President Donald Trump launched his re-election campaign on Tuesday evening in Orlando, Florida, telling a standing-room-only crowd at the Amway Center he had been tougher on Russia than any president — including his predecessor.
Trump attacked the Democrats’ accusations of “Russia collusion,” calling it an effort by the outgoing administration to “subvert our democracy.” It was a familiar argument — but Trump added a new twist, going after Obama’s record and boasting of his willingness to confront Russia:
And think about it. Nobody has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump. Nobody.
We call it the Russian hoax. Remember President Obama’s famous line, caught on the open mic, secretly telling the the Russian president to, quote, “inform Vladimir that after my election iIll have more flexibility.” Ok? Remember that?
[Boos] remember that. >> A lot of people remember that. I remember it. I saw it happen. I didn’t like like it. They don’t bring it up. The fake news will never bring it up. And in September , just before the election, the FBI told President Obama about possible Russian interference and he did nothing, because he thought that Hillary Clinton, “Crooked Hillary,” was going to win. That’s why he did nothing. He did nothing.
I built up the military, imposed imposed sanctions on Russia, and provided alternative energy sources for all over Europe that competed very, very strongly with Russia. We are, by the way, the number one producer of energy in the world, because of what we have done, right now.
CROWD: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-SA-!
The Democrats don’t care about Russia. They only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I have ever known or worked with. But they are really going after you. That’s what it is it is all about. It’s not about us, it’s about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.
The New York Times fulfilled Trump’s prediction about the “fake news,” telling readers merely that he “railed against the Russia meddling investigation” (original emphasis), leaving out his criticism of Obama’s policy toward Russia.
In a separate fact-checking article, the Times rated Trump’s claim to have been the toughest on Russia as “misleading” arguing that there was a “disconnect between aggressive policies enacted by the Trump administration and not-so-tough language from Mr. Trump himself.” The Times did not mention Obama’s infamous “open mic” statement.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.