Donald Trump said Barack Obama could not be considered a great president because he had undone many of the polices his predecessor had introduced during his time in office.
“President Obama, they say he was a great president – but you can’t be a president when much of what he’s done we’ve undone,” Mr Trump said.
His words came during a campaign visit to Old Forge, Pennsylvania, two days after Mr Obama gave a speech during the Democratic National Convention painting Mr Trump as a dire threat to the future of America.
“I never expected that my successor would embrace my vision or continue my policies. I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care,” Mr Obama said.
He continued, suggesting Mr Trump is incapable of personal or ideological growth.
“But he never did. For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves,” Mr Obama said. “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”
The animosity between Mr Trump and Mr Obama extends to the dawn of Mr Obama’s presidency, when Mr Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that Mr Obama wasn’t a natural born American.
In 2011, Mr Trump began appearing on talk shows after suggesting during the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was considering a presidential run. During his appearances, he began challenging Mr Obama to produce a birth certificate to prove he was born in the US.
“I want him to show his birth certificate. There is something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like,” Mr Trump said during an appearance on The View.
In more recent days, Mr Trump has launched similar birth place centred conspiracy theories aimed at undermining Senator Kamala Harris and even a bizarre theory that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wasn’t born in Pennsylvania.
Mr Trump claimed Mr Biden wasn’t born in Pennsylvania because he moved out of the state as a child with his family, accusing him of “abandoning Scranton”.
As for Mr Trump’s claim that his administration has undone much of what Mr Obama did during his time in office, he has attempted to dismantle two of his predecessor’s most notable programmes – the Affordable Care Act. known as Obamacare, and the DACA programme – but he has as yet been unsuccessful in his endeavours.
The US Department of Justice under Mr Trump’s administration along with 18 Republican led states, have asked the US Supreme Court to strike down the ACA, alleging it is illegal in its entirety. A counter-suit led by 17 Democratic states to preserve the programme will be heard by the Supreme Court in California v Texas.
The Supreme Court also thwarted Mr Trump’s attempts to dismantle the DACA programme.
This provides a pathway for individuals brought to the US illegally as children to work and live in the country. It does not provide a pathway to citizenship, but it does prevent them from being deported so long as they do not violate the programme’s terms.
DACA has protected more than 800,000 recipients, known as Dreamers, from being deported.
The Supreme Court rejected Mr Trump’s attempt at dismantling it, ruling the administration did not present convincing evidence that the policy violated the US Constitution.
However, Mr Trump has overturned dozens of environmental protections instituted by his predecessor. On the world stage he has withdrawn from both the Iran nuclear deal, which aimed to delay the Islamic Republic’s alleged efforts to build a nuclear weapon, and from the Paris climate deal.
The former British ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, was withdrawn from DC in 2019 after some of his cables home were leaked. Along with descriptions of chaos at the White House, the papers revealed claims that Mr Trump had withdrawn from the multinational Iran deal in order to spite Mr Obama’s legacy.