As Donald Trump unleashed his initial foray of Twitter fury about being “wiretapped” by Barack Obama at Trump Tower during his campaign, it was his characterization of Obama — not his suspicion — that seemed most unpresidential. Trump called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy!” Americans generally weren’t shocked that somebody in the US government might be listening to Trump’s calls — after Edward Snowden, Americans would be shocked to discover that nobody was listening. (Or at least minding the metadata.)
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Trump has since, with the assistance of Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s air quotes, walked back the allegation of wiretapping — at least in the technical sense. “Wiretap covers a lot of different things,” Trump told Fox News. Trump apparently still believes his office was under surveillance, but he didn’t actually mean it was being wiretapped, per se, when he wrote about being wiretapped. Trump has not walked back his characterization of Obama as a “sick guy.” Or his comparison of Obama to Richard Nixon.