Fact Check: Obama Inaccurately Claims Trump Has Refused to Find ‘Common Ground’ with Democrats

2020 Democratic National Convention / YouTube

CLAIM: Former President Barack Obama claimed on Wednesday while addressing the Democratic National Convention that his successor as commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, has exhibited no interest in finding “common ground” with Democrats since entering the White House.

VERDICT: Misleading.

“For close to four years now [Trump] has shown no interest in putting in the work, no interest in finding common ground, no interest in using the power of his office to benefit anyone else but himself and his friends,” Obama told the convention.

Although Trump has had an infamously contentious relationship with congressional Democrats, exhibited by his impeachment earlier this year on a party-line vote, Obama’s comments are not fully accurate.

Over the span of his first term, Trump has partnered with certain Democrats to advance issues that had long-stalled in congress under previous administrations. In 2018, Trump worked to pass an overhaul of the nation’s criminal justice laws. The effort, known as the First Step Act, received widespread bipartisan input and support, such as that of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). Ultimately, the act passed without a single Democrat voicing opposition.

“I don’t give a damn about politics when thousands of people are incarcerated unjustly,” Booker told Politico when announcing his support for the Trump administration’s bill. “This is about people, this is about justice, this is about righting wrongs.”

Similarly, the Trump White House worked with Democrats to pass an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement. The input of Democrats on the agreement was vital to its bipartisan support in the Senate. As such, when the agreement was passed, several high-profile Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), were quick to take credit for its provisions.

Likewise, earlier this year the Trump administration worked to pass the CARES Act, a bipartisan coronavirus relief effort, on bipartisan grounds.

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