republican side of the aisle, look, we may have lost the election on the Democratic side, but it’s time to come together.”
“You didn’t have Republicans questioning whether or not Obama legitimately beat John McCain in 2008,” Priebus added.
“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos replied that Trump had questioned Obama’s legitimacy as an American citizen until almost the end of the 2016 Presidential race.
“But look, George, that’s not the point!” Priebus said, visibly agitated. “The point is not where Barack Obama was born! The point is that we’ve got congressmen on the Democratic side of the aisle that are questioning the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.”
In short: Let’s ignore Trump’s five-year slander campaign against the legitimacy of President Obama. What’s important is that people are questioning the legitimacy of a Republican elected with the help of Russian Communists.
In 2011, Trump, then-host of NBC’s “The Apprentice,” was thinking of running for President against Obama.
Seeking to gain popularity among America’s Right-wing, Trump almost singlehandedly created the popular fiction that the President was born in Kenya–and was not an American citizen.
His motive: To convince Americans that Obama was an illegitimate President.
Among the statements Trump made:
February 10, 2011: “Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.”
March 23, 2011: “I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate. … There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
March 28, 2011: “I am really concerned” [that Obama wasn’t born in the United States]. He said that the birth announcement for Obama in a Hawaii newspaper could have been planted “for whatever reason.”
March 30, 2011: “If you are going to be president of the United States you have to be born in this country. And there is a doubt as to whether or not he was. … He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the great scams of all time.”
April 7, 2011: “I have people that have been studying it, and they cannot believe what they’re finding. You are not allowed to be a president if you’re not born in this country. Right now I have real doubts.”
April 25, 2011: “I’ve been told very recently…that the birth certificate is missing. I’ve been told that it’s not there or it doesn’t exist. And if that’s the case, it’s a big problem.”
On April 27, President Obama released his original, long-form Hawiian birth certificate.
The long-form version of President Obama’s birth certificate
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” said Obama at a press conference, speaking as a father might to a roomful of spiteful children. “We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve.
“We are not going to be able to do it if we are distracted, we are not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other…if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts, we are not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side shows and carnival barkers.”
Trump responded with a series of tweets on Twitter–all of them attacking the legitimacy of the birth certificate that President Obama had released.