On Tuesday, President Trump announced that DACA would be ending with a six-month delay to allow Congress to sort out their positions. The media expected a resounding assault on the decision from former President Barack Obama (as it was his program), yet this failed to appear. What did come out was a rather soft criticism of the idea without actually mentioning the president.
Just after Donald Trump’s election win, the two men spoke. Former President Obama said that he thought he had “gotten through” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and if there was a move to rescind it, then he would have to speak out against it. But this hasn’t really happened.
Instead, Barack Obama issued a statement that didn’t actually name the president. He talked of “the White House” and the “Government,” but did not directly call out President Trump. Many on the political left are saying that this is because he does not want to be seen as “anti-Trump.” Going directly against a sitting president is likely something he could only get away with once before his “legacy” starts to suffer.
Politico says that: “As dismayed as he and his circle are by Trump’s decisions, Obama dwells on his role in history, from his obligations to stay out of the fray as a former president to his perennial insistence on taking the long view over day-to-day flare-ups. Everything he does now, according to people close to him, he thinks of as in some way shaping what’s likely to be decades of a post-presidency to come.”
Others in positions of power have not been so subtle in their criticism of the decision.
New Mexico Attorney General, Hector Balderas said: “We need his voice more than ever in inspiring Americans to speak out about the American dream, and Dreamers, I do think it would be pivotal to this debate that we’re having — especially in a broader debate on civil rights.” Balderas is presently planning to sue the president over DACA.
Jennifer Palmieri, Obama’s former White House communications director, was also critical. However, she followed the former president’s approach: “What he wants to do and what the Dreamer community wants from him is to speak for them, show support for them, but never to do anything that would backfire and cause harm — and that’s a very tricky line to walk.”
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.